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Mt Isa's story is an Australian foundation epic. Only heroic struggle could have dug the mine and built the city a thousand kilometres from the nearest deepwater port, in a scorched red landscape sparsely dotted with spinifex and eucalypts. In Mines in the spinifex (1970), Geoffrey Blainey celebrates the fortitude of the prospectors and entrepreneurs who overcame these obstacles to found what he calls 'the greatest Australian mine of the [twentieth] century' (1970: 64).doi:10.1017/qre.2013.8 fatcat:5676v5px3bhhnp77xhqsibeocq