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Underground Hospital Museum – Mt Isa

Ewen McPhee at the Underground Hospital Museum, Mt Isa

Jo Wills and I recently visited the Underground Hospital in Mt Isa. The underground section of the hospital was built after Darwin was bombed by the Japanese in February 1942.  There was a belief that Mt Isa could also be bombed and that precautions needed to be taken to secure the operation of the hospital. Local miners volunteered to work in their spare time and on weekends to build the facility.  A  H-shaped underground “bunker” was dug out of the solid rock in the hill beside Mount Isa’s Base Hospital over a sixteen week period.  After the war the hospital was forgotten about and in 1999 it was rediscovered and restored over time.  Today the museum also includes a substantial hospital and medical equipment display above ground as well as an underground experience complete with objects and props.  The underground experience details how the hospital would have operated if it had become operational.