The Dysart area was first explored by German born Ludwig Leichardt. Leichardt arrived in Australia in 1842 at the age of 29. In passing through the Broadsound Shire, Leichardt erected on top of Campbell’s Peak a small cairn of stones, approximately 14 kilometres west of where the town of Dysart now stands, and this can still be seen.
It was Leichardt who first made reference to coal deposits in central Queensland. The parish of Dysart was noted by the Queensland government lands office in the 1880’s. Dysart was established as a dormitory town for three local coal mines - Saraji in 1973, Norwich Park in 1977 and the Harrow Creek trial colliery which has since ceased operations.
Prior to this the area supported agricultural primary industries including beef, cattle and grain production. These industries still continue in the area. Coincidentally Dysart shares its name with the town of Dysart in Scotland, also a coal mining town.
Although built specifically to service the mining operations, it is a public town administered by the Isaac regional council. The mining company is BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA).
Dysart is a friendly community with modern facilities. Established in 1973, the town caters for the coalmines of Saraji and Norwich Park as well as the many surrounding cattle and grain properties.
In the centre of the town is located an Olympic-sized pool, a great place to cool off in the summer months. There is excellent shade provided over the pool as well as around the grassed area. Well maintained sporting ovals and parks are a feature of this quiet, friendly town. It has a shopping mall, a nine hole golf course and bowls club. An excellent community civic centre is centrally situated and is available to local and visiting groups and organisations. The centre is owned and maintained by Isaac regional council and privately managed.
Although built specifically to service the nearby mining operations, Dysart is a public town. The town library is part of Isaac regional council’s building and provides public internet access as well as library facilities. Videoconferencing facilities are also available through the Dysart council office.
The Dysart State Primary School commenced on 21 May 1973 with 27 students in the 7 primary year levels.
The Dysart State High School was officially opened in 1982 with 314 students enrolled. Its highest enrolments peaked at 470 students.
Its diverse population of 22 650 is made up of families, young people, workers, retirees and sea/tree changers spread across the larger towns of Clermont, Coppabella, Dysart, Glendedn, Middlemount, Moranbah, Nebo and St Lawrence. It also includes the smaller communities of Carmilla, Clairview, Clarke Creek, Greenhill, Illibie, Kilcummin, Mackenxie River, Mistake Creek and Valkyrie.
The Isaac region is one area that has certainly changed with time. It is a place that has witnessed the affluence of the famous Queensland gold rushes, weathered the devastation of floods and cyclones, endured endless years of heat and drought, seen shifts within grazing, agricultural and aqua-cultural pursuits, whole townships shift from one location to another, and found fame and fortune once again in the precious offerings of mother earth.
Mining, grain production, beef and a thriving service industry is what the Isaac region are founded on today. Prosperity over recent years has brought with it a fine standard of living for local people, and has also given birth to a blossoming tourist trade. All this adds up to a region of unique charm and character – one which is progressively drawing the interest of more and more people on their pilgrimage to discover this part of Queensland. It’s a place where the traditional qualities of the country live on, mixed with the very best that modern communities can provide.