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My new-found friend is a defiant contrast to his elegant surroundings. He’s wearing overalls and a reflective green jacket. “I’m up from Mackay, in town for a couple of days,” he tells me. “I’m in mining. I’ve come for a few meetings.”

Mind you, it seems almost everyone I meet is in mining. Tourism is thriving, too. However, Mount Isa’s biggest drawcard is its annual rodeo – reputedly the southern hemisphere’s biggest.

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