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Australia’s poorest town: Mungallala, Queensland — On show pics & info

Welcome to Australia’s poorest town: Mungallala, Queensland — average annual income $3,148


The residents of Mungallala, in Queensland’s mid south, take home an average salary of a little over $3,000 a year according to the Australian Taxation Office, making the tiny rural town the poorest in Australia.

With a population of 150, the town has endured years of bad luck — the Mungallala sawmill was severely damaged by fire in 2007, and the community has been gripped by drought for years.

But the locals say they do not feel poor, and what they lack in money, they make up for in community spirit.

It mightn’t have much money but it’s got a wealth of other things. The locals have spirit I’ve never found anywhere else.

Daemon Singer, Mungallala’s newest property owner
Story by >>> By Ashlynne McGhee and Loretta Florance We thank them for the revelation & coverage

Mungallala houses.

mungallala-houses images www.ozrural.com.au (1)mungallala-houses images www.ozrural.com.au (2)

mungallala-houses images www.ozrural.com.au (3)mungallala-houses images www.ozrural.com.au (4)

mungallala-houses images www.ozrural.com.auKaram Singh, Swarnjit Singh and Gaganjot Kaur came to the town to work at the mungallala-mill.image www.ozrural.com.au

The Mungallala sawmill

Jacqui Beale, Mungallala sawmill image www.ozrural.com.au

Mill workers are the lowest paid in the hierarchy of any awards system — they are the bottom feeders.

Most of them would take home about $600 a week. It’s enough to get by but really nothing else.

Jacqui Beale, acting sawmill manager

The sawmill is the town’s largest employer, providing work for 20 to 30 people, but it has had a rocky past.

In 2013, the owners of the sawmill, NK Collins, went into liquidation and 10 people lost their jobs. Before that, three teenagers set the mill alight in 2007, while trying to steal fuel.

“It was some young fellas, taking some fuel. They put a match into the jerry can to see how much fuel they had, and had a little mini-explosion,” said the sawmill’s acting manager, Jacqui Beale.

Ms Beale — a bookkeeper at the site — said she was running the mill while the manager recovered from a workplace accident.

Karam Singh, Swarnjit Singh and Gaganjot Kaur came to the town to work at the mill.

Karam Singh said Mungallala was so much smaller than they expected that they thought they had arrived in the wrong place. But they quickly grew to love it.

I said ‘how big is Mungallala?’ and [my friend] said ‘it’s a little bit smaller than Melbourne’.

So when I came here the bus driver said ‘this is Mungallala’ and I said, ‘no it’s not’ … I didn’t believe it.

But now we are working and living here, it’s like our home — and we love that.

The Mungallala Golf Course

mungallala golf course image www.ozrural.com.au

YES, Mungallala has a golf course. It only has three holes, but membership is a bargain $5,

which surely makes it one of the best value courses in the country.

The Mungallala Pub

mungallala pub image www.ozrural.com.au

Photo: The Mungallala Hotel — the only pub in town. (Story Hunters: Ashlynne McGhee)

Mungallala’s social life revolves around the town’s solitary hospitality establishment — the pub.

Margaret and Bruce Beale have been running the Mungallala Club Hotel since 2002.

Ms Beale estimated the pub to be 93 years old, though all she knew for sure was that it was built and opened some time after the town’s original hotel was destroyed in 1917.

‘The worst drought in living memory’

We live a simple life, we live within our means. People pass on extra fruit and vegetables from their garden. That helps I think.

Margaret Beale, publican

Mungallala was officially declared an area of drought in 2013, and has remained so ever since.

The town’s police officer, Senior Constable Ian Clay, said despite the hard times, the town did not have a high crime rate, and the population generally eschewed welfare.

“People tend to associate poverty with trouble, and that’s not the case,” he said.

“A lot of people here, if they’re not working, they don’t draw the dole … they’re actually trying to get out and get work.”

He said the last time he used his lights and sirens in the town was to “scare his neighbour” because she was walking up the middle of the road.

[It goes back] to the 1990s — the rural people are carrying a lot of debt because of that. It’s cost us a lot of money, the drought.

Margaret Beale, publican

Mungallala’s newest property owner..Daemon Singer

Daemon Singer, Mungallala's newest resident, image www.ozrural.com.au

Daemon Singer, Mungallala’s newest resident, bought a house in the town for $40,000 in May.

He said he fell in love with the area after visiting the pub while passing through.

“I pitched my tent out the back, walked in to the pub and said ‘hi’ to Bruce and I’ve been in love with it ever since.”

Daemon Singer
Henry sapiecha




August 8th, 2016

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