The road to the town with the famous Min Min Lights. Photos: Melissa North
I live in Mount Isa, a mining town located in North West Queensland. The Glencore MIM mine is one of the biggest operations in Australia.
The great community spirit, the annual rodeo, and the relaxed living conditions all make this place home but the best thing about living in the outback is being able to explore.
Recently I visited a charismatic old town called Boulia. It’s about 300k south of Mount Isa.
The name of the town, in the language of the local Pitta Pitta Aborigines, was ‘Bulla Bulla’ meaning either ‘waterhole’ or ‘clear water’.
The scenic way to Boulia is worth the drive.
The picturesque country drive is under four hours if you’re towing a caravan but it’s worth taking the time to see the transformation of the landscape from Mitchell grass and spinifex plains to rocky ridges and flat grazing land.
Once you arrive in town, its plain to see Boulia is famous for its connections with the mysterious Min Min lights.
No-one has been able to explain these orbs of glowing light but they’ve appeared to travellers for decades.
The lights are often sighted just after dark and are said to start as a small ball then sometimes grow as big as car headlights and often follow travellers for kilometres before disappearing into the darkness. Some even say they even have an intelligence about them.
Boulia local Deb Murphy has seen the Min Min Lights several times in Western Queensland. Picture: Adam Head
The first recorded sighting was in 1890 at a Cobb and Co staging site in the Boulia Shire.
According to the Min Min Connection (Picture below), the intensely bright floating balls first appeared near the site of the old Min Min Hotel which is located 73 km east of Boulia. The old hotel is now in ruin. It burned down in the early 1900s and the publican and Miss Lizzy were buried on site.
One night a horseman was travelling passed the site and saw a strange light. Terrified he kicked his horse into action only to have the orbs follow him all the way to Boulia before disappearing.
However, some stories about the hovering orbs have pre-dated European settlement as part of Aboriginal Dreamtime.
Min Min Encounter – Boulia
Aboriginal people suspected them of being spirits and believed that if the light ever caught up with you, you would disappear inside them forever.
Much like any natural phenomenon, conspiracy theories have surrounded the Min Min lights with the more extreme ideas being they are some kind of UFO.
The last known sighting of the Min Min lights was in October 2017.
I’ve always been passionate about storytelling and impressed by the influence it has on people and the decisions they make in life. I love engaging with the projects I work on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of stories and articles I feel are worth writing about.