Kuridala, a copper and gold resource locality, is 70 km south of Cloncurry in western Queensland. Situated in the Cloncurry Shire, Kuridala lies in the northern foothills of the Selwyn Range where numerous ore deposits were discovered as early as 1884.
The Hampden copper deposit (the future site of Kuridala) was acquired by a Melbourne syndicate in 1897, and by 1905 world copper prices had climbed sufficiently to warrant exploitation. The railway system reached Cloncurry in 1908 and a 70 km southwards extension was needed to carry Hampden's copper to Cloncurry. Funds from the mining syndicate and the government paid for the extension line, which opened in 1910. The mining township was named Gulatten, then Friezland, but anti-German sentiment during World War I prompted a further change. Kuridala was chosen, an Aboriginal word thought to describe the eagle hawk.
As early as 1913 Friezland had 1500 people. There were six hotels, an ice works, a printery, several storekeepers and tradespeople, a hospital, Anglican and Presbyterian churches, a school of arts and a primary school. Wartime demand kept world copper prices elevated and the town buoyant, reaching its zenith in 1918. At this time Kuridala's school had a daily attendance of 280 children. Chinese market gardeners kept the town supplied with fresh victuals, while the smelters worked around the clock, lighting up the night sky.
In 1920 world copper prices collapsed, extinguishing the smelters and Kuridala's prospects. By the following year the population had halved to 774. Pugh's Directory records that five hotels were still afloat in 1924, but decline was unabated and the end inevitable. The hospital, picture theatre and court house were pulled down and erected in the new mining town at Mount Isa, the ice works following close behind. The 1933 census counted just 64 people in 1933, mostly tributors who mined high-grade ore.
The train line, extended south to Selwyn and serviced by optimistic spurs to promising deposits, was lightly trafficked until closure in 1961. Kuridala's surviving features are a cemetery and the remains of a smelter. According to Queensland Archives the school closed in 1935.
In 2006 the census counted 209 people in the Kuridala district.
Perry Hardy, The Cloncurry story. A short history of the Cloncurry district, Cloncurry, Cloncurry Shire Council, 1983
K.H. Kennedy, ed, Readings in north Queensland mining history, vol 1, Townsville, History Department, James Cook University of North Queensland, 1980
Geoffrey Blainey, Mines in the spinifex: the story of Mount Isa Mines, Sydney, Angus & Robertson, 1960