Mount Cuthbert, once a copper mining town and now a mining locality, is 100 km north-west of Cloncurry in western Queensland. It was one of four rich mining towns around Cloncurry created by Melbourne investors when copper prices rose to profitable levels. With Duchess and Selwyn on the way to production, the Melbourne group made a deputation to the Queensland Government in 1907 for a branch railway line from Cloncurry. Construction began slowly in 1912 and brought to a rapid conclusion in 1915 when war time demand forced up copper prices. As soon as the rails were laid to Mount Cuthbert copper smelters were erected beginning operation in 1917. Trains carried fuel up to Mount Cuthbert and returned with smelted metal.
The boom year was 1918 when Pugh's Queensland Directory estimated Mount Cuthbert's population at 750 and recorded six boarding houses, a hotel, a racing club and several stores in the town. The late start of local smelting, labour disputes and collapse of the world copper market in 1920 put Mt Cuthbert in a hopelessly vulnerable position. The 1921 census recorded 267 people and the 1924 Pugh's Directory indicated that most storekeepers had departed. The branch line to Mount Cuthbert was closed in 1949.
K.H. Kennedy, ed, Readings in north Queensland mining history, vol 1, Townsville, History Department, James Cook University, 1980
Geoffrey Blainey, Mines in the spinifex, Sydney, Angus and Robertson, 1960