Selwyn, a copper and gold mining locality, is 100 km south of Cloncurry, western Queensland. It is situated in the Selwyn Range, an area crossed by the Burke and Wills expedition in 1861. The range was named after Alfred Selwyn, Victorian geological surveyor and member of the expedition's planning committee.

Copper and gold were discovered by James Elliott in 1889 at Mount Elliott near the site of the future town of Selwyn. In 1897 James Moffat, of Irvinebank tin-mining fame, secured leases over Mount Elliott, and in 1906 Melbourne mining interests (already involved in the Hampden mine 30 km north) floated a company to exploit Mount Elliott. The mining sector and the government jointly financed a railway from Cloncurry, through Hampden, terminating at Mount Elliott (1910). The railway station was named Selwyn.

Selwyn had an estimated population of 1000 people in 1913 and 1500 in 1918. Its smelters processed ore mined locally and as far away as the Consols site, virtually on the doorstep of the Kuridala smelter 30 km away. Pugh's Queensland Directory (1918) recorded a well-appointed hospital, four hotels, five restaurants, two billiards saloons, two booksellers and numerous stores. By 1920 world copper prices had collapsed, and Selwyn's census population was 191 in 1921. The train line was closed in 1961. Selwyn's census population in 2006 was 109 and was unrecorded at the 2011 census.

Whilst only a locality, Selwyn now has a major base metal mine yielding copper and gold.

Perry Hardy, The Cloncurry story, Cloncurry, Cloncurry Shire Council, c1984

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: the story of Mount Isa mines, Sydney, Angus and Robertson, 1960


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