Over the next four Thursdays, we will countdown the celebrations to the North West Star’s 50th&nbsp;birthday party with a look back on 50 years of our history, covering Mount Isa and the North West region. Last Thursday we started with a gripping account from the unpublished memoirs&nbsp;of the newspaper’s founder Sir Asher Joel and his struggles to get the paper up and running in the face of competition from the Mount Isa Mail. So what events did the North West Star cover in those early years? Read on. The year was 1966 and Mount Isa was a thriving mining town full of ambition.&nbsp; That year the council spent big money on two new schemes. There was&nbsp;£22,500 ($45,000 in what was then a newly introduced decimal currency) on a storm water drainage system for the growing Parkside-Happy Valley area. The system replaced the crumbling surface network with concrete piping laid from the&nbsp;base supply depot (BSD) on Railway Avenue to Death Adder Gully. The second scheme was a&nbsp;£32,000 public lighting plan with lamps along the Barkly Highway to be replaced by fluorescent lights. Unfortunately there was bad news for the Mount Isa show which did not run that year. Public meetings attracted tiny crowds forcing the Mount Isa Exhibition Society to disband. Though it was two years after the great strike that shut the mine, there was still industrial unrest with 250 miners walking off the job at the Simon Carves sifter plant&nbsp;on May 10, 1966 over a holiday pay dispute. There was better news for the mines in September when Premier Frank Nicklin opened MIM K57, at 3500 feet (1066 metres).&nbsp;Queensland’s deepest shaft. Nearly 7000 people crowded a specially constructed grandstand at the mine for the opening before another 5000 people filled Kruttschnitt Oval to witness fireworks in a silhouette of the K57 shaft. In 1967 a proposed half a million dollar stockcar track on Lake Moondarra Rd failed to get off the ground due to a “misunderstanding over land leases”. On February 9 airline rivals Trans Asutralian Airlines (TAA) and Ansett ANA introduced the new Boeing 727 jet and a new Brisbane –&nbsp;Mount Isa – Darwin timetable flying three times a week. In May shire chairman George McCoy opened the John Campbell Miles lookout in Mount Isa, named for the city’s founder. Not such a good lookout was the annual Nurses v Barmaids rugby league clash at Kruttschnitt Oval which descended into an “impressive display of biting, scratching and clawing”. Tragedy struck on 22 September when&nbsp;a&nbsp;Vickers Viscount&nbsp;departed for a 73-minute flight to&nbsp;Longreach. A fire started in an engine 44&nbsp;minutes after takeoff.&nbsp;The crew made an emergency descent into Winton, but the fire spread to the fuel tank and weakened the wing structure so that a large part of the&nbsp;left&nbsp;wing&nbsp;broke away and the aircraft crashed. All 24 aboard&nbsp;were killed in the the fifth-worst in Australia's civil aviation history. Better news was that MIM chairman of directors George Fisher had&nbsp;been knighted by the Queen for his service to the Australian mining and metallurgic industry. On November 13 a light aircraft with four men aboard nose-dived and exploded in front of Mount Isa prospector J. Allen landing barely 50 feet away from him, and forcing him back due to the intensity of the flames. There were no survivors. On November 26, 1967 Mount Isa got its first automated telephone exchange costing $600,000. It had a 2000 telephone capacity with the promise that STD calls would be implemented by 1970 through a micro-wave link with Townsville. In early&nbsp;1968 families sweltered through the heat by visiting Lake Moondarra. But on February 10, there was near-tragedy as the Webb family’s speedboat burst into flames. The long swim back to shore was hampered as they shared one life jacket. A day later a man drowned on the lake as he swam out to retrieve a cricket ball and got into difficulties. The rains came later that month cutting off the town for weeks with only air freight keeping Isa from starvation. On February 27, 1968 Mount Isa’s first traffic light was installed. Mount Isa’s Anzac Day parade in 1968 was led by Paddy McCarthy who was among the contingent ashore in Gallipoli 53 years earlier. The Duke of Edinburgh visited in May spending the night at Casa Grande and touring Camooweal, Cloncurry and Duchess. On May 30, 1968 Mount Isa was formally proclaimed a city with the 1966 census showing a population of 17,234. In June the new terminal building at Mount Isa airport was opened by Minister for Civil Aviation Reginald Schwartz, a drawcard being “the first country town to have an airport bar”. There was drama in early 1969 as two men escaped from the Mount Isa watchhouse before being recaptured, one of them on the verge of starvation after getting lost in the bush. New premier Joh&nbsp;Bjelke-Petersen came to town to open the Verona Motel which featured 12 luxury units on Marian St “with wiring prepared for soon to be on sale TV sets”. In July 4, 1969 former deputy mayor Bill Weigh beat his boss George McCoy in the election to become Mount Isa’s new mayor, one of his first functions being to formally open the 11th&nbsp;Rotary Rodeo. The Duke of Edinburgh was back in town in 1970, this time accompanied by the Queen herself. Her Majesty arrived on April 14 to be greeted by huge replicas of British coat-of-arms at strategic points across the city.