Australia

Mining Museums and Displays by State

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Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Queensland

South Australia

Tasmania

Victoria

Western Australia

Australian Capital Territory

  • Geoscience Australia (GA) – is the national organisation responsible for providing information and advice on Australia’s mineral and energy resources, as well as monitoring other geological aspects of the continent. GA holds a large mineral, rock and fossil collection and over 700 items can be viewed by the public in the foyer of their purpose built building. There is also  an outdoor ‘Time Walk’ around the building. GA is located at Sir Harold Raggat Dr off Jerrabomberra Ave, Symonston.

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New South Wales

  • Albert Kersten Mining and Minerals Museum – also known as the GeoCentre this geological science museum represents the rich mineral history of Broken Hill. The centre’s hand-on displays highlight the history of the planet and the science of crystals.
  • Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum – situated in Bathurst, NSW this museum is the home of the internationally renowned Somerville Collection, the lifetime work of Warren Somerville AM. It is housed in the 1876 Public School building which is fitted out with the stunningly beautiful exhibitions.
  • Australian Opal Centre –  at Lightning Ridge on the edge of outback NSW an extraordinary national monument is taking shape – a world class, energy-efficient underground building to house the new Australian Opal Centre – open  Monday to Saturday at 3/11 Morilla St, Lightning Ridge.
  • Bulli Black Diamond Museum & Heritage Centre – Located at the Bulli Railway Station, north of Wollongong. The centre hosts a collection of local coal mining, railway and social history. The station waiting room holds a mining collection concentrating on 3 local coal mines – Bulli, Woonona and South Bulli.
  • Emmaville Mining Museum – this unique museum in the rural township of Emmavimineral collection, as well as  the Jillet, Gilbey, Ellis, Schumacher, Trethewey, Hermann and Maskey collections.
  • Great Cobar Heritage Centre – this excellent museum and visitors centre is  the former Administration Building (circa 1910) of the Great Cobar Copper Mine. The Centre captures the essence of Cobar, housing an outstanding collection of exhibits which date from 1869 to the present day.
  • Hill End – History Hill – Situated 1.5km south of Hill End History Hill has an extensive collection of mining artefacts and photographs.
  • Lithgow State Mine Heritage Park – Located in Lithgow on the site of the former Lithgow State Mine and showcasing the industrial history of the New South Wales Western Coalfield.
  •  Lucknow – Wentworth Main Mine – The preserved Wentworth Mine, east of Orange, tells the story of goldmining in the Central West, from its early stages in the 1850s, through three stages, until its closure in the 1950s.
  • Montreal Goldfield – is located on the eastern side of Lake Wallaga, 7 km north of Bermagui on the south coast. It was the site of a short-lived alluvial gold rush during 1880-1883 and has some unique features. Visitors can view some of the old workings and other artefacts in an outdoor setting. Access to the site is by guided tour only. Group bookings are also available.
  •  Richmond Vale Museum– This Mining museum is located within the preserved Richmond Main Colliery near Kurri Kurri. The coal mine administration building contains artefacts, maps and photos that documents the history of the Richmond Main Colliery and the development of the South Maitland Coalfields.
  •  Sir Edgeworth David Memorial Museum – Located at Abermain, The Coalfields Local History Association operates a heritage centre where history and heritage information about the coalfields of the Hunter Valley can be found.

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Queensland

  • Hard Times Mine Underground Tour – located at the Outback at Isa complex, 19 Marian Street, Mount Isa. This is an underground experience that explores the history of mining.   Experienced guides enthrall you with their stories of the good times and the hard times that they had working deep under the earth. You will be shown the full range of underground mining methods.
  • Herberton Mining Museum – the Herberton Mining Museum and Visitor Centre provides and excellent interpretation (with guided walks) of the mining history of the Atherton region of tropical North Queensland. It also showcases the present town and its beautiful surroundings.
  • Irvinebank Heritage Town – is one of North Queensland’s best kept secrets, less than 2 hrs from  Carins and in the wild ranges west of Herberton.  Famous for its tin mining history anyone interested in living history and heritage architecture should definitely visit the  area. Allow a full day for your visit.
  • Kilkivan Historical District Museum – is situated at 12 Bligh Street, Kilkivan, west of Gympie, Queensland. The museum is open Tuesday to Friday, 10 am to 3 pm. It contains a comprehensive display of mineral and ore samples, common to the district, as well as mining related articles. There was significant mining in the Kilkivan district from 1870 including at  the Black Snake and Cinnibar areas. Historically, Kilkivan has been the largest producer of mercury in Australia.
  • Miners Heritage – located at Rubyvale  in the heart of the Queensland sapphire fields this underground mine tour, fossicking park, outdoor museum  and sapphire show room contains the largest walk in sapphire mine in Australia.The site was established in 1982 as a working mine.

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South Australia

  •  Burra Mine Open Museum – located on the edge of Burra township, the Burra Copper Mine was the largest metal mine in Australia during the mid-19th century.  The mine was worked from 1845 to 1877 and reworked by modern open cut from 1971, and 1981 The site preserves historic Cornish surface and underground mining infrastructure, including the reconstructed Engine-house Museum.
  • Bon Accord Mine Museum – is located iat Burra on the site of Bon Accord Mine, and incorporates the original mine office and workshop. The Museum displays mining relics, ore samples, the office pay table from the Monster (Burra Burra) Mine, plus information, photographs and memorabilia of the Burra copper mining area,
  • Blinman Heritage Mine – located at Blinman, near the Flinders Ranges, South Australia this restored historic copper mine has an organised underground tour.
  • Iron Knob Visitor Centre & Museum – features historic displays of mining at Iron Knob, mineral specimens and iron ore jewelry.
  • Moonta Mines Museum – at Moonta, South Australia,  in the heart of Australia’s Little Cornwall this museum houses thematic displays on the Cornish miners’ lifestyles. Nearby there are outdoor displays, walks and a guided train trip through the relics of the adjacent copper mines.
  • Moonta Family History & Resource Centre –  housed in the  former Moonta School of Mines,  Ellen Street Moonta, can assist with family history research and also researches the history of Moonta and its residents since the establishment of the district.
  • Kapunda Mine Trail and Site – located on the edge of Kapunda township this historic mine site has  free open air walking trail through the old workings. The Kapunda Mine was the first successful commercial copper metal mine in Australia. Copper was discovered here by Charles Bagot and Francis Dutton in 1842.
  •  Kapunda Historical Society Museum – housed in a complex of historic building in Hill Street, Kapunda, this museum depicts the social and commercial history of Kapunda, the oldest copper mining town in Australia.
  • Radium Hill Heritage Museum – located at the Steamtown Heritage Rail Centre, Peterborough, this museum depicts the history of Radium Hill, Australia’s first uranium mine from its birth and life in 1906, until closure in 1961, and now its legacies.
  • Umoona Opal Mine & Museum, Coober Pedy – is located in an underground opal mine offering guided tours . The attached museum a explains the Aboriginal and mining history of Coober Pedy.
  • Wallaroo Heritage & Nautical Museum – located in the historic Post Office building, Jetty Road, Wallaroo, this museum houses extensive displays of the copper smelting era which lasted from 1861-1923, postal and telephone history, religious and civic affairs, industry, sport, entertainment, extensive nautical, and general local history.
  • Willunga Slate Museum – is housed in the police stables of the old Willunga Courthouse and Police Station complex. This museum describes how slate is formed, its discovery in the hills behind Willunga and the development of the slate extraction industry to the present day.

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Tasmania

  • Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre – Beaconsfield on the Tamar River in northern Tasmania is the site of one of the most historic and interesting gold mines in Australia. A comprehensive museum is housed in restored mine buildings constructed in 1904. The museum has many interactive displays including of the amazing mine rescue of miners Brant Webb and Todd Russell following a mine collapse in May 2006. There are group tours of the centre.
  • Eric Thomas Galley Museum – housed in the historic Imperial Hotel in Queenstown, western Tasmania this museum offers a unique collection, illustrating the history of mining and the stories of the west coast miners and their families.
  • West Coast Heritage Centre – located in historic Zeehan on the west coast of Tasmania the centre incorporates four historic buildings – the Zeehan School of Mines and Metallurgy, Zeehan Post Office, Police Station-Court house, and the Gaiety Theatre-Grand Hotel, as well as 30 themed exhibition spaces. The School of Mines Museum hosts an outstanding collection of minerals and rocks, including the world’s best display of the rare mineral crocoite for which Zeehan is famous.
  • West Coast Wilderness Railway – this historic mining railway was built in the 1890s between Queenstown and the port of Strahan to service the Mount Lyell copper mine. The railway was restored in 2002 and visitors can now travel the route through the rugged, rainforest country between the two towns. Other adventure activities are connected with the railway.

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Victoria

  • Ararat  Gumsan Museum – tells the story of the arrival of Chinese miners in Ararat in the mid 1850’s searching for gold.
  • Ballarat Eureka Centre  – explores the social history and cultural impact of the Victorian gold rush and honours the stories of the men and women who risked their lives in the fight for miners’ rights.
  •  Ballarat Gold Museum – this museum  is one of Australia’s largest regional, community museums. Owned and operated by The Sovereign Hill Museums Association, the Gold Museum extends the Sovereign Hill mining story, to include the social, cultural and environmental heritage of the Ballarat region.
  • Ballarat Sovereign Hill – Australia’s foremost outdoor museum,  re-creates Ballarat’s first ten years after the discovery of gold in 1851 when thousands of international adventurers rushed to the Australian goldfields in search of fortune.
  • Beechworth – Follow the journey of Beechworth’s Gold Rush, and understand the significance this treasured metal had on the history and establishment of the region. Take a guided walking tour, visit the historically significant museum collections or pull on the hiking boots and go straight to the source.
  • Bendigo Central Deborah Gold Mine – History comes alive at the Central Deborah Gold mine with an underground tour and information about the golden history at Bendigo.
  • Bendigo Golden Dragon Museum – Despite the significant role of Chinese during the goldrushes and as a part of Australia’s immigration history, until the 1970s and 1980s their role and contributions were largely overlooked in the histories and collections of public institutions. The Golden Dragon Museum was established in part to rectify this.  The Museum holds a rich and large collection of objects, textiles, photographs, documents and oral histories that relate to the family and community lives of Chinese and their descendants in Bendigo, the wider Victorian goldfields and beyond.
  • Bendigo Victoria Hill Mining Reserve – Take a walk through the Victoria Hill Mining Reserve and explore the historical site of what was once the world’s deepest gold mine to view fascinating ruins and relics with lots of detailed information signs along the way.
  • Buckland Valley –  Scroll down the museum listings for the Bright district to find the history of gold mining in the Buckland Valley and surrounding areas, including the story of the Chinese and the Buckland Riot.
  • Castlemaine Forest Creek Historic Gold Diggings – located between Chewton and Castlemaine this outdoor site contains many fascinating historic features of this world-renowned alluvial goldfield. During the gold rush, miners sought to strike their fortune from the gravels of an ancient river bed – a former course of Forest Creek which formed millions of years ago.
  • Coal Creek Museum – Coal Creek is a recreation of a Coal Mining town in the 1870’s. Set on 32 acres of bushland with over 50 buildings.
  • Creswick Museum  Includes the story of the worst gold mining accident in Australia, which occurred in the small town of Creswick in 1882.
  • El Dorado Museum – is a short drive from Wangaratta or Beechworth.  Gold and tin mining relics from the Cock’s El Dorado Gold and Tin Dredge and Cock’s Pioneer sluicing are on display as well as information on various mines in the area with some photographic history of the mining from 1850 until 1950.
  • Goldfields Guide – Explore the Victorian goldfields historic sites, walks, camping areas and more.
  • Heatherlie Quarry, Ledcourt in the Grampians – Heatherlie Quarry is a significant historic landmark in the Grampians. Stone mined from the quarry has been used in many important buildings in Melbourne and a significant amount of equipment remains in the area.
  • Jamieson Museum – A visit to the Museum is an ideal way to begin your exploration of this historic region. The display of artefacts and photographs demonstrate various aspects of the historical development of this once thriving gold mining district.
  • Maldon Museum – A gold discovery in the Tarrangower near Maldon was announced in 1853 and miners rushed to the area. A long street of buildings quickly sprang up in Maldon township. Apart from tents, shanties and wooden buildings, the 1850s saw the construction of the first brick church. a Market Hall and fine bank and the first brick hotel. The district Museum is normally open every Wednesday and Sunday from 11:30am to 2:00pm. The History Research Centre is open Fridays between 10:00am and 1:00pm by appointment only.
  • Maldon North British Mine and Quartz Kilns – Take a self guided tour to explore the fascinating and extensive ruins of the North British Mine and Quartz Kilns in Maldon. The walk showcases the mine’s machinery foundations, large mine shaft, and well-preserved quartz kilns.
  • Rushworth Balaclava Mine – Whroo Historic Area near Rushworth. This was a historically significant gold mining area, with the first gold found by John Lewis and James Nickinson in 1854. The Balaclava mine operated on and off until the 1960’s. The area is poorly signed and the details old and faded but the cemetery, walking tracks and remanent mining equipment is of interest.
  • Rutherglen Gold Mining History and Battery – The battery underwent restoration works in 2011/12 and is now available for public viewing daily between 9.00am and 5.00pm. Collect an access code from the Rutherglen Visitor Information Centre to enter the battery and view the informative storyboards and video demonstrations.
  • Victorian Collections Mining Catalogue – is a digital archive where you can search thousands of items held by galleries, museums, libraries, archives, historical societies and cultural collections across the state of Victoria, Australia. The mining catalogue holds 2438 items.
  • Victorian Mining Legacies -The Earth and Energy Resources of the Department of Primary Industry has no policy, program or fund in place to rehabilitate legacy mine sites in Victoria. The Department offers some advice about legacy mines and there are efforts to address public health risks from any mining legacy which is done in collaboration with the Department of Health. There are some issues with arsenic in tailings around goldfields, rather than cleaning up the arsenic the EER has worked with the Department of health in community education and awareness programs on arsenic in sands and tailings to avoid them being used. This link also contains references to other relevant sites relating to Mining legacies.
  • Volcanoes Discovery Centre – Is in Penhurst, on a lava plain two km from the extinct Mount Rouse volcano, from which scoria  was mined.  The vast volcanic lava plain includes the volcanic hills of Mount Rouse, Mount Napier and Mount Eccles. The Centre tells how volcanoes are formed, their geology, and their history in the Western District
  • Walhalla Historic Gold Town – located in east Gippsland 185 km east of Melbourne Walhalla was a rich goldfield discovered in 1862. The site is now a major tourist attraction with numerous preserved and restored buildings and mining relics from the gold mining era. There is an underground tour of the Long Tunnel and Extended Gold Mine and a walking trails.
  • Walhalla Goldfields Railway – this historic narrow-gauge railway was constructed to the rich Walhalla gold mines from 1904-1910. Closed in 1954 it was faithfully reconstructed and ropened as a tourist train from the 1990s. The train travels from Thomson to Walhalla through some spectacular forested country of the Thomson River and Stringers Creek valleys.
  • Wonthaggi State Coal Mine -The State Coal Mine is the only historic coal mine experience in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a former 20th-century state-owned black coal mine that was operational from 1910 until 1968 and is now a state park and tourist attraction. It is located at 19 – 37 Garden Street, Wonthaggi, about two hours from Melbourne and 25 minutes from Phillip Island.
  • Yackandandah Karr’s Reef Goldmine –  This Heritage listed, protected site, was operated in Yackandandah from 1867 to 1884.
  • Yallourn North Old Brown Coal Mine Museum – The Old Brown Coal Mine Museum, run by the Yallourn North and District Historical Society, holds an extensive display of photographic memorabilia depicting the early days of the old town and open cut, both known as Brown Coal Mine prior to 1947.

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Western Australia

  • Museum of the Goldfields – The Museum of the Goldfields in Kalgoorlie, showcases the rich history of Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields, the city’s mining heritage and its unique role in the development of the mining industry.
  • Mineral Museum WA School of Mines – located at 134 Egan St, Kalgoorlie this museum holds a collection of approximately 3,000 mineral specimens and replica gold nuggets and is sure to appeal to anyone with an interest in geology and mineralogy.
  • Coolgardie Goldfields Exhibition Museum – is housed in the grandiose 1898 Warden’s Court Building in the main street of Coolgardie.  Each room features fascinating displays telling the dramatic and often tragic story of life in and around Coolgardie during the Goldrush days of the 1890’s. Highlights include a brilliant photographic collection, models and authentic equipment, a Pharmacy collection, and the Varischetti Mine Rescue display.
  • Gwalia Ghost Town & Museum – visitors can explore over a dozen buildings in the Gwalia ghost town and the fascinating Gwalia Museum, located near Leonora in the north of the Eastern Goldfields. The town is adjacent to the famous Sons of Gwalia gold mine (still operating) developed by Herbert Hoover, later President of the USA. The original timber mine headframe constructed in 1898 and winding engine are preserved and can be inspected.
  • Yilgarn History Museum – is located in Southern Cross on the western edge of the Eastern Goldfields. The museum is housed in a beautiful heritage building constructed in 1892 as the first Registrar’s Office ever built in Western Australia and the first permanent courthouse in the region. The museum contains a rare collection of goldfields artefacts, records and memorabilia. Explore displays on minerals, prospecting and mining with special features such as a working model of a gold battery,  and a camel wagon. There are also other interesting sites at Southern Cross related to the goldfields history.
  • Greenbushes Discovery Centre – is located in the town of Greenbushes   350 km south of Perth. The Centre tells the story of human involvement with the environment. It houses interactive displays and unique games set in various themes namely Mining, Timber Milling, Community and Agriculture. Nearby is the Greenbushes pegmatite deposit, mined for tin, tantalum and lithium for 128 years. It is the largest deposits of its type in the world. There is a mining heritage walk.

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