Our Latest News

Viewing platform upgrades for Rocky Cape's Aboriginal heritage sites

13/02/2018

Two viewing platforms have been replaced as part of visitor facility improvements at Rocky Cape National Park on the North-West Coast. The platforms are at the Lee Archer Cave and South Cave sites, which have highly significant Aboriginal heritage values.More

Urban focus for World Wetlands Day

01/02/2018

'Wetlands for a sustainable future' is the theme for World Wetlands Day 2018. This international celebration of the significance of wetland environments is held annually on 2 February.More

Stage Three of Three Capes Track complete

29/01/2018

Stage Three of the award-winning Three Capes Track has now been completed. The Cape Raoul and Shipstern Bluff lookout tracks have been upgraded to a class 3 dry boot standard track consistent with the existing Three Capes walks.More

Coal Mines Historic Site

2. Coal Mines Historic Site

time Allow 1-2 hours or longer to take in the interpretation panels that tell the story of the site’s history. (1km one way)
access Travel on road B37 from Taranna or Nubeena on the Tasman Peninsula. At Premaydena take road C 341 for approximately 13km. The final 3km is unsealed. See map.
facilities Toilets. Picnic opportunities; bring your own drinking water and all supplies. Camping is available nearby at Lime Bay.
grade Level 1. A 300 metre section of track is wheelchair accessible. The rest is a Level 2 walk.
what to take Group A items
cautions Supervise children, historic site, stay within barriers, deep shafts, building ruins
prohibited No pets, metal detectors or firearms. Bicycles must keep to formed roads. Please assist with conservation by not disturbing any building remnants.

This picturesque site on the Tasman Peninsula once housed up to 600 convicts who laboured in the inky blackness of underground tunnels, chipping at coal and dragging it out on trolleys behind them. Ruins that include the penitentiary, underground cells and mine shaft remain from this brutal past.

Highlights

An outcrop of coal was discovered at Plunkett Point by surveyors in 1833 and immediate plans were made by the government to exploit the area to provide a local supply of coal for the colony. The Plunkett Point mine was the first operational mine in Tasmania.

In 1839 there were 150 prisoners and a detachment of 29 officers stationed at the mines. Large stone barracks which housed up to 170 prisoners, as well as the chapel, bakehouse and store had been erected. Today, they form imposing sandstone ruins. On the hillside above were comfortable quarters for the commanding officer, surgeon and other officials. Remains of some of these can also still be seen. Carts ran along rail and tram roads to the jetties for loading.

Four solitary cells were constructed deep in the underground workings to punish those who committed further crimes at the mines.

By 1847 the main shaft was down over 300 feet with an extensive system of subterranean tunnels and caverns. The work of extracting the coal was carried out by convicts in two eight hour shifts. The men had to extract 25 tons in each shift to reach the day's quota.

The coal mines were subsequently closed by the government in 1848 on both 'moral and financial grounds'.

Full details of the Coal Mines are available on our web site.