Coal Mines Historic Site Trail Hiking Australia
  • Length: 3km

  • Duration: 1hr

  • Grade: 2

  • Style: Return

  • Start: Mine Road

  • End: Mine Road

  • Closest Town: Saltwater River

  • Location: Coal Mines Historic Site

  • Distance from state capital: 107km

  • State: TAS

  • Latitude: -42.982251

  • Longitude: 147.714894

Coal Mines Historic Site is a 3km, grade 2 Return hike located in Coal Mines Historic Site Tasmania. The hike should take approximately 1hrs to complete.

Summary

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.

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

Region

Hobart and Surrounds

Getting there

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.

Tips

Allow 1-2 hours or longer to take in the interpretation panels that tell the story of the site’s history. (1km one way)

Toilets. Picnic opportunities; bring your own drinking water and all supplies. Camping is available nearby at Lime Bay.

Level 1. A 300 metre section of track is wheelchair accessible. The rest is a Level 2 walk.

Supervise children, historic site, stay within barriers, deep shafts, building ruins.

No pets, metal detectors or firearms. Bicycles must keep to formed roads. Please assist with conservation by not disturbing any building remnants.

 

Total distance: 2969 m
Max elevation: 80 m
Min elevation: 2 m
Total climbing: 99 m
Total descent: -99 m
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For more information about this hiking trail please visit Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania