Home / Places To Go / Tasmania / Launceston and North / Beaconsfield

Beaconsfield

  • by

This former gold mining town on the western banks of the Tamar River was once the richest source of gold in Tasmania and had been mined for over 150 years.

Beaconsfield-lookout-20070419-009
By Gary Houston [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons
Goldmine (www.tamarpulpmill.info).jpg
Public Domain, Link

The Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre is a museum at the mine site covering the more than 150 years of gold mining that occurred in the town.

Hart-Shaft-Winder-House-Beaconsfield-20070419-001
By Gary Houston (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Hart Shaft building dated 1904 housed the equipment to operate one of the three mine shafts and now part of the Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre

Miners-Cottage-Beaconsfield-20070419-002
By Gary Houston (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Adjacent to the mining museum is a small collection of buildings refurbished to what they would have been like during the 19th century mining, including the Miners Cottage shown here.

Beaconsfield mine
By Kyle sb at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], from Wikimedia Commons

The head of the last working mine shaft at the mine and now part of the Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre

While gold had been found in the area since as early as 1847, limestone mining in 1869 resulted in the discovery of the ‘Tasmanian Reef’ and underground mining started in 1877.  The reef was worked until 1917 producing over 26,000 kilograms of gold from its three shafts but had to be finally abandoned due to the water accessing the mine and pumping technology of the time not being able to cope. The mine was reopened in 1991 after it was determined that the reef extended at least 200 metres below the old workings.   The mine continued in use until 2012.

The mine drew international attention in 2006 when a small earthquake occurred, killing one miner and trapping two others almost a kilometre underground. The trapped miners were found alive five days after and finally rescued after after several more days underground. Based the instability in the mine, it was finally permanently closed in June 2012.