Beaconsfield mine site’s $440,000 tourist makeover: The Mercury reports

PEOPLE can now visit the spot where miners Todd Russell and Brant Webb famously exited the Beaconsfield mine after they had been trapped by a rockfall for 14 days.

The closure of the Beaconsfield gold mine in 2012, combined with a $200,000 Federal Government grant, has enabled the takeover of the mine site by the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre, which has been operating next door for 30 years.

The West Tamar Council, which owns the centre, contributed more than $200,000 to the $440,000 extension.

The Mine Yard Development project was opened by federal Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Science Karen Andrews.

Beaconsfield miner Larry Knight was killed in the rockfall on Anzac Day 2006. The rescue of Mr Russell and Mr Webb transfixed the nation, was watched by a worldwide television audience and has drawn many visitors to the town.

The historic Hart building contains the powerful winder that was attached to the lifts via a giant pulley at the top of the head frame, for lowering miners and machinery into the mine and hauling the gold-bearing ore out.

West Tamar mayor Christina Holmdahl said: “You’ll be able to see the tag board where the miners tagged on and off as they came and went to work and tag yourself on before you climb the steps of the headframe for an amazing view.

 “We have done our best to retain the authentic nature of the yard while still making it a safe and enjoyable place to explore.”

Lyons MHR Eric Hutchinson said the extension was an impressive addition to an already strong tourism region that attracted more than 2.1 million visitors a year, and which brought more than $500 million into the regional economy.

“The mine site development will give visitors another reason to visit the West Tamar region of Tasmania, and learn more about the agricultural history of the valley as well as the ‘life and times’ of the district,” Mr Hutchinson said.