Australia held its breath as they watched the extraordinary rescue of two miners in the tiny mining town of Beaconsfield.
In April 2006, Todd Russell and Brant Webb
were trapped for two weeks as the close-knit community worked hard to rescue the miners. In a multi-sensory simulation of the rock fall, visitors at the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre
can experience the conditions Russell and Webb endured. Visitors can also see the miners' uniforms and read the community's stories of coping with the media influx and uniting amidst the crisis.
Climbing up the steps to the viewing platform, visitors can imagine the panic the crew on the ground experienced when a few miners were missing from the group evacuated from the mine. From the top of the museum's viewing platform at the mine's entrance, people can also see the spot where television crews captured the moment Russell and Webb appeared above ground, after being feared dead.
Beaconsfield Mine Entrance
Long before the mining rescue, which put Beaconsfield on the national map, the Grubb Shaft Gold & Heritage Museum was built by the West Tamar Historical Society
, next to the Tasmania Gold Mine in 1982. However, since the famous rock fall, the original museum was expanded to include the Mine Rescue exhibition and 3D Mine Experience. With the help of cutting-edge holographic technology, visitors enter the world of miners 1200 metres below the ground. and meet the miners without physically going underground.
Children can learn the rich heritage by touching and interacting with old phone boxes and telephone systems or farming equipment. Interactive displays around every corner of the centre, with over 10,000 objects donated by the local community, portray the rich history of Beaconsfield and the Tamar Valley. Through pulling leavers to start the huge water wheel or visiting the boiler house, the historical centre allows the learning to step off the textbook pages. Trying luck at hand, visitors may also attempt some gold panning out the back of the museum ,near the old mining shack showing a typical miners' quarters.
Taking a sip of Tamar Valley's rich history
With visitor numbers exceeding 40,000 per year from around the world, the historical centre is a recurring recipient of the Tasmanian Tourism Awards and TripAdvisor. Despite this, the centre is still run by the community, through approximately 20 full-time volunteers assisting the small staff team.
Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre.
The town of Beaconsfield welcomes visitors to play with their history and recommend at least 90 minutes to explore the centre, with family prices starting at $38.