Tasmania - Coal Mines Historic Site

Coal Mines Historic Site

This was the first coal mine in Tasmania, started in 1834 to decrease the island's dependence on mainland coal. As was the fashion at the time, the mine was operated entirely by forced convict labour, with the theory that the harder the work, the harder the criminal could be rehabilitated. This was the hardest work and accommodated the hardest criminals that the main prison in Port Arthur wanted no part of. Behave well and you could be a miner. Yes, being immersed in coal dust 8 hours a day was considered to be a reward, mainly because of better accommodation and treatment above ground. Other work was quarrying, building, and maintaining the gaol itself. The coal produced was of poor quality and the prison labour was not nearly as efficient as hired miners, so between those factors and the poor conditions experienced in the mine (limited ventilation being #1), the convicts were shuttled back out in 1848 and the mines sold to private hands, worked until 1877 with limited benefit.

The view east from the centre of the prison complex. It was a beautiful place to work, but I bet the inhabitants largely did not appreciate it.

"The Settlement" (main square)

Outside "The Settlement"

The first Norfolk Bay view looked a little south of east. This view, from the south side of the complex, looks a little north of east.

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