Last week we caught the 9:20am bus up from Beauty Pt to Beaconsfield, and went to the Beaconsfield Mining Museum, and if you haven’t been, it’s definitely worth a visit.
You walk into the gift/souvenir shop, it’s the entrance, and pay your entry fee. They have an arrangement with Platypus World and Seahorse World in Beauty Point do that you can buy entry to all three at a reduced cost, which worth it.
The gift shop is new and it leads into the new section of the museum. First up is the housing of a collection of marvelous restored old bits of machinery that give you a real feel for the effort is must have taken to settle the area and clear it.
Nearby is a marvelous telephony exhibit. Having been involved in phone systems on and off during my IT career, I really got a kick out of seeing the development from old patch exchange to a switch exchange, through to an automated rotary switched exchange, with built in metering.
From there, you go into an exhibit that gives you a good idea of what day to day life is like for the miners, over a kilometer under your feet.
There’s also a good exhibit of the drama that surrounded the finding and freeing of the trapped miners in the April 2006 rockfall. Of the seventeen people who were in the mine at the time, fourteen escaped immediately following the collapse, one was killed and the remaining two were found alive using a remote-controlled device. These two miners were rescued on 9 May 2006, two weeks after being trapped nearly a kilometre below the surface. They even have a replica of the partially crushed cage, measuring only 1m by 1.5m, where the two miners lay waiting for rescue for two weeks.
The rest of the museum is split into three sections.
There is a wonderful section on what life was like in the area during early settlement and later development, up until around the war period.
Another section is the old museum complex. It’s got a fantastic working paddle wheel rock crusher, a great scale model of the mine workings, and a model of the old iron ore refinery that used to be on Redbill Pt, just to name a few highlights.
I was particularly impressed with how they keep the kids engaged. They issue the kids with an animals list and a pencil, and the kids run around the museum trying to find all the listed animals, hidden in the various exhibits. My boys loved it! At the end, if they return the pencil, they get a little memento of “museum gold” to take home.
All in all, a great days outing, and we nearly missed our 2pm bus back!