Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre

Mine tunnel start
Hologram mine tunnels
Hologram construction
Hologram construction

Since opening in 1984, the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre has prided itself upon its central involvement with the West Tamar community believing that it creates a sense of pride in place. The Centre aims to provide a comprehensive educational and interactive experience for visitors whilst preserving and sharing the local community’s heritage. The Centre is a major attraction in the Tamar Valley and aims to attract visitors to the area and ensure that they visit as many other places of interest and businesses as possible during their time in the Valley.

As part of improving the educational and interactive experience for students and visitors and maintaining links with the mine and its history an extension to the current model which shows the old mine and its workings (1877 to 1914) was suggested as a way of helping visitors to understand the extensive new workings which the mine has developed since 1999. West Tamar Council is very supportive of the Heritage Centre, but the funding required to build the display was quite a bit more than they could easily have contributed at that time. The funding from the Tasmania Community Fund was essential to get the project off the ground and the project would not have proceeded without it.

The TCF funding enabled the Centre to build an interactive three dimensional holographic mine shaft. Visitors are able to use state of the art equipment and touch screens to experience the underground drives, shaft and workings of the now famous Beaconsfield mine without having to physically go underground. Since the display has become operational, current patrons of the Heritage Centre have found that many of their questions about the mine and its operations are answered by the interactive display and now spend even more time in the Centre, often finding themselves very hungry and thirsty when they come out. As a result, and as an added benefit, local businesses are getting increased patronage.

School groups upon hearing about the new display are quite excited to learn that firstly there is ‘modern technology’ involved and that it relates directly to the mine and its current operations. Children are now better able to understand what is going on under the ground directly below their feet and have a better appreciation of how difficult it was in the "olden days".

Coach groups are also pleased to have a display that is not only interactive but gives their passengers "bang for their buck" (by listening to the script "Getting out the gold" – which explains the use of explosives and goes off with a bang at the end!) and helps to explain the relationship between the mine, the rescue of 2006 and the history of the mine.

One of the biggest and not entirely expected benefits that the display has so far achieved is that many visitors are now able to have their myriad of questions answered within the display. Questions such as "Is the mine still working?" is answered and "what do Todd and Brant do now?" is at least partially answered with Todd Russell appearing as a hologram within the display.