5 August, 2023
Plan to preserve and enhance mine history
A TARGETED list of works needed to address safety concerns at the Great Northern Mine site at Herberton have been outlined in a new plan to Tablelands Regional Council.
The council is responsible for preserving the 24-hectare heritage-listed site and is now considering how to deal with health and safety risks while also looking at opportunities outlined in the Great Northern Mine Rehabilitation and Interpretation Plan to enhance visitors’ experiences at the facility.
“Many of the existing structures and features of the former mine site have deteriorated and the presence of several open mine shafts pose both safety risks and interpretive opportunities,” a report to council stated.
“On site meetings and advice have been sought through the Abandoned Mines Unit, however ultimately the responsibility for preserving the heritage-listed site and legal liability rests with the site owner, TRC.”
Funds have been identified in the 2024-2025 capital works budget to address the most urgent safety concerns for the mine shafts.
The plan outlines a variety of projects that could be undertaken at the site to boost and enhance visitation including a new entry statement to the facility, a new nature trail to complement the history trail, new viewing platforms, an audio trail that would recreate the noise of the old mine site, a “now and then” picture trail, school education packs, an introductory film about the mine’s history, and a 3D remote exploration of the site including the mine shafts to enable mobility-impaired visitors to be able to explore the site from a media pod at the Herberton Mining Museum.
The plan acknowledges council would have to seek funding from appropriate grant programs.
Council also noted the progress of a three-stage program for the Herberton Mining Centre, which houses the museum, funded by the National Library of Australia’s Community Heritage Grants which support community-based organisations to identify and care for Australian cultural heritage collections which are publicly accessible and nationally significant.
Stage one of the program was successfully completed in 2021, with a Significance Assessment of the centre’s collection, while stage two involved engaging professional conservators to assess the condition and storage of significant items in the collection and advise the best methods of conserving each item.
Next year, council can apply for a third stage of funding through the grant program to fund key work by professional conservators including training for volunteers.