The Herberton Mining Museum has much to see, including working mining exhibits and interactive displays, scale models, tin panning and several significant mineral collections. Our resident “Tommy Knocker” introduces you to the museum. (A Tommy Knocker is a legendary being who lived in mines and warned the miners of an impending danger by knocking on the walls, or played tricks on them if displeased). Visit our seven indoor themed rooms, one of which houses the Roger Taylor Collection, which is possibly the largest tin collection in the world. (Scroll down for more information on the rooms). While in our courtyard, you can pan for tin, pump your own water and use a hand drill to make holes for your explosives. There’s an array of replica mining equipment waiting to be discovered. Look up, look down and search every corner. Push our buttons and crank our handles! This Museum is an explorer’s dream. Download a copy of the Museum Map.
Here you will find a one-twelfth scale model of a tin mining dredge, which fulfilled the dream of its initiator Lionel Bowden. Lionel completed his apprenticeship working on the dredge and when he retired he decided to construct a model of the real thing. Press its buttons and see it working!
This is the first room you will see on entering the Herberton Mining Museum. It tells a story of how the age of metals began, leading up to the timeline for the discovery of tin at Herberton. Large kibble bucket display is below a mine poppet frame. There’s much to see, read and learn here.
The ‘Glow in the Dark’ Fluorescent Minerals room is popular with people of all ages. Did you know specific minerals take in UV light and re-transmit visible light? Prospectors were aware of this and as far back as the 1950s they used hand held UV lamps to ‘see’ rocks in the dark.
Herberton is the mining town that grew to service the tinfields and has a fascinating social history. The Herberton Room includes a Builders Display, ANZAC information as well as school and hospital information. It also has the 1928 McBride’s mineral collection.
This room shows examples of both parts of the tin ore processing process. This first is extracting the pure oxide free from the rock materials in which it is contained. The second is a smelting process to obtain the pure metal free from the oxide. This room also features an interactive model.
Outside in the courtyard, you can pan for tin, pump your own water and use a hand drill to make holes for your explosives. This is the place where you can really get a good understanding of just how physically demanding it was to be a tin miner back in the day. All ages will enjoy this space.
Everything we have and use comes from natural resources. In the Mining Room you will find information about alluvial and hard rock mining. There’s a detailed steam boiler model by Con Auer, as well as several other displays. To see machinery still in situ, take a short walk up to the original Great Northern Mines.
Often left uncelebrated, the work of women on the mineral field was essential. Not so much as miners, but as companions, strength, family and home makers, all contributing to some stability in what could often prove a transient income earning industry.
A Mining Museum must have a mineral display! Our museum houses several private collections in its Minerals Room, including the Roger Taylor tin specimen display which is possibly the largest in the world. Also see Bob Camp’s collection of agates, geodes and minerals.
© Herberton Mining Museum History Association 2023