The Great Northern Mines Walk is the signature walk of the Great Northern Fire Trails. It’s also our most popular and frequented trail, with over 5,000 people enjoying it annually. The trail consists of a short figure-of-eight pathway that takes you past the three main mineshafts that contributed the lion’s share of tin ore production which, for decades, was the anchor of Herberton’s economy. The walk starts near the entrance of the Mining Museum carpark, situated in Jacks Road Herberton. This is one of the first freehold blocks on the Tablelands still in its entirety. The walk is 1.3 kilometres long, graded as easy and takes around one hour to complete. Several species of plants on the walk are endemic (native) to Australia. Specimens of two of the plants were collected by Banks and Solander on Captain Cook’s voyage in 1770. There are 24 trees and shrubs identified and marked with interpretive signs which show their common and botanical names.
The walk starts right by the car park of the Herberton Mining Museum. To start turn left and walk 50 metres to first junction. The remains of the caretaker’s cottage destroyed by bush fire in 2001 can be seen from this signpost.
Turn left again and walk 80 metres. On the left you will see the Gully Shaft, the first workings and site of the only on-site fatality. 30 metres on the left hand side you will see remains of a double drum winding winch. Continue on a further 60 metres and you will come to a junction. Turn left. 20 metres on the right you will see the remains of an ore loading ramp.
60 metres further you come to a junction. Turn right. 10 metres on are the Eastern Shaft sheds. These buildings have been destroyed twice: once by a boiler explosion in 1908, secondly by cyclone Larry in 2006. Rebuilt in 2007. One shed houses a Harkness compressor (possibly the only Harkness product surviving in Australia) and a very early and rare 1878 Marshall portable steam engine in good condition.
31 metres on is the No.3 shaft building. This building houses an Ingersoll Rand tandem air compressor and winding gear for the No. 3 Shaft. Past this shed is a 400 foot shaft which joins the Gully Shaft. Keep walking and you return to the carpark.
© Herberton Mining Museum History Association 2023