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Queenstown - Cities, Towns and Localities

Queenstown landscape.

Queenstown’s is surrounded by bare hills that resemble a moonscape, a legacy of its past copper mining days. Gold and copper were first discovered here in the 1880’s, with mining still continuing today. It is this incredible mining heritage that shapes the town and its surrounding landscape.

No matter which approach you take, either the Lyell or Murchison Highway, your first impression is the starkness of the bare landscape. The original forests had been cut down to fuel the copper smelter, with the resulting sulphur fumes staining the slopes and killing and stunting the remaining vegetation. High rainfall washed away the topsoil, and this combined with bushfires has taken it’s toll.

Queenstown landscape.Today the town retains the atmosphere of the old boom-times, when it use to have a hotel on every corner. The Mount Lyell Mine is still producing copper and there are mine tours available for visitors. There are efforts to encourage new growth on the hills that may one day change the face of the surrounding lunar landscape to some of it’s former glory.

There is a spot of Rainbow Trout fishing in the nearby Lake Burbury. Drop into the Galley Museum with its comprehensive collection of West Coast pioneering life and times. You can take a leisurely tour and wander around the region exploring some of the past history , then hop on to the restored Abt Railway to relive the journey of the cargo as it winds its way to Strahan.

Queenstown landscape.

The Mount Lyell Mine - The Iron Blow.

The Mount Lyell Mine - The Iron Blow
This ground was first pegged by Mick and Bill MacDonough and Steve Karlson in November 1883 in their search for gold. The lease was worked for gold with limited success until it was recognised as a copper mine and bought by Bowes Kelly and William Orr in 1891. In March 1893 they formed the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company Limited. A lucky bonanza of high grade silver ore was a major factor in financing Mount Lyell while the copper smelter and the railway to Strahan were built. From 1893 to 1895, 849 ton of ore was sold assaying 21% copper and 1,023 oz of silver per ton. Subsequently The Blow was worked until 1929 and yielded 5,497,468 ton of ore assaying 12% copper, 2 oz silver per ton and 0.065 oz gold per ton. Commemorating the Lyell District Centenary November 1983

Queenstown landscape.
Check out our listing for Queenstown accommodation and West Coast accommodation. In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

Information Centre

West Coast Visitor Information Centre - Strahan

Parks and Wildlife Service - Queenstown

Queenstown Attractions

Abt Wilderness Railway
• Driffield St, QUEENSTOWN TAS 7467
The original steam railway was built by the Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company to transport ore and supplies between Queenstown and Strahan. When the price of copper collapsed in 1963, the railway was abandoned.

Today the historic Abt Wilderness Railway has been restored offering visitors a breath-taking journey along 34 kms through the King River Gorge, stopping occasionally at walkways for a closer view of the forests and river.

The steam train departs from Queenstown and Strahan Railway Stations, being Australia’s only rack and pinion railway. This is a unique journey through the world-renowned rugged western coastline, a journey through pristine wilderness areas on 1:16 gradient and crossing 40 original restored bridges.

Bronze Sculptured Monument
The 21 bronze sculptured plaques mounted on conglomerate boulders as a monument at Miners Siding were built to celebrate over 100 years of mining.
The Iron Blow.The Iron Blow
Drive to the Iron Blow, scene of the original ore strike.

Galley Museum
• Driffield St, QUEENSTOWN TAS 7467
• Ph: 03 6471 1483 • Fax: 03 6471 1483
Browse through the comprehensive collection of West Coast pioneering life and times. There is a large collection of photos, household appliances, china, silverware, work place, sporting and social club memorabilia. Open 7 days a week.

Lake MargaretLake Margaret Power Station
Built by the Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company, the Lake Margaret Power Station began operating in 1914, providing electricity for company mines and associated townships.

The lake itself is located up on Mount Sedgwick. The catchment area is only 20 square km, but rainfall in the region is high. Once the 200 metre long dam was built it raised the level of the original lake some six metres.

In 1985 the Lake Margaret Scheme was brought by Hydro Tasmania, with a leasing agreement allowing the Mt Lyell Mine to continue operating the power station until the mines closure in late 1994.

Hydro Tasmania was to then announce the closure of the power station from 1 July 2006, after the result of a decision to decommission the 68 year old wooden pipeline that takes the water from Lake Margaret to the power station. The operation and maintenance of the pipeline are no longer viable due to its age and condition.
Source: Hydro Tasmania Other Power Stations - Lake Margaret Power Station
Scenic Drive
There is a scenic drive that takes you through Pioneer’s Cemetery, the Bird River and the ghost town of Pillinger at Kelly’s Basin on the banks of Macquarie Harbour.
Spion Kopf
Visit the rhododendron garden at the top of Spion Kopf, used during times of war as a lookout. From here you can enjoy panoramic views overlooking the township, mine and mountains.

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Queenstown Tours

TAS ToursOutback  • EcoAdventureNational Tours
Mount Lyell Mine Tours
 Underground and surface mine tours operating daily. The one hour surface tour of the famous 107 year old Mt Lyell Copper mine is a great introduction to Queenstown. There is a 5 km down the main decline to a depth of 250 m below sea level tour.

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Queenstown Other links

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