Mining Museum



The  Herberton  Mining Museum and Visitor Information Centre  is built on a part  of  the  original  Reward  Claim  purchased by the men who discovered payable tin mineralisation on this site 19th April, 1880.

It was fortuitous for Herberton, Cairns and North Queensland, that this discovery occurred just as the gold fields further north were petering out, leaving a struggling  economy and destitute miners in their wake. Herberton was a Godsend.

The  Great Northern Mine, as it was named, developed rapidly. First, the surface and easily worked outcrops were stripped of tin ore. Then  shafts  were  sunk to  work  deeper deposits.

The first was the Gully Shaft which at one stage was powered by a horse whim. The Eastern Shaft followed quickly and ultimately reached a depth of 600 feet (200 metres). The No. 3 Shaft began in 1907.   However, the whole claim is pock-marked by smaller shafts driven to follow tin wherever it occurred.

Much of the original haulage machinery is still here at the shaft heads. Some items are the only known examples of their kind in  Australia. All can be seen on a short  interpreted walk on the site.

The Herberton Mining Museum seeks to present and interpret to visitors information about the Great Northern site, the history of tin mining in the district and how the town of Herberton developed.

The Mining Museum has participated in the Museum & Gallery Services Queensland Standards Program 2011.

Inside the Museum

  • Information:

    The reception area has a range of brochures, maps and souvenirs for the visitor. Helpful volunteers give that friendly touch.

  • Metals Room:
    Tells a story of how the age of metals began, leading up to the timeline for the discovery  of  tin  at  Herberton.

  • The Mining Room:

    Some information about alluvial and hard rock mining. Larger mining equipment can be visited on a walk outside the Musuem

  • The Herberton Room:

    Vignettes of information about Herberton, the mining town that grew up to service the tinfields.

  • The Minerals Room:
    A Mining Museum must have a mineral display!  The Museum has several collections for your inspection.


  • Theatrette:

    The Museum also has a small theatrette where multi-media presentations can be shown. It is also used for informative  lectures  thus  keeping  alive  an old miners’  tradition of learning.

    There is also a Documents and Research Room aimed at collecting, preserving, and making available for study, documents about Herberton and tin mining. Many of these have been donated to the Musuem.

Outside the Museum

Gordon Gardens

Explorers Way

Risley Sculpture

The mine site

A short walk along formed tracks outside the Museum takes you past the relics of the mines that made up the Great Northern Claim – one of the richest on the tinfield. The surface winding plant is described as ‘the most intact in North Queensland’. The whole of the site is heritage listed.