Graphics showing the timeline milestones for the State Coal Mine

Project status 

Parks Victoria will deliver this project in stages of complex technical works packages following an unsuccessful public tender for a lead design consultant. Planning and procurement activities for the first stages of works including technical site investigations are underway.

The above timeline is a projection and subject to assessments, on-ground and construction industry conditions. It will be updated with more detail as the project progresses. 

Last updated: April 2024


The project

The State Coal Mine at Wonthaggi operated from 1909 until 1968, producing almost 17 million tonnes of coal for Victoria's industries and railways.

Today, it's a unique visitor attraction in Gippsland - the only historic coal mine experience in the southern hemisphere. Managed by Parks Victoria, the mine precinct is a heritage site that offers self-guided tours for the public, alongside a Visitor Centre and museum.

During 2020, engineering inspections revealed the rail “drift car” used to carry people out of the mine, and the track it runs on, no longer met modern safety standards. The drift car is a specially adapted mine cart, the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere. It was enjoyed by more than 10,000 people a year.

In July 2023, funding of $1.5 million was announced to restore the drift car and reopen the underground tours at the mine.

A group of children on a tour in the State Coal Mine.


Project benefits


Since first opening to the public in 1983, a visit to the mine on a school trip or holiday has been a childhood highlight for many Victorians. Restoring the underground tours will return a valuable visitor experience to the State Coal Mine.

Local community

The town of Wonthaggi grew up around the mine and it remains a very significant part of the community. More than 120 local volunteer members of the Friends of the State Coal Mine regularly maintain the grounds and buildings, run guided tours, and serve customers in the shop. Former miners, many in their late eighties and nineties, also volunteer.

Victorian heritage

This project will help restore a part of this heritage site, which remains just as it was in its working days. Parks Victoria is responsible for managing the state’s largest and most diverse collection of heritage places on public land.


Project funding

The Department of Environment Energy and Climate Action (DEECA) is investing $1.5 million to will restore the famous mine and reopen underground tours.


Who are we working with?

We're working with the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action to deliver this project.  


Putting safety first

Visitor safety is our number one priority when considering risk in parks. While nature will always be unpredictable, our projects and maintenance works help minimise risks and help people explore the great outdoors safely. Parks Victoria is responsible for continuously managing and maintaining over 50,000 pieces of infrastructure across the state annually. 

We’re also delivering new projects to help visitors get into nature. These are thoroughly planned and prepared to keep people and projects separate – and safe. When visiting a park where projects are happening, especially during construction, it’s important that people follow the direction of signs, stay out of fenced and restricted areas, and listen to Parks Victoria staff and work crews.


Access changes

Underground tours are currently unavailable at the State Coal Mine.

There are no access changes due to the works associated with this project.

Anyone planning visits to parks, reserves and heritage sites should first visit the Parks Victoria website, to check for any changed conditions.


Related information



Why were the underground tours closed? 

In 2020 engineering inspections revealed the rail “drift car” used to carry people into the mine, and the track it runs on, no longer met modern safety standards. Underground tours have been unavailable since then.

When will the tours re-open? 

Parks Victoria will reopen walk-in, walk-out tours while the drift car works progress. Walking tours are scheduled to re-commence in mid-2024.

When will the project start/finish? 

This is a complex project in a unique setting. Subject to assessments, heritage permits, on-ground construction conditions, testing and certification, the project is expected to be completed in late 2024 or early 2025.

By using our site you accept that we use and share cookies and similar technologies with certain approved third parties. These tools enable us to improve your website experience and to provide content and ads tailored to your interests. By continuing to use our site you consent to this. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information.