State Coal Mine restoration
A public tender is currently underway for the design of the drift car refurbishment and associated works.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Underground tours are expected to be up and running again in 2024 or early 2025 - subject to assessments, heritage permits, on-ground and construction industry conditions.
In the meantime, Parks Victoria is investigating whether a walk-in, walk-out tour is possible while the works progress.
When will the project start/finish?
This is a complex project in a unique setting. Subject to assessments, heritage permits, on-ground and construction industry conditions., the project is expected to be completed in late 2024 or early 2025.