Visiting the Coal Mines

The Coal Mines Historic Site was Tasmania’s first operational mine, established as a much-needed local source of coal, but also as a place of punishment for the ‘worst class’ of convicts.

Along with the Port Arthur Historic Site, the Coal Mines Historic Site is included in the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property.

A visit to the Coal Mines is a fascinating and rewarding adjunct to any visit to the Port Arthur Historic Site.

Just one part of an epic story

The Coal Mines Historic Site is part of the epic story of the European settlement of Australia.

The Pydairrerme people were the traditional owners of this land. Middens and other cultural sites from many thousands of years of occupation still remain in the area and we ask that visitors assist us in caring for them by not walking on them or picking up any associated material.

The Coal Mines formed part of the system of convict discipline and punishment on the Tasman Peninsula. During its busiest years almost 600 prisoners with their jailers and their families lived and worked at the Mines. While the underground workings are no longer accessible, you may visit the picturesque ruins of houses, barracks, offices and punishment cells.

As you explore this evocative unspoiled landscape, you may catch a faint echo of those long departed men toiling in the dark, and experience something of the isolation and hardship that they endured.


This  convict site is managed by the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) and is another compelling chapter in the story of Tasmania’s convict history. It is also one of the eleven historic places that comprise the Australian World Heritage Convict Sites Property.

PAHSMA undertakes a range of activities to preseve this fragile and special place, including the conservation of landscape and buildings, archaeological surveys and interpretation of its heritage.

The Coal Mines Historic Site embodies a wide range of heritage values.

The Coal Mines is one chapter in the epic story of convicts and transportation in Tasmania

The Coal Mines is one chapter in the epic story of convicts and transportation in Tasmania

Entry and facilities

The Coal Mines Historic Site is open daily. No bookings are required and entry is free. There are toilet facilities at the Site, but it is not staffed.

Disabled access

While the main settlement and Plunkett Point are accessible, the Inclinde Plane and the track up to the Main Shaft are not recommended for those with mobility issues.

Safety on site

The weather in Tasmania is changeable and there are no shelters at the Coal Mines. Be prepared with sun protection, warm clothing, a raincoat or umbrella. For your own safety, we ask you to stay on the paths. The ground is uneven in many places, so sturdy walking shoes are recommended.

Watch out for snakes in the summer months, The ruins are unstable and fragile, so please do not climb on them.

Facilities and precautions

  • Toilets are available at the main car park.
  • There are picnic opportunities but no facilities; bring your own drinking water and all supplies.
  • Please wear comfortable, sturdy footwear, carry a jacket or raincoat and use sun protection.
  • A 300 metre section of track is wheelchair accessible. The rest is a Level 2 walk.
  • Deep shafts and building ruins. For safety, remain behind barriers and supervise children.
  • No pets, metal detectors or firearms.
  • Bicycles must keep to formed roads.
  • Please assist with conservation by not disturbing any building remnants.