Torbanlea

Torbanlea is one of the small historic towns found on the road to Bundaberg.

Location: Torbanlea is 25 minute drive from Hervey Bay, 25 km north-west of Maryborough.

The Burrum Mining Museum has 11 buildings housing 4400 items of memorabilia, providing an insight into the history of the area, when coalmining was the industry driving the local economy.

Visitors to Torbanlea can experience the atmosphere of a country race meeting at the Torbanlea race track, when residents from throughout the district flock to the small town. Several race meetings are held throughout the year.

Lenthalls Dam off the Bruce Highway near Torbanlea is a fishing and boating paradise. It's a great place for the whole family and worthwhile if you are keen on freshwater fishing. (You'll need a fishing permit)

History

Coal was discovered near Torbanlea in the late 1860s, and a shaft was unsuccessfully excavated and abandoned in 1871. In 1882 James Robertson, an experienced mine engineer from Scotland, correctly guessed that payable coal would be found south of the Burrum River coalfield. It is thought that the name Torbanlea was given by Robertson who had worked the Torbane Hill mineral estate in West Scotland. In August 1884 the Torbanlea Colliery Company was floated to reach a profitable deep coal seam.


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The company built cottages for miners, subdivided land for 80 house lots, and in a few years there were the Cosmopolitan Hotel, a railway station (1883), an evangelical hall, a primary school and 300 people (1887). The Miners Arms Hotel opened in 1889. The Torbanlea Colliery successfully operated until an explosion killed several miners in 1900.

Profitable operations resumed in the 1920s and expanded to the Burgowan coal mines about six km north east of Torbanlea. A tramway connected Burgowan to the Torbanlea rail yard, and the Burgowan colliery ran successfully into the postwar years.

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