An industrial town, Wonthaggi's commercial activities have been
centred around coal mining, pastroral and agricultural industries.
Location: 130 km south east of Melbourne on the Bass Highway.
Wonthaggi Visitor Information Centre
73 Watts Street, Wonthaggi, Victoria 3995
Ph: (03) 5671 2444 / 1300 854 334
State Coal Mine: the only
historic coal mine experience in the Southern Hemisphere, offering
interactive fun and interest for the whole family both above and below
ground. The State Coal Mine offers a journey back in time to discover
what life working in a coal mine was like in the 1900s. Visitors can
venture underground through the dark network of tunnels to get hands-on
at the coal face and learn how Victoria’s hard working men
extracted the black gold.
Location: West Area Rd, Wonthaggi. Ph 13 1963.
Bass Coast Rail Trail:
follows the path of the Anderson to Wonthaggi railway line, built
primarily to serve the State Coal Mine but the line also provided
passenger and general goods services. The line was opened in 1910 and
closed in 1978. The 16 km long trail starts from Anderson station and
heads towards the coast downhill to Kilcunda, then along coastal sand
dunes into the open farmland surrounding Wonthaggi. It finishes shortly
after the former Wonthaggi Station. The rail trail at Kilcunda is built
on the coastal sand dunes and incorporates a landmark trestle bridge
over Bourne Creek. Path users have panoramic scenic views of the Bass
Strait coast and the Wonthaggi Wind Farm that was erected during 2005.
Origin of name: of Aboriginal origin, meaning to drag or to pull along,
possibly referring to the action of the miners as they brought the coal
out of the mines.
Bunurong Marine and
Coastal Park (7.5 km south): The broad rock platforms and underwater
reefs of Bunurong Marine Park near Cape Paterson support a remarkable
range of habitats, containing a diverse array of plants and animals.
There are a number of good spots to snorkel in the park such as Flat
Rocks with its profusion of large rock pools and The Caves which has a
large pool opening out to the sea that is accessible at low tide.
Brief history: the brown coal deposits of Gippsland were first
discovered in 1824 by Hamilton Hume and William Hilton Hovell at nearby
Cape Paterson. Wonthaggi sprang to life in 1909 when the Victorian
Government, which had been using coal from Newcastle, NSW, averted the
effects of a miner’s strike by quickly developing the
state’s own coal mines at Wonthaggi.
Wonthaggi began as a tent town, the temporary accommodation for the
thousands of miners being converted to more permanent dwellings as time
and money allowed. A railway to remove the coal was quickly put through
in 1909. The State Coal Mine was finally worked out in 1981 and the
landscaped site is now run as a museum.