Wonthaggi

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.

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