Things To Do In The Outback #3. Historical Township & Mine Tours
Now a ghost town, the remains of the Mount Mulligan township are rich in history. In 1907, coal deposits were discovered underlying the impressive landmark of Mount Mulligan (Ngarrabullgan), 160km west of Cairns. The coal was used largely for the Cairns district railway market throughout the First World War, and while it had been the scene of significant mining activity in the 19th century, by the early years of the 20th century was in severe decline. Sadly, the Mount Mulligan coal mine is the site of Queensland’s worst mining disaster, in 1921 a series of horrifying explosions ripped through the mine and took the lives of 75 coal miners working underground.
Mt Mulligan Lodge offers tours of the derelict remains of the township and coal mine providing an insight into how coal mines operated during that era. The township and mine can be explored by foot or ATV.
Nearby, you can also visit the Tyrconnell Gold Mine, the most famous and richest producers on the Hodgkinson Goldfield. In its heyday of the 1930s, around 100 pax worked at the mine earning about 3 pounds per week (workers lived in nearby Thornborough and Kingsborough townships) – Tyrconnell was the name of the mine itself. The Tyrconnell Gold Mine was fully operational right up until 1942, when 10 families were still making a living from the mine. Then after a Japanese air raid on July 31, 1942, when eight bombs were dropped near Mossman, the remaining families at Tyrconnell decided to flee.
Mt Mulligan Lodge now operates a guided tour of Tyrconnell Gold Mine and the nearby heritage cottage (the Gold Mine is approx. 35 minute drive from the lodge).