Beaconsfield, Tasmania

Beaconsfield, Tasmania

Infobox Australian Place | type = town
name = Beaconsfield
state = tas

caption = Location of Beaconsfield
lga = West Tamar Council
postcode = 7270
est =
pop = 1,007
maxtemp =
mintemp =
rainfall =
stategov = Lyons
fedgov = Lyons
dist1 = 239
dir1 = N
location1= Hobart
dist2 = 42
dir2 = NW
location2= Launceston
dist3 = 6
dir3 = S
location3= Ilfraville

Beaconsfield (Pron-en-au|bikənsfild) is a town near the Tamar River, in the north-east of Tasmania, Australia. It lies 40 kilometres north of Launceston on the West Tamar Highway, and has a population of 1,007(2001 census.cite web | year = 2005 | url = | title = Population Distribution | work = State of the Environment Tasmania: Indicators | publisher = Tasmanian Resource Planning and Development Commission | accessdate = 2006-05-09] ) It is part of the Municipality of West Tamar.


The area around Beaconsfield was first explored by Europeans in 1804 when William Paterson led an expedition to Port Dalrymple and established a settlement at York Town. Settlement of Beaconsfield itself, then known as Brandy Creek", did not occur until the 1850s. Limestone mining led to the discovery of gold in 1869. Gold mining began in 1877 and the area's population boomed. The town was named Beaconsfield in 1879 in honour of Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the time. The town was formerly known as 'Brandy Creek'. In 1881, the Beaconsfield newspaper was called the "Beaconsfield Tickler".cite web | year = 2004 | url = | title = Welcome to Beaconsfield | work = Tasmania's Tamar Valley | publisher = Tamar Valley Tourist Information | accessdate = 2006-05-09] In 1953, Beaconsfield was the first town in Australia to fluoridate the water supply.cite book | editor = Editors: Graham Aplin, S.G. Foster and Michael McKernan | title = Australians:Events and Places | year = 1987 | publisher = Fairfax, Syme & Weldon Associates | location = Sydney, NSW, Australia | id = ISBN 0-521-34073-X | pages = page 366 | chapter = Tasmania ]

Gold mining at Beaconsfield

Underground mining began in 1879 with the sinking and development of three main shafts to access the reef: the "Hart Shaft", the "Main Shaft" and the "Grubb Shaft". [cite web | url = | title = History of Gold at Beaconsfield | work = Company Profile | publisher = Beaconsfield Gold NL | accessdate = 2006-05-09]

Beaconsfield became the richest gold town in Tasmania. In 1881 there were 53 companies working the field. These were all absorbed by the owners of the "Tasmania mine".

The gold mine closed in 1914 due to regular flooding of the shafts but re-opened in 1999 with mixed success. To 1914, the mine was worked to a depth of 450 metres and produced 800,000 ounces of gold. In 1982, the "Grubb Shaft Gold & Heritage Museum" was established, with displays relating to the former gold mining era operating since 1984. [cite web | url = | title = Grubb Shaft Gold & Heritage Museum | publisher = Beaconsfield Gold NL | accessdate = 2006-05-09]

During the 1970s exploration drilling confirmed that the reef continued at least another 200 metres below the old workings. By 1991 the old Hart Shaft collar had been re-established and water pumped out to 160 metres deep. The project was suspended until 1992 when the mine's owners changed. Deep drilling resumed in 1993 to review the resource estimates and, from 1994, the "Beaconsfield Mine Joint Venture" has carried out drilling of the depth extension of the Tasmania Reef. A permanent stage pumping station 181 m below ground has been lowering the water in the shaft since August 1995. The permanent winder and head frame were completed in January 1996 and the shaft finished in late 1996. An ore treatment plant was built during the 1999/2000 financial year.cite web | url =,36481&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL | title = Beaconsfield Gold | work = Tasmania's Mines | publisher = Mineral Resources Tasmania, Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources, State Government of Tasmania | accessdate = 2006-05-09]

In the financial year 2004/05, 240 685 tonnes of ore was produced from which 3890 kilograms of gold was extracted.

In 2006 the participants in the unincorporated Beaconsfield Mine Joint Venture (BMJV), which operates the Beaconsfield Mine, are the Allstate group (asx|ALX) with a 51.51% interest and the Beaconsfield Gold group (asx|BCD) with a 48.49% interest. Allstate is Manager of the BMJV, and the BMJV Mine Manager and all personnel reporting to him are employed by Allstate. [cite web | year = 2006 | url = | title = Beaconsfield Gold - BMJV | work = Projects | publisher = Beaconsfield Gold | accessdate = 2006-05-10]

April 2006 Mine Collapse

On Tuesday 25 April 2006, a small earthquake caused a rock fall in the Beaconsfield gold mine. Fourteen miners escaped safely, one miner, Larry Knight, was killed, and the remaining two, Todd Russell and Brant Webb, were trapped in a shaft approximately one kilometre underground. The two trapped miners were found alive five days later on Sunday 30 April. Rescue operations continued for nearly two weeks until the two miners were freed on Tuesday 9 May.

In September 2007, the Foo Fighters released a tribute ("Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners") to the miners on their album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.


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