Those who follow Think Tasmania via social media would know we’ve been in St Helens this past week, sharing all sorts of goodness from the north east. We had a fabulous time, and now we’re back facing computer screens instead of pristine beaches. Sigh. Thankfully, while we readjust our vision, Len Langan has chimed in with another guest article about Zeehan’s West Coast Heritage Centre. The subject slots-in perfectly with our Queenstown-themed series, just like Len’s other recent piece about Greg Duncan and The Wall in the Wilderness at Derwent Bridge.
Tasmanian Gem: West Coast Heritage Centre
by Len Langan
How does one begin to describe a remarkable museum? The West Coast Heritage Centre at Zeehan is big but we all know that big is not always better. As with people as with so many other things, it is not “size” that matters but “quality” and Zeehan in this collection has something to put it on the “quality must see” map in spades. In my opinion it is the most remarkable and best presented provincial museum in Tasmania and possibly in Australia.
This collection is presented with a flair that makes one instantly feel at home and it certainly makes you want to stay for as long as you possibly can. To Tasmanians and to our many welcome visitors, one highly recommends a visit to this treasure house of wonder, nostalgia and future hopes.
The West Coast Heritage Centre houses a vast crystal and mineral collection, a remarkable and well displayed West Coast photographic exhibition, touching on so many social and academic fields of human interest to take one on a journey that equates to a magic carpet flight to warm the heart and feed the imagination.
Working Class to Grand Dames
Mining machinery, a blacksmith’s and wheelwright’s workshop, classic locomotives and cars, an underground mine simulation and lots more. A Masonic temple, a police court house and then as a crowning glory, the Gaiety Theatre of the Grand Hotel where Dame Nellie Melba once sang and other “greats” have trod the boards. Perhaps Dame Nellie did not sing here but the legend lives on and we like to think that she did as a compliment to a wonderful building and all the wonderful people who still live here.
This remarkable centre opens every day from 9:00am to 5:00pm excepting Christmas Day and Good Friday. It offers a visitors lounge, excellent coffee, an impressive gift shop and a warm welcome. We are all greatly indebted to Phil Vickers and his happy and dedicated team for a first class experience at Zeehan.
As a footnote, Zeehan once had a population of about 10,000 people and was known as “The Silver City” with a two mile long main street.
Len Langan lives in Longford with his wife Jill. They are both passionate about Tasmanian heritage and tourism and things that can be done in this industry. Len writes about Tasmanian history for both The Courier in Longford and the magazine Sagacity, and works with Virtuosi taking music to rural areas.
Photos were supplied to Len Langan by the West Coast Heritage Centre in Zeehan, located at 114 Main Street. Phone (03) 6471 6225 for more information.