“Site of New Zealand's worst mining disaster in history.”
Silence now hangs over the extensive remains of what was once one of New Zealand’s most productive coalmines, today the site houses ruins of coal-mining and coke making structures, including rare beehive ovens. The north and south parts of the site are linked by an impressive 1876 suspension bridge, with interpretative panels explaining the ruins and remains.
Thomas Brunner discovered coal here in the 1840s, but the Industrial Site was not established till 1864 after it was discovered that local Poutini Ngai Tahu were successfully working coal from the area. By the 1880s the Brunner mine was producing more coal than any other in New Zealand. This expansion was due, among other things, to the construction of a direct railway network to Greymouth and the Brunner suspension bridge being built in 1876.
The site is well known for this country’s greatest mining tragedy in 1896, when 65 workers died following a gas and coal dust explosion. A memorial to the disaster, erected for the centennial commemoration, is located on the site, along with ruins of coal-mining and coke making structures. The main mine and industrial site are managed by the Department of Conservation.
The historical remains showcase the variety of industries that once prospered at Brunner. The beehive coke ovens, in particular, are of international significance in that few examples of them remain today. The rebuilt suspension bridge over the Grey River enables visitors to explore the northern and southern sites.
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Brunner Mine Historic Area
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