Zeehan is about 40 km from Strahan. It’s a very good road, and there’s a nice lookout along the way where you can see the coastline with that view to South America on one side, and the spectacular mountainscape of Mt Heemskirk, Mt Agnew and Mt Zeehan on the other.
Zeehan is in one of Tasmania’s early mining areas, dating back to the 1880s when deposits of silver and lead were discovered, and got its name from one of Abel Tasman’s ships, the Zeehaen, which, if you are familiar with the Dutch language, means ‘sea hen’. (That’s something I didn’t know before.)
It’s also the birthplace of my grandmother (daughter of my great-great grandfather of the Dunalley Hotel fame), and her father worked at the Post Office in Zeehan in the 1890s and 1900s.
We went to the West Coast Pioneers Museum, which I thought was going to be focused mainly on mining – which is true – but there was so much more to see in there. The West Coast Heritage Centre incorporates several old buildings on the Main Street, including the restored Gaiety Theatre, the police station and court house, and the Freemasons Lodge, all of which are open to museum visitors. The Freemasons Lodge is set up to give visitors a glimpse of how the Lodge operated, which was particularly interesting.
The museum also includes a display of classic cars, some wonderful old trains and a replica underground mine. It was well worth the cost of admission and was one of the highlights of our trip.
|Part of the underground mining display|
|Zeehan Court House with Magistrate Juniordwarf & defendant Slabs|
|Zeehan Police Station|
|Another one that required some explanation for Juniordwarf|
|Old school desk|
|Mt Lyell map camera (I would love a setup like this to take photos of my layouts...)|
|Steering wheel of an old Plymouth|
|Byer-Peacock train 1902 (these ran in Tasmania 1884-1961)|
|Zeehan Post Office|
|Zeehan Main Street with the Gaiety Theatre in the foreground|