The Full Story
The Heart of the Outback, in The Whitsundays, Collinsville is located only 85km west of Bowen. The scenic drive will see you travel through orchards and farmland teeming with wildlife. Far enough away from the tourist hubs to be a country retreat, the close-knit community always offers a friendly and warm welcome to its many visitors.
Collinsville is a mining town. No matter where you look in this small town you are reminded of its mining heritage. There is a memorial statue at the entrance to the United Mineworkers Club (now known as the Collinsville & Scottsville Workers Club) in Railway Road which bears testimony to the miners that have been killed in the district's mines over the years. There is the impressive Coalface Experience Museum at the Workers Club. There are eight murals around town representing aspects of regional coal mining. The entrance to the town boasts an impressive brass statue of a Pit Pony and even the local pub has been renamed the Pit Pony Tavern.
Things to Do
Walking Around The Town
There is a pleasant, and easy, walk from the Pit Pony bronze sculpture, down the main street (Scottsville Road) and around into Railway Road to the Coalface Experience at the Collinsville & Scottsville Workers Club. Along the way there are a number of interesting murals (mostly depicting the role of the Pit Pony in the history of the town), past the pubs in town (notably the Pit Pony Tavern) and past the town's modest memorial to the miners who have died while working underground. There are information signs along the way which recall places such as the Pioneer Picture Palace (built 1923 and operated until 1984) which became a grocery and vegetable store and the Pit Pony Experience Donators Wall (near the bronze Pit Pony).
The Pit Pony Statue
In 2015 meetings were held to raise money to build a bronze statue of the town's last pit pony. Pit ponies hauled empty skips into the bords for the miners to fill, then hauled full skips out to the rail end where a winch rope was hooked onto a string of full skips and then winched to the surface. They also dragged metal sleds full of supplies for the miners all around the pit, pulled electrical boxes into position and delivered rolls of cable and drums of oil. They were eventually retired in 1990. The statue is located on the median strip in Sonoma Street at the entrance to the town.
The Coalface Experience
Located upstairs at the Collinsville & Scottsville Workers Club in Railway Road (you pay your entry at the bar), The Coalface Experience uses a combination of interactive displays, audio-visual exhibits, two theatrettes and historical records, to present visitors with a history of the coal mining industry in Collinsville and an interpretation of the past, present and future of Queensland’s coal mining industry.
By focusing on the lives of individual miners (their recollections are caught on video) it offers a deeply personal insight into the struggles, strikes and the mateship which lie at the heart of this very dangerous and difficult industry. The museum also shows visitors what life was like for the coal miners, both above and below ground in the 1950s.
The museum’s opening coincided with the 50th anniversary of the town’s biggest underground mining disaster, in which seven men were killed in an underground gas explosion on October 13,1954. It honours those men, and 19 others who have also lost their lives on the Collinsville coalfield. For more information tel: (07) 4785 5452.
Historical Display Centre
The Historical Display Centre located at the old hospital building in Garrick Street. The centre's exhibits include memorabilia from the early days of the district (including Mt Coolon); a mining room displaying items used in the early days of underground mining at Scottville and Collinsville; and a huge collection of photographs, donated items, and information. The centre is manned by volunteers on Wednesday mornings and will open at any time upon request. The Historical Society has a collection of small booklets. Information and contacts are available at the Visitor information Centre at the Collinsville Show Grounds.
Turn off the main road from Bowen at Walker Street and then turn into Shrubsole Street and you will reach Miller Street which ascends to the Town Reservoir Hill which offers good views over the town. It is possible to see Mount Devlin to the north, the Leichhardt Ranges to the east, and the Sonoma and Collinsville mines to the south and west.
Collinsville - Scottsville Walkway
If you feel like some exercise there is a 3.7 km tarred walkway which runs beside the road from Collinsville to Scottsville.