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Coaltown Museum

Coaltown tells the stories of the Pakeha/European settlers in the Buller District who created economic properity with the mining and export of coal.


The northern Buller Bay and Westport's economy was built on coal extraction from the mountains of Denniston, Stockton and Millerton where daily life was hard work.

The various displays focus on the formation of coal, maritime history, unionism, the communities, transport. It is a colourful and modern museum that brings the past to life and links the past to the present.

On display is a “Q” Wagon used on the world-famous Denniston Incline. This large 8-ton coal wagon is perched at 450 showing the grade of the steepest part of the Incline and the 20-ton brake drum used to slow the wagons as they raced down the Incline.

A simulated underground mine gives you an insight into the working conditions of the miners. Our collections of photographs and objects will paint a picture of the hard daily life, not just for the miners but also the families that called these wild and remote places home.

There was only one practical way to get the “black gold” away from the coast for sale to the world's industries and that was through the port at Westport.

The maritime display shows the attempts to tame the Buller River and turn it into a usable port to get the riches out to the rest of the world. A 2- storey high triple-expansion steam engine from the bucket dredge SS Mawhera is also featured.

Coaltown is an all-weather attraction that appeals to all ages. Coaltown and Westport are your launching pad for exploring the Buller District.

Collection Type
History, Maritime, Technology

Contact Details
Postal address iconP.O.Box 216 Westport 7866
Telephone number icon+64 3 789 6658
Web address iconhttp://www.coaltown.co.nz
Email address iconinfo@coaltown.co.nz

Visitor Information
Physical address icon123 Palmerston St Westport, New Zealand
Hours of operation iconOpen 7 days a week May – September Winter Hours 10am to 4pm weekends and 9am to 5pm weekdays October - April Summer Hours 9am - 5pm 7 days a week
Charges iconAdults $10 Senior Citizens $10 Children 5-16 $2 Ratepayer $5 Family discounts Pre School Free

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