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The mining and tourism town of Queenstown throws open its doors on 12 – 14 October and welcomes all Tasmanians to come and explore the West Coast region at the Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival.

The biennial Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival is a hand-crafted program of contemporary arts and cultural activities that are bold, fresh, surprising and fun – events that are fundamentally tied to a sense of place, a rare phenomenon which can’t be seen anywhere else in Tasmania.

The 2012 festival will commemorate a momentous event in Australia’s history when a fire sprang to life in a pumphouse on the 700 ft level within the North Lyell Mine. The flames quickly enveloped the building and produced thick billows of smoke that trapped many workers deep underground. Four days of exhaustive and heroic rescue attempts couldn’t avert the eventual catastrophe, as 42 local men lost their lives within the mine.

One hundred years later the Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival is paying tribute to the disaster by encompassing the anniversary within the festival program, presenting a range of activities that confidently combine the arts with the rich cultural heritage of Queenstown in a way that respects the past and recognises the present and future of our community.

The West Coast Mining Industry is one that supports many Tasmanian’s. The Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival is an event the whole family and your opportunity to visit a special place that has such importance to Tasmania, and commemorate the 1912 North Lyell Mine Disaster where 42 men lost their lives. With over 55 events in 3 days, many free
events, discounted rail rides and discounted underground mine tours, we encourage all Tasmanian’s to come and visit Queenstown and the West Coast of Tasmania” said Festival Coordinator Travis Tiddy.

A highlight of the festival will be the fully decorated Funeral Train which departs Queenstown at 9:15am on Friday, as well as the North Lyell Mine Disaster Commemorative Service held at the Queenstown Cemetery on Friday at 10am.
Travis Tiddy President – Project Queenstown and Festival Coordinator