Bass Strait Maritime Centre

Tarleton Mines

In the 1840s the Mersey Valley coal deposits were discovered by William Dean and Benjamin Cocker. This led to the first mine being opened in 1851 and many more followed. The Tarleton mines were founded by Welsh miner Zephaniah Williams. Zephaniah had been arrested in the UK on a charge of high treason in connection to the Chartist Riots and sent to Van Dieman’s Land. He was later pardoned with the condition that he wouldn’t return to the UK. Thanks to Zephaniah, Tarleton became a vibrant village and in the late 1850s it had 34 houses, four stores, a police station and three hotels!

Image Credit: Tarleton Coal Mine c.1895, BSMC.2014.1155