Pine Creek – Overview & Things to See and Do
Pine Creek was the site of the Northern Territory’s first goldrush, Gold was discovered while digging holes for the Overland Telegraph Line pylons in 1871, and people rushed in, hoping to pan their way to fortune. Unfortunately the gold was in the rock, not the riverbeds, requiring laborious crushing with heavy stamp batteries – which, for most prospectors, was too much like hard work for unpredictable returns. The mine worked intermittently from 1906 to 1985. In 1985 through to 1995 the location was mined as an open cut pit using modern techniques and producing 764,000 ounces of gold.
The small town of Pine Creek, has retained its colonial appearance. The well maintained historic displays and to some extent its frontier characters, making it a worthwhile stop along the highway. It is also a convenient fuel stop at the southern entrance to Kakadu National Park.
Things to See and Do
Miners Park: houses historic mining equipment collected from old mines in the Pine Creek area. Interpretive signs and displays give a comprehensive explanation of life in the gold fields earlier this century and the history of mining in the region. Well worth a visit
Old Railway Station and Steam Engine: The railway station was built in 1888 and served as a communications centre until 1976. Historic photos, maps and memorabilia depict the North Australia Railway. The steam engine ran from the late 1800’s to 1943 and could pull a 140 Tone load on its run from Darwin to Pine Creek. Today the road trains you pass on the highway weigh in at 125 tonne.
There is a museum and library, which displays the local history in an interactive and thorough way. The building was originally the home of the mining warden and was later taken over by the army as a military hospital, during the war.
Gun Alley Gold Mine: Miners Lookout overlooks the open cut gold pit, which is now filled with water.
Franz Webber Territory – Bonrook Lodge
Franz Webbers Territory is the only wild horse sanctuary in Australia. With 50,000 hectares of ranges and tropical bushland it is the only place in Australia where visitors can watch wild horses in freedom and security. Horse Riding, individual tours and excursions are available on request. The lodge is set in a landscaped tropical garden featuring two swimming pools a fully licenced lounge bar and restaurant.