QUEENSTOWN HERITAGE & ARTS FESTIVAL 2012:
CENTENARY OF THE NORTH LYELL MINE DISASTER
The biennial Queenstown Heritage & 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. At approximately 10:35am on 12 October 1912, 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 & 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 festival's aim is to create significant social and economic benefits for the west coast of Tasmania, and generate awareness of the value of the arts and culture in growing healthy regional communities.