Emmaville Mining Museum

by Gill Oxley

Emmaville Mining Museum is located at 86 Moore Street Emmaville, some 40 kilometres north northwest of Glen Innes. The township of Emmaville was initially known as “Vegetable Creek” due to the large number of market gardens established on the creek flats to provide fresh food for the mining population of the area during the first tin boom. Many of the tin miners were Chinese, as were many of the market gardeners.

The museum opened on June 26, 1999 and, although auspiced by Glen Innes Severn Council, is entirely volunteer managed and operated. It occupies the premises of the former Foley’s General Store, but was housed for a time in the premises of the Curnow family bakery which served the township for many decades until its closure in 1969. Today the museum houses not only a world class collection of beautiful local and international mineral specimens, but also showcases records, photographs and artefacts relating to the area’s rich Chinese heritage.

Photographs in the museum’s collection include those of Emmaville Chinese families such as George Sue Fong’s and that of Henry Chinglin Lee. We now know that Chinese tin miners working on the tribute system were an important part of the town’s mining history, and the museum contains rare mining photos which evidence this. Two items of particular interest are an 1896 list of numerous Chinese subscribers to the Vegetable Creek Hospital fund and the 1893 Telfer’s Butcher Shop ledger showing Ah Hing, Ah Lin, Ah Sam, Pack Shin and Ah Nam as customers of the shop.

Emmaville Mining Museum is open from 10 am until 4 pm weekdays and weekends, but closed on Thursdays and on public holidays.

For more information visit https://emmavilleminingmuseum.com/

Inside Emmaville Mining Museum
Inside Emmaville Mining Museum (c) Emmaville Mining Museum, 2021.
Emmaville Mining Museum photo display
Part of the Museum’s extensive collection of historical photographs (c) Emmaville Mining Museum, 2021.
Photograph of Henry Chinglin Lee, a prominent Emmaville citizen. From the Museum’s large photograph collection (c) Emmaville Mining Museum, 2021.
Emmaville Mining Museum now occupies the former Foley’s general store (c) Gill Oxley 2016.
Emmaville Mining Museum now occupies the former Foley’s general store (c) Gill Oxley, 2016.