Heritage & Arts
Coaltown is a newly configured Heritage Experience dedicated to the story of industry and development in this unique Northern West Coast environment and of those who came here in search of a better life. Opened in June 2013 our new Museum will take you on a journey through gold rush days to the settling of the district and the early development of our mining industry, the lifestyle and living conditions of its people, the geology of coal, extraction and transport systems, to port and shipping developments serving our coal and cement industries.
Coaltown is a fantastic all weather attraction that appeals to every age. A great launching pad from which to explore the Buller District.
Colourful, modern displays bring to life coal extraction and transport from wild and remote places such as Denniston, Millerton, Stockton and Seddonville along with the living and working environment of the people who made it happen and called these places home.
Imagine yourself in the homes of those early pioneers, empathise with the women on wash day. Immerse yourself in our country’s earliest union struggles. Imagine a wild incline ride on our Q wagon’s 45 degree decent of the famed Denniston Incline. View the twenty ton braking drum used to control it. A simulated Mine will give you insight into the day by day working environment of a miner.
Our Maritime Display features attempts to tame the mighty Buller River and the construction and working of the port. A three cylinder triple expansion steam marine engine, formally driving the harbour drege SD Mawhera is on display, representative of the steam era that powered our early rail and shipping.
Special interest displays will be featured from time to time complementing our history and heritage offerings. .
Children $2 (5-18yrs)
Pre School Free
Rate Payers $5
Payment Options: Cash, EFTPOS, Credit card
Discounts offered for organised tour groups 10+, please contact us below.
Open 7 days a week
April–November Winter Hours: 10am to 4pm weekends and 9am to 4.30pm weekdays
December–March Summer Hours: 9am–5pm
Address: 123 Palmerston St, Westport
Phone: (03) 789 6658
Take in the short, but vibrant history of Westport with this walking guide – information, historical buildings, historical street views. See the Historical Westport website.
Westport Genealogy & History Group
The Westport Genealogy & History Group collects, and helps researchers find, information on the families and the local history of the Buller District.
Contact our Archivist & Researcher: Trich Devescovi
Phone: (03) 7897479 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit us at Coaltown Museum on a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon after 1 pm.
Palm Street Gallery – Westport Artists Collective
241 Palmerston Street, Westport.
Phone: 03 789-8004
Palm Street Gallery is a community gallery celebrating the creative talent of artists in and around Westport. You will find a wide range of work showcased here. From paintings, wood carving, bone carving, driftwood ‘sculptures’, flax work, beadwork, candles and cards to pounamu jewellery and interesting impressionist painting and sculpture, you are bound to find something to appeal.
The gallery is run by volunteers so opening hours can vary. However, if you spot a ‘must have’ item, there there is a phone number on the door to call and they will happily come and open up the shop for you.
Hector Country Music Museum
Barry and Judy Skinner arrived in the coal mining village of Hector in 2000. Barry, a long time country music musician (dobro, lap steel, guitar) and collector (since 1961) has traveled around the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico playing country music and meeting, collecting, jamming, hunting, treasuring and so much more.
Barry has built this museum with his very capable hands. Entering through the front door the visitors will often stand, jaws dropped and eyebrows raised at the scope, style and sheer volume of country music memorabilia theyre confronted with. Out back is Barry’s studio storerooms of cassettes, vinyl, CD’s, DVD and VCR collections. Every album, tape, CD, DVD is scrupulously recorded, cross referenced and data entried – over 40,000 entries alone on computer – asking how long that took and Barry glibly replies ‘ohh about 3 years’ and thats just the music collection.
Admission: Adult $5. Senior $3.50. Child no charge.
Phone: 03 782 8400
Address: 22 Ives Street, Hector
Back Road, Granity.
Open as required.
Contact 03 429 8500 or 03 782 8664
A dedicated group of volunteers, committed to preserving the local European history of the area, staff the museum during the summer. The museum features the Marion Shovel parts mounted outside and displays inside are continually being added to and improved.
Torea Gallery – Northern Buller Artists Collective
Torea Street, Granity.
Open 7 days in summer from 10am to 4pm.
On display is an array of interesting artisan work, including jewellery, clothing, soaps, candles etc from 30 different artisans and featuring three leading leadlight artists.