A tiny historic town full of buildings and memorabilia relating to
the old Ghan railway and overland telegraph. Minerals such as uranium,
lead, zinc and silver have been excavated here and high grade iron ore
was mined from 1966 to 1985. Mining continues as a major town industry.
Location: 248 km south of Darwin on the Stuart Highway.
Pine Creek holds the Gold Rush Festival annually in June, featuring
the local goldpanning championships. The Pine Creek Races are held
annually in May at Pussy Cat Flats Racecourse.
Places of Interest
Mary River roadhouse; Water Gardens; Lake Copperfield; Umbrawarra
Gorge; fossils of shrimps; Railway Precinct and Museum (1888-89) with a
1877 Beyer Peacock steam locomotive; National Trust Museum (Overland
Telegraph Line Repeater Station); Ah Toy's Bakery (1908); Pine Creek
Chinatown; Enterprise Pit mine lookout; Miners Park
Next door to the Pine Creek Pub is the famous Maysie's Cafe. With
decor inspired by 1950s American diners, walls adorned with pictures of
classic Hollywood glamour, and the shirt Leonardo De Caprio wore in
Romeo and Juliet, this charming little pit-stop serves delicious mango
Mine Lookout is accessed via a steep bitumen road close to the
centre of town. This lookout gives a panoramic view of the Enterprise
Pit which is an open cut mine, now full of water to the depth of 135
meters. It began as the Enterprise Shaft in1906 and was worked
intermittently until 1985 when Pine Creek Goldfields developed the open
cut mine. During the 10-year life span of the goldfields mine 764,000
ounces of gold were extracted. Old Chinese mine shafts can also be
viewed at the top of the lookout. Sunset views are spectacular from
this vantage point.
Lake Copperfield is 6km from Pine Creek. It is a cool deep lake,
ideal for swimming, with a shady picnic area, toilets and large parking
area. No dogs allowed.
Pine Creek Railway Station Museum is located in the original railway
station building which was built in 1888 and served as a communications
centre until 1976. On display are historic photos’ maps and
memorabilia depicting the North Australian Railway. Check locally for
opening times, gold coin donation for entry.
Next to the station is the 1877 Beyer Peacock locomotive which is
restored as a “Centenary of Federation” project by the Pine
Creek Community Government Council, believed to be the oldest restored
locomotive in Australia. It operated between Darwin and Pine Creek from
1915 until it was decommissioned in 1945.
The National Trust Museum building in Pine Creek was originally
erected on the Goldfields at Burrundie in 1888 and was moved to Pine
Creek in 1913. It has been the home of a mining warden, a
doctor’s residence, clinic and dispensary. During the war, it was
taken over as a military hospital. In the late 1940’s it was used
as a post office and telephone exchange.
The building is now an excellent museum of local history and also houses the library which offers public internet access.
Grove Hill Hotel: The Grove hill Historic licensed hotel and
museum is located on the old railway line that ran between Larrimah and
Darwin. It contains many historic artifacts and is a great place for
birdwatchers. It is located on the Northern goldfields Loop which runs
between the Stuart Hwy north of Emerald Spring’s and Kakadu
Highway south of Pine Creek. Camping and accommodation is available.
The Miners Park at Pine Creek is located next to the Railway Station
and the old Station Master’s residence. It houses historic mining
machinery from old mines in the Pine Creek area. Interpretive signs and
displays give a comprehensive picture of life on the goldfields and the
history of mining in the region. It is the venue for the Australia day
festivities and local goldpanning championships held each year.