Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre

Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre is nestled in the picturesque Tamar Valley north of Launceston. The beautiful brick mine buildings and ruins that embody the history of the site date back to the first years of the 20th Century and form a striking foreground to views of the iconic headframe and Heritage Centre.

Over 40,000 visitors a year explore the remarkable mine ruins and museum. It’s the best way to truly experience the history of the site and discover the stories of the people who lived and worked in Beaconsfield and the surrounding Tamar Valley. Their stories are told through evocative exhibitions and thousands of artefacts, lovingly curated, catalogued and housed on the 2 hectare site.

One inspiring local was Dorothy Gibson, whose story reflects many experiences common to women of her time, but so often left untold today.

Dorothy was born in Slough, England, in 1860. It is believed her family fell on hard times after the loss of her father. In the early 1880s, Dorothy was working as a teacher in a workhouse, a grim institution for the poor and destitute. Emigrating in 1882, she arrived in Launceston, seeking new opportunities in the colony.

When teaching work proved elusive, Dorothy trained as a nurse, ultimately becoming matron of the Beaconsfield Hospital. She married a local man, but he died tragically young and Dorothy had to support her young daughter and elderly mother. For many years she was the postmistress at Beauty Point and for a time, ran a tea room there. Dorothy died in 1927. Dorothy’s legacy lives on in artefacts and ephemera preserved in the museum’s collections.

The Buttermilk Cake and Lemon Cheese are inspired by some recipe notes which were found in an undated address book that belonged to her.

By following the sparse notes for the Buttermilk Cake, a heavy slab cake which needed a long cooking time was the result. Modern methods were introduced to help lighten and aerate the mixture and suit a more contemporary taste, but essentially the cake ingredients stayed true. Happily, the Lemon Cheese recipe was perfect, although the cooking method, “…to sit over fire until thick”, was modified to a double boiler on the stove top! Together the Buttermilk Cake and Lemon Cheese are a serendipitous combination. We hope you enjoy Dorothy’s legacy.


West Street, Beaconsfield TAS 7270
p: 03 6383 1473
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