||This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2010)|
|Elevation||52 m (171 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Bass Coast Shire|
Wonthaggi // is a town located 132 kilometres (82 mi) south east of Melbourne via the South Gippsland and Bass Highways, in the Bass Coast Shire of Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. The town, known originally for its coal mining, is now the regional service centre for tourism, beef and dairy industries, and at the 2006 census, it had a population of 6,529.
Coal was discovered by explorer William Hovell at Cape Paterson in 1826, and was subsequently mined from the Powlett River fields in the region, between 1859 and 1864. However transporting the coal by whale boat through the surf to larger ships anchored offshore proved costly and dangerous and mining activity was soon curtailed.The coastal sands off Wonthaggi occasionally uncover the remains of ships wrecked along the coast.
A tent city was established adjacent to the Powlett River, on what were then known as the Powlett River Coalfields. The tent city had no permanent buildings and healthcare was provided by a Dr Sleeman, who was later instrumental in establishing a permanent hospital in the township of Wonthaggi, proclaimed in 1910.
Much of the coal for the colony of Victoria was sourced from Newcastle and the Hunter Region in New South Wales, along with local supplies from private and co-operative coal mines at Outtrim, Jumbunna and Korumburra in Gippsland. After the 1909-1910 strike by coal miners in the Hunter Valley, the Victorian state government were determined to ensure stability in local supplies of coal. The State Coal Mine and the town of Wonthaggi came into being in 1910 to supply coal for the steam trains in Victoria. At its peak in 1926 the mine produced 2,435 long tons (2,474 t) per day, with Victorian Railways buying 90% of production. In 1928, Wonthaggi coal accounted for around 60% of Victorian Railways coal consumption.
The Post Office had opened on 11 November 1887 in a rural area. On 1 August 1910 this office was renamed St Clair and on the same day Powlett Coal Mine PO, opened earlier that year, was renamed Wonthaggi.
In 1911 miners formed the Wonthaggi Co-operative Workmen's Club, a social club with 300 members and a membership fee of 10 shillings. Miners were also prominent in establishing the local hospital, friendly society dispensary, union theatre, and a co-operative store, and in supporting miners in New Zealand in the 1912 Waihi miners' strike. Mining continued for 59 years, extracting 17 million tonnes of coal from 12 separate mines. The State Coal Mine closed in 1968 and is now operated by Parks Victoria as a visitor experience, with a well-presented museum. The Union theatre slowly fell into disrepair following the closure of the mines, and in the late 1980s it was destroyed by fire in suspicious circumstances. It was one of the last buildings associated with the mining era in the town. The Miners' Union donated the land where the Union Theatre had stood to the council, on the condition that any building erected on the site should perpetually bear the name "Union". It is now the site for the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre, which also houses the local library.
The Wonthaggi Desalination Plant (also referred to as the Victorian Desalination Project) is a water desalination plant on the Bass Coast near Wonthaggi, completed in December 2012. The plant is an integral part of Victoria's water system, supplying water via a series of existing and proposed pipelines.
In 2005 the Wonthaggi Wind Farm was built near the town. The Bass Coast Shire Council was opposed to the wind farm along with local residents. Protesters argued the six turbines would taint the view of Cape Patterson on the trip from Kilcunda to Wonthaggi and would affect the "recreational tourism and landscape values of the coastline". By September 2005 the six towers had been built, but the turbines had not commenced operation, but were themselves a tourist attraction. The wind farm, now operational, generates power up to 80% of the time, providing electricity for up to 6000 homes.
The town has many large chain stores including both major supermarkets and the largest independent. Major Stores Include
- Woolworths Supermarket
- Coles Supermarket
- Ritchies Supermarket
- Aldi supermarket
- Target (Previously Target Country, but upgraded to a full line store when moved to Wonthaggi Plaza in 2012)
- Big W (Refurbished in 2011)
- Bunnings Warehouse (opened 2012)
- Dan Murphys (coming 2012/13)
- Harvey Norman
- McDonalds; KFC; Subway
Golfers play at the course of the Wonthaggi Golf Club on McKenzie Street.
Wonthaggi has its own Hospital
- State Coal Mine - (Garden Street)http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/1park_display.cfm?park=189
- Cape Paterson - 8 km south.
- Wonthaggi-Bass Valley Agricultural Show - January.
- Bass Coast Rail Trail
- Wonthaggi Human Powered Grand Prix, held annually at the Recreation Complex in March. This event began in 1998 and now has around 80 teams in the main race each year. It was, until 2012, accompanied with the Energy Innovation Festival.
- James Phelan (author)
- Ian Harvey (Australian cricketer)
- Darren Berry (Victorian cricketer)
- Jarryd Blair (Collingwood footballer)
- Angus McLaren (actor)
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Wonthaggi (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
- Wonthaggi Genealogy Inc., retrieved 2010-04-04
- Museum Victoria, http://museumvictoria.com.au/railways/theme.aspx?lvl=3&IRN=505&gall=692, retrieved 2012-01-04 Missing or empty
- Lee, Robert (2007). The Railways of Victoria 1854-2004. Melbourne University Publishing Ltd. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-522-85134-2.
- "RAILWAYS ADMINISTRATION.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 13 July 1928. p. 13. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
- Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 2008-04-11
- Council admits defeat in wind turbine fight. 06/09/2005. ABC News Online
- Golf Select, Wonthaggi, retrieved 2009-05-11
- A Gippsland Union - the Victorian Coal Miners Association 1893-1915, P.D. Gardner, (2003), ISBN 1-875254-33-1
|Wikivoyage has travel information related to: Wonthaggi|