Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Zeehan TAS


Postcode: 7469

Zeehan is a town on the west coast of Tasmania, Australia. It lies 150 km south-west of Burnie, and has a population of 1132 (1991 census). It is part of the Municipality of West Coast. The town was named by George Bass and Matthew Flinders after Abel Tasman’s brig Zeehaen.

Zeehan was an important railway location — the end of the Emu Bay Railway, and the beginning of the government-owned Strahan-Zeehan Railway service that connected to Strahan and Regatta Point, where the Mount Lyell Railway connected to Queenstown. Also at early stages of the town’s history, a series of timber trams spread out from Zeehan towards the Pieman River as well as a number of other locations.

Some of the smaller railway operations east of Zeehan were unique. One had the honour of having the first Garratt steam engine designed and built for its operations.

After the Government rail connection between Zeehan and Strahan closed, the Mount Lyell Company trucked its copper ore to the Emu Bay Railway terminus at Melba Flats, a few kilometres east of Zeehan.

Tourism features the West Coast Pioneers Museum, which is in the old School of Mines building. The main streetscape of Zeehan is one significant feature of the town.

The Renison Bell tin mine has recently re-opened, but the majority of the town relies on tourism for its survival.

Also economically workable mineral deposits are regularly found in the Zeehan area. In 2004/2005, a new nickel deposit was found and proved west of Zeehan.