Blair Athol Coal Mine

Useful Information

Location: Blair Athol, 22 km north of Clermont. Meet at the Tourist Office in Capella Street.
Open: All year Tue, Fri 8:45. [2004]
Fee: free [2004]
Classification: MineCoal Mine open pit
Light: n/a
Guided tours: D=4.5 h.
Address: Blair Athol Mine Access Road, Clermont, Queensland 4721, Tel: +61-7-4983-3001.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1864 coal first discovered.
1916 flood claimed 65 lives.
1973 oil price crisis triggers search for alternative energy providers.
1980 long term contract to Japanese power generating utilities signed.
1984 first coal produced.


Blair Athol mine is named after Blair Athol station, a historic grazing property owned and named by sheep farmer James McLaren, in honour of his Scottish birthplace. The coal was already found nearly 150 years ago, but it took 100 years until its value became exploitable.

Eastern Australia is structured in basins which were formed during the Permian. At this time some 260 million years ago an abundance of plant life produced biogenic sediments interchanged with silt and sandstones. The Blair Athol coalfield is located within an isolated sedimentary basin formed on a stable shelf of metamorphic rock. This is the western margin of the Bowen Basin in Central Queensland.

There are four coal seams at Blair Athol which are mined, numered from top to bottom. No 1 seam is about 7.5 m thick and is already completely mined. No 2 seam averages only 1.2 m in thickness and is presently not mined. At the moment all coal is mined from No 3 seam. It averages 29 m in thickness, with a maximum thickness of 32 meters in the south-west. This is an extremely thick seam, as most coal mines have seams of five meters or less. It makes the mine very productive and profitable. Seam No 4 is broader than any seam above and between three and five meters thick. This is an interesting reserve for the future.