Emmaville is located 39 km north of Glen Innes and functions as a service centre to a farming, grazing and mining area. Fishing for Murray Cod, Yellowbelly and Trout in the local rivers and fossicking in and around the district for a multitude of minerals makes Emmaville a popular stop along the Fossickers Way.
Emmaville was originally named Vegetable Creek after the Chinese market gardens that supplied the hungry miners who invaded the town when tin was discovered in 1872. It was estimated that in the early 1900s the population was around 7,000, including 2000 Chinese people, who formed a large part of the mining community. In 1872 the name of the town was changed to Emmaville in honour of the, then, Governor General’s wife, Lady Augustus Loftus, whose Christian name was Emma.
Today Emmaville is a quiet little country town with a population of around 300, but their Mining Museum which opened on the 26th June 1999, has made it world renowned. The Museum started as the dream of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Curnow who had the bakery in Emmaville, which closed in 1969. After the closure they used the shop as a small museum for their collection of minerals and photographs. The collection of Mr. & Mrs Curnow was bequeathed to the community of Emmaville with the hope that the town could start a museum.
With the help of the Severn Shire Council a band of volunteers got together and started things rolling. The Severn Shire purchased the old Foley’s Store in Emmaville and the volunteers began remodelling the building to house the Curnow collection. The Museum now houses many other collections of minerals, in addition to over 200 photographs of mines and the people who worked them, some of which date as far back as 1893.
Visit the Emmaville Mining Museum website.
Although Emmaville was known mainly for its tin, there was also two silver mines and one emerald mine. Some of the emeralds are on display at the mining museum in Sydney. Other minerals, namely topaz, arsenic and quartz crystals are still to be found in Emmaville and attracts many fossicking enthusiasts. The Grampian Range, situated 5 kms northwest of Emmaville is noted as one of the richest mineral belts in Australia, with twenty seven known minerals. At one time there were in excess of thirty mines in the Emmaville area.
Emmaville is also famous for an entirely different reason - The Emmaville Panther. Described as as a large black panther or a marsupial lion, it was sighted in February 1958 and on various occasions in the later 1950s and 1960s. The history of sightings, stock kills and mystery tracks goes back decades. As there are no native big cats in Australia, one suggestion is that this beast escaped from a travelling circus whose owner chose not to report the escape. Either way it makes for an interesting story!
Emmaville may only be a small country town but it is the gateway to a wealth of natures’ best attractions.
For more information on Emmaville:
visit the Glenn Innes Website or contact the Glen Innes Visitor Information Centre.