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Thames School of Mines & Mineralogical Museum


Interested in mining industry and gold rush era fever, then the Thames School of Mines is a must-go destination.


  • Explore Victorian era school buildings unchanged from their original construction
  • View gold rush extraction machinery, tools and equipment used in the 19th century
  • Become intrigued by the large collection of minerals

Thames School of Mines is part of Heritage New Zealand administered properties … In 1867, gold discoveries on ‘The Thames’ transformed this beautiful part of the Coromandel Peninsula into an international phenomenon attracting thousands of eager gold-seekers from all over the world. It also created what was, by the early 1870s, New Zealand’s most populous town – Thames, made up of Grahamstown and Shortland.

In 1885, Thames became the location of one of 30 national Schools of Mines, opened to stimulate the returns from mining. In 1886, this school moved to its permanent site in a former Wesleyan Sunday School, on the site of a Māori urupā (burial ground). Additional buildings included the 1888 Experimental Metallurgical Works, and the Mineral Museum built in 1900. The school’s curriculum expanded to embrace agricultural science, pharmacology and other engineering disciplines before it eventually closed in 1954. The Historic Places Trust (now Heritage New Zealand) acquired it in 1979.

Learn more Thames School of Mines

Opening hours

Check beforehand to avoid disappointment. There is an admission fee

This museum is part of the heritage trail in the Coromandel Peninsula. Check the Coromandel Guide for more information.


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