The Challenge

Processing Plant 2Proessing Plant at the Irvinebank State Treatment WorksLoudoun Mill (also known as the Irvinebank State Treatment Works) is located on the slopes between Gibbs and MacDonald's Creeks overlooking Alliance Dam at Irvinebank in Far North Queensland. It is listed on the Queensland Heritage Register (ID 600679).

The Mill comprises the former tin smelter and concentration plant which evolved from the concentration mill and smelter site first developed in 1884 by mining magnate and entrepreneur, John Moffat. Loudoun Mill closed in 1914. In 1919 it was acquired as a State Enterprise and operated until 1981. It was subsequently leased by the Queensland Government to a private operator from the mid 1980s to 2004 when operations ceased.

The complex comprises remains of the smelter, concentration plants (later plant built within the foundations of the earlier plant), residences, railway siding, ore bins, workshops, and an extensive and comprehensive collection of early tin processing equipment. The condition of the structures and associated equipment is generally poor.

The Project

An initial evaluation of the cultural heritage management issues associated with the site was prepared by ARCHAEO Cultural Heritage Services for Mareeba Shire Council in February 2008. Subsequently Tablelands Regional Council commissioned Converge to prepare a conservation management plan for the place to provide an assessment of its condition with recommendations for its management.

Converge therefore prepared a plan which:

  • Provided a comprehensive site history
  • Provided a site description
  • Assessed the significance of the place and features which are components of the place
  • Provided a comparative analysis of the material remains with other tin concentration plants both nationally and within Queensland to establish its rarity and/or representativeness
  • Proposed management strategies for the place
  • Proposed a works program for the place
  • Explored the potential re-use options for the structures on site to establish the viability of conservation and restoration works with reference to both economic and heritage considerations.

Structural integrity assessments undertaken as part of the development of the plan were undertaken by structural engineers Opus Qantec McWilliam.

The Outcome

The conservation management plan enabled Council to consider the possible re-uses of the place in a considered manner and determine the viability of Council retaining responsibility for its management.


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  • Heritage Strategy
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