Tin was originally found in the area by J V Mulligan and Irvinebank was founded in 1884 by John Moffatt, the mining entrepreneur who also had mining interests in Chillagoe and Mount Carbine, purchased the mining leases from the original prospectors. Moffatt built a dam, mill, and erected a battery and smelter which was to become the largest smelter in Australia for a number of years and is now listed on the Queensland Heritage Register and the Australian Heritage Register of the National Estate. Most of these structures are still standing.
The Vulcan Mine was developed into Australia’s deepest (1440 feet) and richest tin mine and had a working life of over 40 years, with some of the workings still visible
Today the town still has a fine collection of historic heritage listed buildings. These buildings are not open to the public although Perentie Tours have negotiated to allow guests to get an insight into how people live in these remote areas – both now and in the past. In recent times Irvinebank has been rediscovered as the road has been improved and the historic nature of the town is realised but it’s in a remote location and although the access road has been improved, conventional vehicles are often not able to undertake the journey.