Blue Mountains History Plaza
3 Sisters, Blue Mountains, Australia.
Mining, past & present, in the Blue Mountains, Australia

Blue Mountains Australia

"[The region] is rich in minerals, especially coal and kerosene shale, both of which are inexhaustible."
Centennial History of New South Wales 1888, Vol II.  

Mining has played a major role in the Blue Mountains' economy & development for almost 150 years. Whilst the only mines still operating in the region are in the Lithgow area, the need to haul coal over the mountains helps make our railway pay.

Bottled Sunshine from Australia

Learn about the kerosene shale industry in the Blue Mountains. Kerosene lamps & paraffin candles were a great leap forward in lighting for everyday use.

Fired Up on Coal

Coal powered the steam age. Today, it is still used to provide steam for generating electricity, as well as being made into coke for use in blast furnaces. Australia exports large quantities of coal to the Japanese steel industry.

Blair Athol No.2 Colliery
Mt Victoria.
Blue Mountains Colliery
The entry to the mine is on the Lithgow-Hartley Road that passes through 'The Gap'. This mine is operated by the Hartley Valley Coal Company and is managed by David Facchina.   The mine is still in operation and its administration offices are located in Lithgow.
Canyon Colliery
Grose Valley, about 1km south of Bell on the Bell-Mount Victoria Road.  A bridge crosses over the western railway to access the mine site.  This mine has an electrified rail siding (with wooden catenary posts) but it has been some time since a load of coal was hauled from the mine. This mine is closed now, but was owned by a Mr. Joe Cornock who was originally the Mine Manager at Fernbrook Colliery at Marrangaroo (west of Lithgow).  He subsequently purchased the Invincible Colliery at Cullen Bullen from Austen & Butta and then later purchased the Grose Valley Colliery (also from Austen & Butta) which he renamed Canyon Colliery.  Both of these pits were un-economic to work as large operations, but Joe's small mine approach allowed him to work the remaining easily-won sections of coal.
Clarence Coal Mine
Currently in operation. External link.
Grose Valley
Various exploratory tunnels were constructed, & a small amount of mining carried out, at locations in the upper Grose Valley and gorges leading into it. In reality, there was a lot more hype than actual coal or shale, & transport out of the valley posed formidable difficulties.
Katoomba Coal Mine
John Britty North, the man who made Katoomba.
State Mine Lithgow
Now a heritage park & museum. 

Chert Mining

Mt Victoria

A miner pushes a loaded ore car out of the original kerosene shale mine at Hartley Vale.

Woodcut from the NSW Railway Guide 1881

Hartley mine, 1881. Woodcut. Blue Mountains Australia

"Thank you", to the people who have contributed information for this section.


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