|"[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.
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
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
- 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.
- 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
- Katoomba Coal Mine
- John Britty North, the man who made Katoomba.
- State Mine Lithgow
- Now a heritage park & museum.