1863 – 1987
- June 1863 - commenced operations
- August 1878 - a new pit is opened north of the original (Bulli "B" pit)
- 1887 – Bulli Explosion - Multiple Fatalities (81)
- 1987 - Bulli Colliery ceases production
1859 – Bellambi and Bulli Coal Co. founded in 1859, records show coal produced in 1859. (WCC Library)
1861 - A tunnel is driven at the site of the Old Bulli Mine. (WCC Library)
1861 - The Bellambi and Bulli Coal Company was incorporated in 1861. Coal was shipped by them to Ballarat in 1862. The colliery area was 600 acres, owned by Dr. O’Brien and Messrs. Black and Somerville. It appears that the coal was shipped at Bellambi as it was proposed to construct a railway to this location. (SMH Thurs 21st Nov 1861)
1863 – June 2nd, a standard gauge, double tracked tramway is officially opened from mine to jetty. Initially gravity operated to the jetty and horse drawn returned up the incline. The original jetty was 680’ (207m) long, poorly protected from the weather, carrying dual track to the end where the skips were upended into the waiting colliers. (Eardley, G. c. 1968, “Transporting the Black Diamond, Book 2”)
1863 – 28th July. The third half-yearly Report of the Directors of the Bulli Coal Mining Co reports that all works necessary have been completed and were formally opened on 2nd June 1863. (SMH 21/08/1863 p7)
1863 - Bulli Coal Company commenced operations on June 22nd 1863, loading the first shipment of 790 tons of coal onto the “Ironside” bound for Shanghai, China. The “Merrie England” sailed on the 21st August carrying 1150 – 1200 tons from Bulli Point jetty. The jetty was designed by William Weaver.
1863 - The company’s new steam collier, “Woniora”, leaves England on 25th May 1863 with an estimated arrival time in September.
1863 - Mr. William Robson was the first manager, followed by William Somerville in July 1863 and Alexander Ross in 1866, Evans taking over in 1889.
1864 - A 250 feet (76m) length of the jetty is washed away.
1866 – Alexander Ross replaces W. Somerville as Mine Manager.
1867 – May, saw the first major step in mine mechanisation when a steam loco was commissioned to haul coal wagons the 2.5 km from the mine to the jetty, replacing the horses and bullocks. This first loco was a four coupled tank built by Vale and Lucy, Sydney. (Eardley, Gifford. c.1968)
1867 – Severe storm damage to the jetty sees 40 tons of coal and 4 men lost.
1869 - The colliery is owned by the Bulli Coal Company and William Adams the principal shareholder. A second loco is obtained from Vale and Lucy, arriving at the colliery in January. (Eardley, Gifford. c.1968)
Just after the turn of that decade production had reached 35,000 tons per year. The mine was capable of producing up to 600 tons per day, employed 80 men and used horses to haul the 4 ton “tubs” to the surface.
1873 – Bulli Colliery struck by excessive rainfall producing runoff and soil slippages that diverted the runoff into Tunnels 1, 2 and 3. (Illawarra Mercury, 28/02/1873, p2)
1873 – Fatality; March – James Seaton, (boy 14 yrs?), a horse driver caught between two loaded skips, No.1 Tunnel
1876 - By 1876 the driveages extended about 1500 m in a NW and SW direction from the portal. The “Collieries Regulation Act” was introduced on June 1st of this year.
1876 – Q of air to mine 26,000 cfm, suitable for 150 men & horses employed. Production 101,709 tons for 1875 (DoMAR1876)
1877 – 68 employed at the surface, 206 u/g. 121,392 tons (DoMAR 1877)
1878 – August, a new pit is opened north of the original and connected by a separate incline to the railway at the foot of the hill. This pit lasted 25 years until replaced by the “B” pit further north from which the coal was hauled to the railway by road. (Bayley, 1961 “Black Diamonds”)
1878 – August, a new pit known as the Bulli “B” Pit is opened just to the north of the old Bulli workings, close to the Bulli Pass, closing c. 1885 due to coal quality. (Eardley, Gifford. c.1968)
1878 – August, a second mine known as the “B” Pit was established on the hillside to the north of the Old Bulli workings, closing after about seven years. (WCC Library)
Corn Beef Colliery, a small mine is located about 100 m south of the “B” pit tunnel and connected to the upper level of the “B” it incline by skipway. . (Eardley, Gifford. c.1968)
Bulli Colliery employs ~210 men with some 23,000 cfm of air being circulated. A new tunnel is being pushed on. 90 men at surface, 241 u/g, 124,737 tons (DoMAR 1878)
The incline was abandoned and a landslide eventually sealed the old tunnel entrance. (Bayley, 1961 “Black Diamonds”)
1879 – A third loco, nick named “Katie” built in 1879 by Robert Stevenson, Newcastle on Tyne, maker’s number 2360, arrived. Weighing some 14 tons and more powerful than the Vale and Lucy engines, “Kate” saw little use except as a standby, as her weight tended to spread the lightly constructed tracks. (Eardley, Gifford. c.1968)
1879 - Bulli Colliery employs ~127 men at the surface and 241 u/g producing 120,119 tons. 25,000 cfm of air is being circulated around the mine. Some 12 men are employed in the New Tunnel. Typical coal analysis; Ash 13.17%, F.C. 61.61 VM 23.65 (DoMAR 1879)
1880 – 170 men employed in “Old Tunnel”; 25 in “New Tunnel” (DoMAR 1880)
1880 – Fatality; 2nd March – Henry Whitten, killed by roof fall.
1880 – Fatality; 4th November – James Taylor, watchman, killed upon being run over by a waggon on the incline. (DoMAR 1880)
1881 – 260 men employed u/g, 57 at the surface producing 95,703 tons from the “Old Tunnel”; 12 employed in the “New Tunnel”. (DoMAR 1881)
1882 - The Balgownie seam is opened at a point immediately west of the original mine. This was 4’ thick and of good quality.
1882 – 239 men employed u/g, 79 at the surface producing 131,120 tons from the “Old Tunnel”; 11 employed in the “New Tunnel”. (DoMAR 1882)
The 1880’s were punctuated by industrial disputes. Unionism had expanded throughout the colony and it’s assimilation into the coal industry was a stormy one.
The 1886 local mineworkers amalgamated with those from the Hunter district and together they began the push for an eight hour day and a number of less significant claims. Because settlement of these claims was a drawn out affair, financial hardship compelled the workers to move out of company owned homes into tents and a lifestyle at poverty level.
In January 1887 the mine management decided to recruit non-union or “free” labour from Sydney. As this body of men was transported from the jetty to the mine site, their journey was halted by an irate group of family members of the striking mineworkers whose emotional pleas eventually convinced them to return to Sydney.
Not long after this confrontation with the “blacklegs” from Sydney, the strike collapsed, the men agreeing reluctantly to return to work under a new set of conditions.
1883 – Bulli A – 67 at the surface, 212 u/g, 124,862 tons. A new furnace is installed. Bulli B – 5 at the surface, 13 u/g, 6,530 tons. (DoMAR 1883)
1883 – Fatality; 8th August, Michael Bowland, miner, is killed by a fall of stone from the roof. (DoMAR 1883)
1884 – Bulli A – 72 at the surface, 210 u/g, 106,718 tons. Bulli B – 6 at the surface, 20 u/g, 9,065 tons. The ventilation in the Hill End area (Old Tunnel) is not good – a new air shaft currently being sunk. (DoMAR 1884)
1884 – Fatality; 5th November, Francis Bonar, miner, run over by set of loaded skips (DoMAR 1884)
Bulli Furnace Shaft
1885 – Bulli A – 76 at the surface, 238 u/g, 128,340 tons. Bulli B – 7 at the surface, 24 u/g, 8,533 tons.
Bulli Old Tunnel; a new air shaft 320 ft. (97.5m) and 10ft (3.05m) diameter sunk, furnace to be installed.
Bulli Second Seam; ~20 men u/g
Bulli New Tunnel; ~20 employed but work suspended due to lack of coal sales. (DoMAR 1885)
1885 – Poor quality coal (coke) forces closure of “B” Pit. (Eardley, G. c. 1968, “Transporting the Black Diamond, Book 2”)
1886 – “having got this shaft sunk…” (Ill Merc. 09/01/1886)
Remains of Bulli Furnace Shaft sunk 1884/6 (BS 2004)
1886 – Bulli A – 95 at the surface, 276 u/g, 99,923 tons. Bulli B – not at work. (DoMAR 1886)
1886 – Fatality; 28th May, S. Waterfield, a miner, is killed. The colliery was on strike for the last 4 months of the year, roof falls are prevalent and the furnace is now on the new 320 ft. (97.5m) shaft some 43 chains (865m) from the tunnel entrance. (DoMAR 1886)
1887 – January, mine management decides to recruit non-union or “free” labour from Sydney. As this body of men was transported from the jetty to the mine-site, their journey was halted by an irate group of family members of the striking mineworkers whose emotional pleas eventually convinced them to return to Sydney. Not long after this confrontation with the “blacklegs” the strike collapsed the men agreeing to return to work.
1887 – Advertisement: “100 miners wanted for Bulli Colliery, can earn 9s/day”. (SMH 12/01/1887)
1887 – Bulli Explosion - Multiple Fatalities (81) - On Wednesday, March 23rd, the fortunes of these men turned to tragedy when a methane gas explosion ripped through the mine at 2.30 pm, killing 81 men and boys. Relief funds that were established raised 40,000 pounds for the surviving members of the miners’ families.
There was only one survivor of that fateful explosion. A boy named Herbert Cope who together with an array of debris and pit props was blown, unconscious, out of the tunnel mouth by the force of the explosion. He went on to live to the age of 84 and died in Hurstville in 1952.
1887 - The mine resumed production in July with safety lamps. Some 177 men are now working at the Bulli A mine with 31,161 tons produced. (DoMAR 1887)
Hillend District; 57 men, 4 wheelers, 4 horses, 26,000cfm, locked flame safety lamps.
Western District; 17 men, 2 wheelers, 2 horses, 10,000 cfm, locked flame safety lamps.
Four foot seam; 18 men, 2 boys, 2 horses, 10,000 cfm, locked flame safety lamps. (DoMAR 1887)
1887 – June, the Wollongong to Clifton main line opens forcing a reorganisation of transport to the jetty. (Eardley, G. c. 1968, “Transporting the Black Diamond, Book 2”)
1888 - Some 130 men are now working u/g at the mine, plus 83 at the surface, with 77,042 tons produced. Miners working in the Hill End District are using locked safety lamps. (DoMAR 1888)
1889 - Some 206 men are now working u/g at the mine, plus51 at the surface, with 63,299 tons produced. 10 miners working in the 4 ft. seam with a separate air split. (DoMAR 1889)
1889 – John Evans replaces Alexander Ross as mine manager
1889 – The colliery is owned by Bulli Coal Co. with William Adams a principle share holder.
1890 – Fatality; 7th Aug, John Green, a miner, is killed by an empty set of skips after his lamp went out. Some 120 men were employed up till the 3rd September, when the mines went out on strike. (DoMAR 1890)
1890 - Naked lamps are again introduced at which time many men leave the mine.
1891 - 11th February, the abandoned “B” Pit was reopened by the Bulli Pass Coal and Coke Co. Ltd. of Messrs. Williams and Garlick, renamed the “Bulli Pass Colliery”. (DoMAR 1891)
1892 – No miners have been employed during the last 2 months till 31st Dec. Bulli Colliery 190 men w/- ~170 u/g, 44,247 tons; Bulli Pass 36 men, 8,819 tons, with a new furnace being built. (DoMAR 1892)
1892 – June 2nd, first delivery of coal from the Bulli Pass Colliery. (Eardley, G. c. 1968, “Transporting the Black Diamond, Book 2”)
1893 – No miners have been employed cutting coal, only a few maintain roadways. Bulli Colliery, 3 men employed No production. Bulli Pass 30 employed 6052 tons. (DoMAR 1893)
1893 – “A Gov. truck loaded with coal at the Bulli Pass Colliery broke away at the top of the colliery incline on June 21st and rushed down for about 100 yards …doing considerable damage.” (Aust. Town & Country Journal, 01/07/1893)
1894 - Some 14 men are now working at the Bulli Colliery with 5,480 tons produced during the year. Bulli Pass 25 men, 4193 tons (DoMAR 1894)
1894 – November, Bulli Pass Coal and Coke Co mine closes due to friction between this company and the Bulli Coal Mining Co over transportation arrangements. (Eardley, G. c. 1968, “Transporting the Black Diamond, Book 2”)
1895 – March, George Adams purchases the Bulli Coal Mining Co to work with his Bulli Coke Works. (Eardley, G. c. 1968, “Transporting the Black Diamond, Book 2”)
1895 – 19th July, the DoM is notified that the Bulli Pass Colliery has been renamed the “Bulli Steam Coal Colliery”, by Mr. T.J. Evans. (DoMAR 1895)
1895 – The Bulli Colliery re-opens during last 2 months of year, some 20 men currently working, mainly loading out slack coal. (DoMAR 1895)
1896 – Bulli Colliery, recently purchased by Mr. George Adams, has Mr Johnson as mine manager. (SMH 1/2/1896)
1896 – Ownership of the Bulli Steam Coal Colliery changed to “Bulli Co-operative Steam Coal Company, Limited”. (DoMAR 1896)
1896- Some 173 men are now working at the Bulli Colliery with 51,662 tons produced during the year. (DoMAR 1896)
1898 – William Thompson Philpot, colliery manager of “B” Pit as from 15/08/1898).
1898 – Nov/Dec; “B” Pit strike and court case.
1898 – Fatality; B. Dande, 44, a miner, is killed by a fall of coal. Some 260 men are now working at the Bulli Colliery. 120,510 tons. Bulli Pass Colliery 20 total, 4136 tons (DoMAR 1898)
1899 – Fatality; John Stewart, 62, a miner, is run over by a set of tubs underground. Some 230 men are now working at the mine. The mine is currently owned by George Adams, managed by John Johnston with Charles Hope as undermanager. (DoMAR 1899)
1900 – Fatality; James Weir, 40, a miner, is killed by a fall of coal at the face. Some 230 men are employed and produced 121,343 tons. (DoMAR 1900)
1902 – Bulli Steam Coal Colliery (George Adams) closes due to loss of natural coke markets.
1902 – 4th July, Mr. W. T. Philpot notifies DoM that Bulli Pass Colliery would be abandoned from the 5th July. There were 29 men employed at this mine which was furnace ventilated. (DoMAR 1902)
1902 – Fatality; on Bulli Jetty; Arthur Brown, 33, jetty hand, “entangled in winch” (DoMAR 1902)
1903 – Bulli Colliery produces 88,471 tons with 172 men while the new Bulli #3 Tunnel produces 1,100 tons with 11 men. (DoMAR 1903)
1904 – Bulli #3 Tunnel is declared a separate mine with permit manager Forster Johnston, G.C. Youll is appointed manager of Bulli colliery. (DoMAR 1904)
1904 – 1-8-1904, the first quarterly date indicated on the Bulli #3 Tunnel “Record Tracing.”
1905 – Bulli Colliery – Mine Manager, G. C. Youll announces the opening of a new tunnel for prospecting. C. Hope is u/m. 63/110 employees. Bulli #3 Colliery has 1/8 employees with Forster Johnston listed as Permit Manager. (DoMAR 1905)
1906 – Manager; Gibson. C. Youll, U/Manager; Charles Hope. (DoMAR 1906)
1906 – Fatality; 15th May, Abraham Fletcher, 56, a miner struck by a falling prop underground. There is a decision to reopen Bulli #3 Colliery. (DoMAR 1906)
1906 – 6th Aug, - “With the opening of No. 3 Tunnel for the Bulli mine about 200 hands will be employed at Bulli. Hands are at present relaying the road etc. in No. 3 Tunnel about ¾ mile north of the old Bulli tunnel, preparatory to starting work in about a fortnight’s time. This will mean the employment of about 12 hands to obtain the cindered or smokeless coal.” (SMH 6/8/1906)
1906 – 13 men start in the No. 3 Tunnel 13th Aug. 1906 (SMH 14/6/1906)
1907 – April, gales sweep away the greater part of the Bulli coal jetty, including several loaded wagons placed on the jetty to stabilise it. (Eardley, G. c. 1968, “Transporting the Black Diamond, Book 2”)
1907 – Bulli employs 99 men u/g and 43 at the surface with Bulli #3 employing 25 and 5 men respectively. Mine Manager is Forster Johnson.
1908 – 1-9-1908, the final date recorded on the Bulli #3 Tunnel “Record Tracing”. Bulli listed as employing 45/101; Bulli #3 – 4/14. Bulli #3 also reported as discontinued to the DoM. Bulli Colliery – owners listed as the executors of the late George Adams. Manager G. C. Youll, u/manager C. Hope. Bulli #3 Colliery owners listed as the executors of the late George Adams. Manager Forster Johnston. (DoMAR 1908)
1910 – Bulli employs 47/99; Bulli #3 – 12/10; Bulli #4 – 4/7; Blackball – 0/2; Blackball Colliery (Woonona) and Bulli #4 Colliery are opened. Bulli #3 Colliery is discontinued. (DoMAR 1910)
1911 – Bulli Colliery – 110 men u/g, 75 men at the surface. Owners listed as the Executors of the late George Adams, manager as G. C. Youll with C. Hope as u/manager.
Bulli #4 Colliery; 6 u/g and 4 at the surface, owner listed as John Spinks (lessee), Manager, Albert Carvill. Notice of the sinking of an air shaft is received by the DoM.
Blackball Colliery is declared temporarily idle by A. Pernell. (DoMAR 1911)
1912 – Mr. Broadhead (ex Metropolitan and Balmain collieries) succeeds Mr. Youll (sic) as mine manager (SMH 29/7/1942)
1912 – July, over 60 metres of jetty are swept away. (Eardley, G. c. 1968, “Transporting the Black Diamond, Book 2”)
1912 – Fatality – 9th October – Fred. Biddulph, 17 yrs, (labourer), crushed by skips at the Coke Works. Bulli employs 103 u/g and 89 at the surface. (DoMAR 1912)
A New Tunnel, Bulli Colliery is opened. Bulli #4 is discontinued; Bulli owner listed as Bulli Colliery & Coke Works Manager – A. K. Broadhead, u/manager as Chas. Hope.
Bulli #4 Colliery; 6 u/g and 4 at the surface, owner John Spinks (lessee), Manager, Albert Carvill.
Ownership of Bulli Colliery and Coke Works was transferred from the late G. Adams estate to the Bulli Colliery and Coke Works, Limited. Bulli #4 Colliery ceases operation indefinitely. Blackball Colliery is reported as abandoned by Mr. Pernell. (DoMAR 1912)
Circa1912, the Bulli Colliery was operated by the Bulli Coal Co. Ltd. and controlled by a Mr. Geo. Adams. The main surface buildings were located at Old Bulli with two mine entries. Approximately 1 mile north, was another tunnel known as Bulli No 3. While Old Bulli utilised rope haulage, No.3 brought its skips to the surface by horses. Both mines were served by self-acting inclines to the top of coal hoppers from which the coal was then loaded into rail trucks for transport by locomotives to the Bulli Jetty or the main South coast line. (Danvers Power 1912)
A battery of 39 coke ovens was associated with this mine at this time. (Danvers Power 1912)
1913 - Bulli employs 126 men u/g, 92 at the surface. (DoMAR 1913)
1913 – Preparations are being made for the installation of a large, electrically driven, fan in the underground workings of the Western District. (DoMAR 1913, p166)
1914 – Advertisements for Miners and Wheelers for Bulli Colliery are repeated during April through to August, signed by Mr. Broadhead, Bulli Mine Manager. (SMH adverts)
1914 - Bulli employs 220 men u/g, 98 at the surface. The manager is listed as J. Gray, the u/manager as A. Davidson. (DoMAR 1914)
1914 – An auxiliary fan is installed in the return airway of the Western District of Bulli Colliery. Situated about 2 miles (3.2 km) inbye the tunnel mouth. Double inlet, Sirocco type, 56” diameter, belt driven by 2,000 volt motor (~30,000 cfm). (DoMAR 1914, p161)
1915 – Bulli employs 230 men u/g, 60 at the surface. The manager is listed as J. Barnes, the u/manager as A. Davidson. (DoMAR 1915)
1915 - Fatality – 20th Aug. Thomas Evans, 39 yrs. fall of coal. (DoMAR 1915)
1916 – Bulli employs 192 men u/g, 51 at the surface. The furnace is replaced by a double-inlet Sirocco,
63” diam. fan, installed near the top of the old furnace shaft. Appears to have considerably increased the quality (cooler) but not the quantity of the air flow. (DoMAR 1916, p164)
Remains of fan installation? on top of the Bulli Furnace Shaft (BS 2004)
1917 – Following a refusal to comply with the Inspector Hindmarsh’s request to cease using electric coal-cutters in the Bulli seam, by the mine manager, Mr. James Barnes, he was referred to arbitration. On 14th May, his Honor Judge Fitzhardinge, awarded that, the use of the electric coal-cutters is dangerous and as such should cease. Their use was thereupon discontinued. A. K. Broadhead listed as Manager (incl. Bulli #3) with A. Davidson as u/manager. 180 employed u/g with 46 at the surface. (DoMAR 1917)
1918 – 23rd Jan. Notice received of a new tunnel in the 4’ seam. 173 employed u/g, 59 at the surface. (DoMAR 1918)
1919 - Fatality – 14th Mar. James McKay, 19 yrs, screen hand. 212 men employed u/g, 50 at the surface. (DoMAR 1919)
1920 – Bulli employs 232 men u/g, 101 at the surface. Blackball Colliery is restarted as Central Bulli then discontinued.
1921 – Bulli employs 252 men u/g, 102 at the surface. A new tunnel is opened in the Bulli seam (DoMAR 1921)
1922 – A new ventilating shaft is commenced. Some 259 men are employed u/g, 76 at the surface. Bulli Central [sic] is discontinued. (DoMAR 1922)
1923 – February, construction commences on the circular, concrete lined shaft. (Terrell, R.J.H. Assist Eng, Bulli Colliery, BHP Technical Bulletin No. 18)
1923 – Shaft, 16’ (4.88m) diameter at 400’ (122m) at end 1923. Proposed total depth is 1070’ (326m) to the Bulli seam. It is anticipated to reach full depth by the end of 1924. The shaft employs 16 men u/g and 12 at the surface. The mine employs some 258 men u/g, 128 at the surface. (DoMAR 1923).
1924 – Shaft still has 100’ to go at end 1924. The fan is being installed in readiness for shaft completion. The shaft employs 16 men u/g and 12 at the surface. The mine employs some 263 men u/g, 134 at the surface. (DoMAR 1924).
1925 – July, No. 1 shaft completed. (Terrell, R.J.H. Assist Eng, Bulli Colliery, BHP Technical Bulletin No. 18)
1925 – Bulli shaft reached coal at 1060’ on 3/7/1925. New double inlet Sirocco fan, 98” diam. installed and brought into operation on 12/09/1925. The mine employs some 236 men u/g, 132 at the surface. (DoMAR 1925)
1925 – Fatality – 27th Sept. an experienced shiftman is killed by a roof fall while drawing timber (DoMAR 1925)
1925 – Fatality – 31st Oct. a deputy is killed by a fall of stone while stacking timber (DoMAR 1925)
Bulli No. 1 Shaft
In 1924-1925 The Bulli Colliery & Coke Works Ltd sank a concrete lined shaft, 16’-0” (4.88m) in diameter (finished) and 1,045 ‘ (317m) deep to the Bulli Seam under the supervision of the then Colliery Manager, A. K. Broadhead. [Broadhead, A.K. 1925 “Concrete Lining of Shafts.” Chemical Engineering Mining Review, July 5, 1925]
1926 – Mr. T. Welford of Minmi succeeds Mr. A.K. Broadhead as manager of Bulli Colliery and Coke Works, Ltd. (SMH 14/5/1926)
1926 – An overwind occurred on May 19th while water was being raised by means of a water-box placed inside the cage. The cage was taken up into the headgear, the rope breaking and the cage falling to pit bottom. No one was injured. (DoMAR 1926)
1926 – Fatality – 6th Sep, a carpenter was caught up in the slack coal conveyor, succumbing to his injuries on 19th Sep. (DoMAR 1926)
1926 – Bulli reports as having 274 men employed u/g and 114 at the surface. (DoMAR 1926)
1927 – 309 employed u/g, 114 at the surface. (DoMAR 1927)
1928 – Fatality – 18th Sept. a miner was killed by a large slab of coal falling from the face. 308 are employed u/g with 78 at the surface. (DoMAR 1928)
1929 – Bulli employs 324 u/g and 92 at the surface. (DoMAR 1929)
1932 - Fatality – 23rd July 1931, a picnicker was killed by pulling over a steel telephone pole to where the top encountered the HT power to the fan. (DoMAR 1932)
1934 - Fatality – 18th Jan, A. Broadhead, miner, was killed after having leg pulled off by the haulage in No.1 SW. (DoMAR 1934)
Australian Iron & Steel
1936 – Bulli Colliery & Coke Works is liquidated and is purchased by Australian Iron and Steel Ltd from the liquidators. A.I &S continues in the old workings using contract labour.
1937 – AI&S calls for tenders to sink a 20’ (6.1m) diameter shaft approx. 1100 f.t (335m) at Bulli Colliery, closing on 14th Jan 1938. (SMH 22/12/1937)
1938 – A notice under Sectn. 37 CMRA is received by the DoM as to AIS’s intention to sink a new shaft at Bulli Colliery. (DoMAR 1938)
1939 – A shaft being sunk for ventilating purposes is 20 feet (6.1m) in diameter and concrete lined by years end was 940 ft. (286.5m) deep. (DoMAR 1939)
1939 – The SMRS was placed on stand bye on 14th Jan when a bushfire ignited the head gear of the (Bulli No 1) ventilating shaft. No damage resulted u/g. (DoMAR 1939)
Bulli No. 2 Shaft
A shaft, 20’-0” (6.1m) diameter in the clear, was sunk 1,100’ (335.3m) approximately 2 miles (3.2km) from the portal and completed in 1940. [Hindmarsh, G.M. 1947 “Reorganisation of Bulli Colliery with Special Reference to Haulage Problems” AusIMM Proceedings, March 1947.]
1944 – April 17th, work commences on the driving of a cross measures drift through the escarpment, 3.6 km in length at a grade of 1 in 139 to intersect the coal seam, using battery locos.
1944 – Advert; “Tenders are invited for the installation of approx. 1 ¾ miles of 33,000V. 3 ph. transmission line, with telephone line suspended from the same poles, from pole 117 at the top of the escarpment above Bulli Colliery to Bulli No. 2 Shaft. Includes the clearing of an easement some 33’ wide for the 1 ¾ miles.” (SCT 1/9/1944 p8 ex Trove)
1946 – Reported as working 215 days during 1946. (DoMAR 1946)
1947 - Fatality; 9th Sept, to Edward Ashman, shiftman, due to fall of roof stone. (DoMAR 1947)
1947 - Originally purchased with rope haulage on a 2’0” (610mm) track, A.I & S introduced 3’6” (1067mm) track in 1947 with 5 ton and 6.5 ton bottom dump cars.
1949 – The contract mining system ends.
1953 – June, The drift was completed in June 1953 with 25 ton Malcolm Moore diesel locos and 10 ton cars being introduced, two locos to 35 cars.
1953 – Shaft being sunk – at 905’ (276m) by end of 1953 with completion expected in 1954 (staple shaft?) (DoMAR 1953)
1954 – The abandoned formation between the former level crossing and the jetty is largely removed for its coal content. (Eardley, G. c. 1968, “Transporting the Black Diamond, Book 2”)
1955 - Modernisation of the machinery at Bulli took place in 1955 with the replacement of the Jeffrey type rail mounted cutters and loaders with continuous miners.
1956 – 6th Dec. Fan tests on 157” diam. “Hi-Flow Fan “in-stall” No. 1 Shaft Aerex Fan. Dwg. 157-515
1961 – The 1 in 20 rising M & M drift reached 1,280 ft. (390m) by end of year. The 1 in 4 rising drift was commenced by year’s end. (DoMAR 1961)
1962 – An 880 yard (805m) men and materials drift rising 1 in 20 and a 1,000 ft. (305m) rising conveyor belt on a grade of 1 in 4 were driven across the 280 ft. (85m) upthrow fault in the 1 North area of the mine. Work is almost complete on a connection to the conveyor drift and a small staple shaft to provide coal storage. (DoMAR 1962)
1963 – A third rising drift 1,000 ft. (305m) long at 1 in 4 was driven across the 280 ft. (85m) upthrow fault in the 1 North area during the year. This drift will provide a return airway. No. 1 Ventilation shaft (upcast) was lined with 6 in. of concrete during 1963. Preparation work has commenced for the sinking of No. 3 shaft, 15’ 6” (4.72m) clear diameter and approximately 1,000 ft. (305m) deep, intersecting the Bulli seam near the face of the Northern Returns. (DoMAR 1963)
1963 – Bulli No.1 Shaft is relined. (Eardley, G. c. 1968, “Transporting the Black Diamond, Book 2”)/(DoMAR1963)
Bulli No. 3 Shaft
Sunk by R. Cram commencing in 1963 and commissioned in 1965. 4.72m finished diameter, concrete lined with a depth of 307m to the Bulli seam floor. Entering the Bulli seam on a 4 way intersection, the shaft had a bell of some 7m high and 6.7m in diameter. (BHP Illawarra Coal Records)
An axial flow fan was installed at the collar of No. 3 shaft but doubts are as to the fan ever being used.
v. 1965 – An emergency water supply dam, approx 200m long x 5.5m deep is constructed uphill of the pit top. (Wise, N. 1985 – “Stability of the Bulli Colliery Emergency Water Supply Dam”)
1965 – Fire - Multiple Fatalities (4) - November 9th, at about 9.15 am, an ignition and fire occurred in the Right District as a result of which four (4) men lost their lives and one man was burnt around the face and hands as he escaped through the fire zone.
1968 – 8th May, The starting procedure for the ex PK2 fan now on Bulli No. 3 Shaft is documented by Mike Southward Jones. (BHP Documentation)
1968 – 24th July, D. Stone, current mine manager, receives recommendation for an upgrade to Bulli No. 1 Shaft fan. (BHP Documentation)
1968 – October, ACIRL undertakes fan testing on Bulli No. 1 Shaft 157” Aerex fan. (BHP Documentation)
1969 – Two parallel drifts heading SW from No.1 seam (Bulli) to No.2 seam (Balgownie) were completed 30/06/1969 to explore feasibility of mining the lower seam. A staple shaft to the Bulli seam was raised (36’) on c/through #5 by end of 1969. A floor sill was encountered to the south. Formally abandoned 1971 due to roof conditions. Final survey date line 30/08/1971.
26t diesel loco hauling 300t coal from u/g bin to surface. (AIS publication “Coal for Steel”) Aug 1969
1972 – 6th July, approval received from Gen. Manager, Minerals Division, to install a second rotor on fan at Bulli #1 Shaft.
1972 – 20th Sept, Tests on second rotor indicate elimination of previous stall conditions.
1975 – The Wongawilli pillar extraction system still in use. Shortwall No.1 commenced.
1976 – Shortwall #1 completed. S/W #2 ceased in May, completed by Wongawilli system. Shortwall system abandoned. (DoMAR 1976)
1978 – 22nd May, a request was forwarded to the new mine manager (T. Ayre), for a spare set of blades for fan at Bulli #1 Shaft
1982 – 18th March, The proposed changeover from 373kW (500HP) motor to 300kW (400HP) motor on Bulli No. 1 Shaft fan is undertaken. (BHP Documentation)
1983 – May, A booster fan is installed u/g to facilitate ventilation in new areas. (Bollard, J.)
Bulli No. 4 Shaft
Commenced in early 1985, this 6.00m diameter shaft, that was to serve as a downcast shaft but sinking was aborted after only 18 metres upon the announcement that Bulli Colliery was to cease mining in that area.
1985 – 31st May, No 4 Shaft pre-sink is complete and in process of erecting the sinking headframe.
1985 – 26th June, No 4 Shaft; removal of installed equipment, project cancelled.
The shaft was backfilled with only a partially completed switchyard and several power poles remaining. (BHP Illawarra Records)
1985 – 1st Oct, Murray Bird is appointed Deputy Manager of Bulli Colliery (formerly U/M, Nebo). [BHP Document – 30th Sept 1985]
1985 – May, Cracks are reported along the crest and northern wall of the Emergency Water Supply Dam with free water flowing down the access track, thought to have been triggered by the heavy rains of March and April of this year. (Wise, N. 1985 – “Stability of the Bulli Colliery Emergency Water Supply Dam”)
1986 – Bulli Colliery – Australian Iron & Steel Pty Ltd; Employees: 173 (30/06/86). Bulli Sm: 2.4m; Bord & Pillar extraction: 3 x Joy 10CMs, 2 x Joy 22S/Cs, 2 x Joy 15S/Cs; Prod: 0.5Mt (1985/86). (NSW Coal Industry Profile)
1987 – 10th Feb, Press Release – “Bulli Colliery will close in May this year”. (BHP Records)
1987– 15th May, Bulli Colliery ceases production at midday and closes after 124 yrs. of operation
1987 – 26th May, the Joint Coal Board formally consents to the Bulli Mine closure.
1988 – 26th Mar, Approval, after having inspected, to pour concrete to seal Bulli Colliery Nos. 1, 2, 3 and the furnace shafts issued by the Dept. of Mineral Resources.
1988 – 13th May, Nos. 1, 2, 3 shafts sealed.
2002 – Decommissioning works are undertaken on the Bulli Emergency Water Supply Dam. A request to remove the dam from the prescribed status register is lodged with the Dam Safety Committee.
2011 – Rehabilitation of Bulli No. 4 Shaft site by Illawarra Coal.
2015 – Final Inspection of the revegetation of the No. 4 Shaft site.
No1 seam workings:-
Hand mining - 1913 to 3/1947 - 142km of roadways
Mechanised (L400 loaders) - 10/1940 to 6/1955 - 85 km of roadways
Continuous Miners - 6/1955 to 12/1965 - 91 km of roadways
16,554,859 tonnes were produced since September 1958 converting to the equivalent of a single heading 826 km long.
Highest output/man shift of 23.5 tonnes was established on 18/03/1987
A record bonus of $303.10 was achieved during the week ending 20/03/1987
In the last 45 years there have been approx. 2,900 job starts at the mine, an average of 64 per year (includes those who left and recommenced at a later date).
Compiled from an article by Mervyn Epps (Mine Surveyor) from research by J. Bullard (ex Bulli Maintenance Clerk), 13/05/1987.