Osborne - Wallsend Colliery
aka Mt. Keira Colliery
(1857 – 1955)
1840 – James Shoobert acquires land on the west side of Mt Keira from a Mr. Edwards where an out crop of coal was found in a gully some 150 yds. west of Mt Keira Rd, within Portion 32, apparently the #3 (Wongawilli) seam. (J. L. N. Southern 12/03/1984)
1849 – April, Shoobert in process of opening up the #3 coal seam is shown the out crop of #2 (Balgownie or 4ft) seam by William Gaskin on the east side of Mt Keira Rd, also within Portion 32. Shoobert purchases the remaining portion of Mt Keira Estate, abandons the original drive and opens a tunnel in the #2 seam, calling it the Albert Coal Mine. (J. L. N. Southern 12/03/1984)
1849 – Aug. 27th, the first load of coal is delivered to Wollongong. (J. L. N. Southern 12/03/1984)
1850 – Shoobert opens a 2nd tunnel in the #2 seam. (J. L. N. Southern 12/03/1984)
1856 – James Shoobert’s property, including the Albert Mine (in the Balgownie seam), is auctioned off and purchased by Henry Osborne.
1857 – Osborne reopens the mine naming it the Wallsend Colliery. (J. L. N. Southern 12/03/1984)
1857 – William Jackson, John Nixon, Andrew Tulip and William Robson appoint Robson to lease the mine from the Osborne Bros for 25 years. (J. L. N. Southern 12/03/1984)
1857 – William Robson opens a new mine (in the Bulli seam) for Osborne in Portion 38, Parish of Wollongong as part of the Wallsend Colliery. The Albert mine is abandoned. (J. L. N. Southern 12/03/1984)
1857 – 16th Apr, 3.5 tons of coal from Osborne’s Wallsend Colliery is delivered to Wollongong by bullock dray and loaded on the steamer “S.S. Illawarra” for trial purposes.
1857 – The trial of 3.5tons of coal in the steamer “S.S. Illawarra” proved to be a complete success in firing the vessel. Henceforth to be called the Osborne-Wallsend Mine. (Ill Mercury. 20/04/1857)
1857 – “The proprietors of Osborne Wallsend mines have constructed a road from the mouth of the mines to Mt. Keira Road. (Empire, 6/5/1857, p2)
1857 – May, first month’s production, 142 ton 15 cwt, by end 1857, 5187 ton 10 cwt. (Records as supplied to “Illustrated Sydney News” by Mr. Wiseman, the stepson of the late William Robson, and published 16/08/1890 pp.18, 19.)
1858 – Based on the annual “Blue Book”, Mt Keira (Osborne’s Wallsend Coal Mine) produces 12,438 tons of coal in its first year of working. The 3 mile long tramway is expected for completion within 6 months, the rails from England to arrive next month (February). (SMH 21/01/1859)
Initial workings are by the Welsh bord method, drilled by hand and blasted. Forked into approximately 1 ton capacity wooden skips and hauled from the face by horse.
Progress includes the installation of a Main and Tail Rope Haulage to the surface, a weighbridge and screens at the tunnel mouth and a self-acting skip incline to the foot from where bullocks and horses haul the skips to the harbour.
1860 – May, an Act of Parliament is passed permitting the tramline to be constructed from mine to Wollongong Harbour (“Illustrated Sydney News”, 16/08/1890 pp.18, 19.)
1861 – Production; 12,881 tons (“Illustrated Sydney News”, 16/08/1890 pp.18, 19.)
1867 – Messrs. Tulip, Nixon and Jackson sell their interest in the “Wallsend” Colliery to Messrs. Robson and Spiers. (“Illustrated Sydney News”, 16/08/1890 pp.18, 19.)
1870 – “The working of the Mt Keira Coal Mine (Osborne-Wallsend) is suspended as a consequence of the financial difficulties of Mr. Speers (sic) …..” (The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Tues 5th July)
1870 – The Mount Keira Coal Mine is still at a stand-still while the conversion from a two-incline process to a single incline is implemented. (Aust. Town & Country, 31/12/1870 p6)
1871 – Mr Robson retires, the mine reverting to the Osborne family. (“Illustrated Sydney News”, 16/08/1890 pp.18, 19.) Frank Osborne becomes Mine Manager.
1871 – The management of Mt Keira Coal mine is transferred from Mr William Robson to a Mr Thomas Oswald, former overman in the Newcastle collieries? (The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Sat 28th Oct, pp3)
1875 – The section of the seam being worked logged at 7’6”. The mine belonging to J. Osborne, Esq. (Dept. of Mines – Mines & Statistics Report, 1875)
1876 – Osborne and O’Hearn erect several coke ovens near Wollongong to utilise the slack coal. Some 100 men and horses are employed producing 47,000 tons with the ventilation ~13,000 cfm. (DoMAR 1876)
1879 - Fatality – Seal, Miner, fall of roof (DoMAR 1879)
1882 – 177 men employed; 82,028 tons produced. A ventilation shaft is in the process of being sunk. (DoMAR 1882)
1883 – 130 men employed; 87,011 tons produced. A large furnace for ventilation installed.
1884 – 160 men employed; 66,646 tons produced.
1886 – 55 men employed at the surface, 170 men u/g producing 77,386 tons (DoMAR 1886)
1887 – Fatality – 30th Jan, Thomas Danby, Wheeler. (DoMAR 1887)
1890 – Mr. F. P. MacCabe retires as manager of the Osborne Wallsend colliery after nearly 30 years, being presented with an oil portrait at a reception at the Wollongong Town Hall, attended by some 250 mine employees. He is replaced by his son, Mr. H. O. MacCabe (SMH 27/01/1890)
1898 – Notice by H. O. McCabe of intent to drive 2 x water standage tunnels in the 4’ seam. (DoMAR 1898)
1903 – Osborne-Wallsend listed as owned by E. Vickery, Manager; J. C. Jones, U/Manager; Thomas Bissell. The mine having 4 adits and ventilated by a 9ft diameter furnace shaft 350 ft deep drawing 78,903 cu. ft. per min. (DoMAR 1903 table pp122)
1904 – “A new ventilating shaft has been sunk and a “Walker Patent Indestructible Fan” erected on top of it. It is expected to be in operation within a few weeks.” (DoMAR 1904 pp113 & 134)
1913 – A new tunnel and ventilating shaft are driven into the seam on Portion 39. (J. L. N. Southern 12/03/1984)
1915 – Fatality – 17th June, Joseph Hay, 53, fall of roof stone. (DoMAR 1915)
1926 – Osborne -Wallsend reports as employing 229 men u/g with 86 at the surface. (DoMAR 1926)
See Kemira Colliery history
1935 – E. Vickery & Sons Ltd, Osborne-Wallsend [Mt Keira] receives an order from the Railways Dept. for; large 20,000 tons @ 12/4p ; small 5,000 tons @ 10/10p. (SMH 28/08/1935)
1937 – A. I. & S. Coy become owners of the Osborne-Wallsend and Keira-Pleasant Tunnels Collieries (DoMAR 1937)
1938 – Osborne-Wallsend holes into old Mt Pleasant adding intakes to Osb.-Walls. (DoMAR 1938)
1946 – #3 seam entered below Mt Keira portal. Mr. A. J. Reeks listed as Manager (DoMAR 1946)
1950 - #3 seam abandoned (DoMAR 1950)
1950 - Fatality – 28th Mar. Eric James, Cutter operator, fell from footplate of cutter, crushing left leg. (DoMAR 1950)
1951 – Fatality – Walter Hunt, electric loco driver, collided with derailed 6 ton mine car. 15/11/1951. DMR Report
See Kemira Colliery history
1955 – Feb. 7th – Officially changes its name from Osborne – Wallsend to Kemira Colliery.