Russell Vale Colliery
(aka) Taylor, Walker & Longmore
1861 – 1864)
August, 1861 – Messrs. Taylor, Walker & Longmore open a colliery at Russell vale on land leased from Mr. H. Osborne, approx. 1 ½ miles south of Hale’s Bellambi Colliery.
November, 1862 – An ongoing argument over access rights for their tramways and use of jetties at Bellambi Point culminated in all-in brawling, intentional demolition of jetties and both Mr. Hale and Mr. Walker being rendered unconscious by missiles thrown by each other’s workmen, ending up in court on charges of trespass and assault.
November, 1862 – “Some serious rioting occurred at Bellambi between the miners of Taylor & Walker’s pits and those of Mr. Hale, resulting in several broken limbs. Taylor and Hale were both injured – an attempt by Hale and his men to cut away the jetty where it crossed his tramway. (The Argus, 29/11/1862)
March, 1863 – The Illawarra Express reported on the 14th March, perjury charges are brought against Thomas Hale by Robert Longmore with regards to a previous “Queen vers Hale” trial over the Bellambi jetty (Empire, Sydney, 17/03/1863)
May, 1863 – A single 4’ 81/2” track using 40lb rails, was laid from the Port Bellambi Jetty to the base of the incline to the mine adit, some 2 miles 50 chains. There is little evidence of this railway ever being used.
March, 1864 – The Osborne Bellambi Co-operative Coal Mining Company was formed to take over the assets of Messrs. Taylor, Walker & Longmore and sought to raise capital to the value of 7500 pounds. The depression in the coal industry prevented the new company raising the capital and the venture folded.
May, 1864 – “Robert Taylor, Christopher Walker and Robert Longmore, trading as Taylor and Walker, of Bellambi, coal mines, surrender their estate in Insolvency Court” (SMH 23/05/1864)
September, 1864 – Messrs. Taylor, Walker & Longmore became insolvent and activities ceased at the mine and Port Bellambi.
1885 – “The Russell Vale, or “Taylor & Walker’s” Colliery, will be reopened as soon as the Illawarra railway is completed between Bulli and Wollongong”. (Ill Merc. 31/10/1885 p2 ex Trove)
1885 – Three men have been working about the mine for the last ten months, Mr Wilson, the Managing Director, and is expecting some 100 men to be employed by 1886. The whole of the plant from Ringwood Colliery (~300 tons) including a very superior locomotive; a large hauling engine of between 50 and 60 hp; skips and rails etc. has been brought down. A new jetty is to be built at Bellambi. (Ill Merc. 28/11/1885, p2 ex Trove)
1889 – “Russell Vale Colliery, commonly known as Wilson’s Pit…….” (Ill Merc 17/10/1889 p2)
1889 – “better known as Wilson’s Pit…..” (Ill Merc 7/11/1889 p2)