South Clifton Colliery (incl. South Clifton Tunnel)
c1883 - the coal seam behind Clifton was known and had been accessed with little development. **
> 1883 - North Illawarra Coal Mining Company opens a new mine by John Williams at South Clifton. A shaft was sunk on the eastern side of the Illawarra Railway. Man-access was by adit overlooking the ocean. **
1885 – Oct.14th; Mr. Wm. Wilson, on behalf of Thomas Saywell and himself notifies the DoM of starting a coal mine at Bellambi. No current u/g operations with 3 men on the surface. The colliery name is undecided (DoMAR 1885)
1887 – Clifton Colliery closed by Minister as dangerous based on surface subsidence reported by inspector. Miners request that the Minister lifts the notice. (The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, 3rd May, 1887)
Started in 1890. - Opened in 1891 by the Illawarra Coal Company. In 1902 transferred from Thomas Saywell to Saywell’s Collieries Ltd. The South Clifton Coal Mining Co. Ltd. formed in 1903 Hand won, endless rope haulage, 750t/day with 112 on day shift & 42 on afternoon shift.
1890 – No reference to South Clifton mine. (DoMAR 1890)
1891 – Illawarra Coal Co opens mine at Sth Clifton. (WCC Library)
1891 – South Clifton Shaft Mine is re-opened under Thomas Saywell (Adams, “Beyond Bulli”)
1891 – The South Clifton Mine was opened opposite the Scarborough Hotel by W. Wilson with a 150’ shaft. Electricity was installed in 1902 with pick & shovel mining continuing. The mine closed in 1920. (Bayley, William A. “Black Diamonds” – 1969)
1891, February – mine purchased by Saywell & Wilson. A new shaft was then sunk on the western side of the Illawarra Railway, becoming the winding shaft. The original shaft was maintained as an upcast ventilation shaft, with fan engines and boilers, together with a later acquired electrical installation being dismantled in February, 1956.**
1891 – “Messrs Saywell and Wilson are about to sink a shaft for coal immediately on the western side of the Sth Clifton railway station. Expect to reach coal at 150 ft.” (Nthn Star, Lismore, 4/3/1891)
1891 – About 50 men employed and 12,000 cfm air. (DoMAR 1891)
1892 – Production; 70,000 tons. Manning; 100 u/g & 20 on the surface. (DoMAR 1892)
1893 – 30,000 cfm air via two separate currents. Production; 50,000 tons. Manning; 117 u/g & 16 on the surface. (DoMAR 1893)
1894 - 58,000 cfm air via two separate currents. Production; 78,200 tons. Manning; 123 u/g & 11 on the surface. (DoMAR 1894)
1895 – 80,000 cfm air in two separate splits. (DoMAR 1895)
1896 – 12th Mar. Mr. Robert Wragg appointed manager of the Sth Clifton Colliery, vice W. Wilson, deceased. 60,000 cfm air in two separate splits. Production; 54,965 tons. Manning 83 u/g and 11 on surface. (DoMAR 1896)
1897 – South Clifton Coal Mining Co. Office: 16 York St. Proprietor: Thos. Saywell, 16 York St. Sydney. Mine Manager: Robert Wragg. Development: “This mine has been in operation since 1892 the output for the last 12 months over 81,000 tons.” Address: South Clifton. (“The Mines of NSW” 1897. Dept of Mines)
1898 - Production; 50,071 tons. Manning; 68 u/g & 9 on the surface. (DoMAR 1898)
1899 – South Clifton Colliery, Owner; Thomas Saywell, Manager; Robert Wragg, U/m; John Hopkinson, Bulli Seam, 145’ x 10’ dia d/cast shaft 114’ x 12’ dia u/cast shaft, Walker’s improved Schiele fan (20’dia x 5’ wide)72,000 cfm. Production; 73,997 tons. Manning; 100 u/g and 18 on the surface. (DoMAR 1899)
Two old tunnels located in area adjoining eastern portion of Sth Clifton. Abandoned from outset – cinder. ???
1900 – the installation of 66 beehive coke ovens commenced, 42 south of the pit head, 24 north
1900 - Production; 50,207 tons. Manning; 115 u/g & 25 on the surface. 24th November, Mr Thos Saywell notifies DoM that Mr John Wilson has been appointed mine manager, vice Robert Wragg, resigned. (DoMAR 1900)
1901 - Production; 79,191 tons. Manning; 141 u/g & 27 on the surface. (DoMAR 1901)
1902, July – the company changed to Saywell’s Colliery Company Limited**
1902 - Production; 106,292 tons. Manning; 168 u/g & 31 on the surface. (DoMAR 1902)
1903 – 28th July, the Secretary of Saywell’s Collieries (Limited) gives notice that the South Clifton Colliery would be closed from August 1st until further notice. (DoMAR 1903)
1903 – the company changed to the South Clifton Coal Mining Company Limited.**
1903 - Production; 64,084 tons. Manning; 169 u/g & 25 on the surface. (DoMAR 1903)
1904 – Fatality – 20th April; Samuel Poole, struck on head by small piece of coal. (DoMAR 1904)
1904 – Manning; 167u/g, 27 surface.
1905 – Operating with J. Wilson as Mine Manager and John Hopkinson as undermanager. (DoMAR 1905)
1905 – Manning; 154u/g, 31 surface.
1906 - Manager: J. Wilson, U/m: John Hopkinson. (DoMAR 1906)
1906 – Fatality – 1st November; Edward Power, 26, shiftman, suffocated by gases produced by shot firing in a rising stone drive. (DoMAR 1906)
<1907 – the New South Clifton Coal Mining Company takes over operations.
1907 – A new tunnel commenced to the north west of current Wombarra Station becoming the New Tunnel Colliery. (Sth Clifton Tunnel Mine)
1907 – 16th February, John Wilson, Manager, notifies DoM of commencing a prospecting drive at Scarborough. (DoMAR 1907) – Sth Clifton Tunnel
1907 – Multiple fatalities -13th April; Michael A. Cavanagh, 36, Joseph Horder, 30, Joseph Billington, 24, Arthur Selby,19, killed by roof fall from a new tunnel. This tunnel was only some 11 yards into the seam approx ½ mile south of the colliery. The Manager is charged with manslaughter [no Gen Rule 4 inspection] however he is acquitted. (DoMAR, 1907)
1907 – An inquest was held in the Scarborough Hotel into the death of four miners killed by a rock fall in the South Clifton Colliery. (The West Australian 8/05/1907 p8)
Scarborough Hotel – www.australianbeers.com/pubs/scarborough
1907 – 13th July, Mr A. J. Small, Secretary to the South Clifton Coal Company, notified the DoM that the name of the new tunnel in connection with the South Clifton Colliery would be “South Clifton tunnel” (DoMAR 1907)
1908 – South Clifton; Owner: Thomas Saywell, Manager: J. Wilson, U/m: John Hopkinson
1908 – South Clifton Tunnel; Owner: Thomas Saywell, Manager: J. Wilson, U/m: R. Vardy
1908 – DoM notified on 27th Apr. by J. Wilson that he had again commenced driving operations in No. 1 Tunnel of Sth Clifton Colliery. (DoMAR 1908)
1909 – Manning; Sth Clifton – 255 u/g, 40 surface. Sth Clifton Tunnel – 32 u/g, 7 surface. Note: Sth Clifton Shaft 145’ deep x 10’ diam. Winding duties. (DoMAR 1909)
Sth Clifton Colliery – c.1915 (Harper)
1910 – Notification of the new travelling road tunnel, Sth Clifton Tunnel mine, opens. (DoMAR 1910)
1910 – Fatality – 21st May, John Meredith, 18, wheeler, killed by fall of roof stone (DoMAR 1910)
Sth Clifton closed in 1921 with a new adit formed 2 km south to be known as the South Clifton Tunnel Colliery.
1911 - Fatality – 18th July, Samuel Hugh McCullough, 28, shiftman, killed by fall of stone (DoMAR 1911)
1912 - Fatality – 9th Feb, James Corbett, 58, miner, killed by fall of stone (DoMAR 1912)
1916 – Fatality – 29th Sept, Walter Winstanley, boiler fireman, caught up in the endless rope pulley (DoMAR 1916)
1917 – Fatality – 12th April, John Gill, 19, miner, killed by fall of roof (DoMAR 1917)
1919 – Notice of Discontinuance and abandonment of South Clifton Colliery received by DoM 3/7/1919. Discontinued due to the influx of surface water caused by the extraction of pillars and the heavy local rain during May. (DoMAR 1919)
1920 – Closure of Saywell’s old 1891 shaft.
1921 – Old Sth Clifton mine closed. (WCC Library)
1926 – South Clifton Tunnel reported as having 462 men employed u/g, 58 at the surface. (DoMAR 1926)
1929 – Fatality – 19th Jun shiftman, Joseph Henness, 42 yrs, killed by fall of roof stone.(Ill Merc. 21/06/1929 p16) [also reported as 48 yrs old & as J. Hennessy (33 yrs) by other sources]
1929 – Fatality – 26th Jun wheeler, W. Anderson, received lacerations to two of the fingers of his right hand, dying of blood poisoning about a month later.
1930 – Various sources report that the Scarborough Mine is to shed 375 men and the South Clifton Mine, some 400 men, due to loss of coal markets?
1931 – “Some 70 men are to be taken on by Scarborough Mine” (South Coast Times & Wollongong Argus, 26/06/1931 p10)
1939 – The Royal Commission on Health and Safety in Mines is told by Inspector R. P. Jack of the Mines Dept. that Scarborough Colliery is to be closed down and offered for sale, having not made a profit in the last seven or eight years. (Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners Advocate, 10/06/1939 p13)
1946 – South Clifton Tunnel - No. of days worked, Jan – Dec = 190. (DoMAR 1946)
1947 - South Clifton Tunnel - No. of days worked, Jan – Dec = 193. (DoMAR 1947)
1948 - South Clifton Tunnel - No. of days worked, Jan – Dec = 184. (DoMAR 1948)
1948 – Aug 27th, South Clifton Colliery taken over by the Joint Coal Board
1949 - South Clifton Tunnel - No. of days worked, Jan – Dec = 168. (DoMAR 1949)
1949 – 26th Oct, a fire occurred at the No. 14 district compressor, the compressor stalling and the motor continuing to run, igniting the slipping vee belts. No safety valve was fitted. (DoMAR 1949)
1950 – “Pit ponies work their final shift, Frid. 22/09/1950. From Mon. 25/09/1950 the mine will be “trackless” with Joy Loaders, Samson Coal Cutters, battery powered shuttle cars and conveyor belts being introduced.” (Ill Merc. 23/09/1950)
1950 – South Clifton Tunnel on inspection list, also DoM obtained a conviction against the mechanical engineer for breach of Reg. 63, Sched. 6. No. of days worked, Jan – Dec = 188. (DoMAR 1950)
1953 – Joy 1CM continuous miner introduced to mining industry. (www.statemine.org.au)
1954 – Reported that South Clifton Colliery (formerly known as Scarborough Colliery) is up for sale. Currently producing 500 tons/day with 200 men for AI&S Pty Ltd and the NSW Gov. Railways (Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners Advocate, 5/1/1954, p3.ex Trove)
1954 – The Joint Coal Board relinquishes control of South Clifton Colliery selling to an unnamed private owner. (SMH 6/2/1954, p14. ex Trove)
1954 – South Clifton Colliery idle on first day of new management [8/2/1954] (Ill Merc, 9/2/1954, ex Trove)
1954 – Mechanical pillar extraction commences at Sth Clifton Colliery.
1954 – “50 yr old South Clifton Colliery is undergoing a complete mechanisation. U/g is mechanised, trackless mining with conveyors from face to main haulage way to be loaded into skips. This is soon to be replaced by a 2 mile conveyor belt, claimed to be the longest installed belt in Australia, to bring coal direct to the surface.” (Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners Advocate, 17/12/1954, p2. Ex Trove)
1956 – The equipment and buildings removed from the original eastern shaft.
1957 - Joy 1CM continuous miner introduced to Sth Clifton Colliery. (This m/c was donated to the “State mine” museum, Lithgow, by North Bulli Collieries P/L upon closure in 1973)
1960, 1st June – Excelsior Collieries and Coke Works – delisted from ASX and taken over by South Clifton Colliery Pty Limited.
1961 – Flooding at surface
1961 – 500t u/g bin with belt drift feed installed in the roof of the main belt junction. (DoMAR 1961)
1969/70 – Extensive reserves added to the western leases. Two shafts required to ventilate if to be viable. A raise borer is imported from USA and 2 x 7’ raise bores drilled. (DoMAR1969/70)
1969/70 – 12th Dec, a small fire occurred on a small control circuit transformer u/g. (DoMAR 1969/70)
1969/70 – 23rd Jan, a small fire occurred on a damaged AC trailing cable u/g. (DoMAR 1969/70)
1969/70 – 18th Feb, a fire occurred about the brake assembly on a d/head u/g. (DoMAR 1969/70)
1970/71 – Raise bores suffering water inflows and wall collapse, starting to affect the shafts. The future of the colliery is dependent on the satisfactory operation of these shafts. (DoMAR1970/71)
1971 – 13th May, a fire occurred on a battery charging unit. (DoMAR 190/71)
1972 – Reported that Clutha Development Pty Ltd is about to cease production at South Clifton Colliery and close down North Bulli #2 Colliery (associated with Sth Clifton) due to loss of contracts. 280 men would lose their jobs. (Canberra Times, 29/03/1972, p9. Ex Trove)
1972 – A dispute between the owners and employees of South Clifton Mine which led to the men illegally entering the mine and switching on the power on three consecutive days, is resolved. A meeting leads to the men being restored to the payroll and re-entering the mine to commence dismantling of the u/g equipment. (Canberra Times, 11/05/1972, p10. ex Trove).
1972 – Mine owners, Clutha, close down Sth Clifton Colliery (WCC Library)
1972 – 11th May, Notice of Discontinuance for South Clifton and North Bulli No.2 Collieries is received by the Dept. of Mines (DoMAR 1972).
1972 – George Oden Jennings, ex CEO of Clutha Development, organises the establishment of “Mining & Metals Corporation of Australia Pty Ltd”
1973 - George Oden Jennings, ex CEO of Clutha Development, organises the establishment of “North Bulli Collieries Pty Ltd” purchasing South Clifton, Excelsior and North Bulli Collieries from Clutha Developments Pty Ltd.
1973 – New owners, Mining & Metal Corporation of Australia re-opens Sth Clifton Colliery (WCC Library)
1973 – 1st Sep, Notice of Recommencement of North Bulli No. 2 Colliery is received by the Dept. of Mines. (DoMar1974).
1973 – 28th Nov, Notice of Recommencement of South Clifton Colliery is received by the Dept. of Mines, as is the Notice of Discontinuance of North Bulli No. 2 Colliery. (DoMar1974).
1975 – Production continues from the area of the “abandoned raise bore shafts”. (DoMAR 1975)
1976 – 18th Nov, a collapsed roller caused a minor fire on an u/g conveyor. (DoMAR 1976/7)
1983 – Sth Clifton closes down permanently (WCC Library)
1983 – South Clifton Mine Car donated to the Illawarra Light Railway Museum Society.
1984 – Acquired by Kembla Coal & Coke Pty Ltd (had produced 2 Rehab Plans 1991 – 1995)
1992 – July, questions raised in Parliament as to the South Clifton Coal Waste Dump and the Stanwell Park Viaduct Collapse in 1985.
1998 – Discussions in Parliament as to Kembla Coal and Coke’s responsibilities re the stabilisation of the old South Clifton mine site.
LC House Papers 51st Parliament – Public Works and Services
** Referenced Eardley, Gifford c1968, “Transporting the Black Diamond – Book 2”
Companies related to South Clifton Colliery:-
Illawarra Coal Company Ltd
Saywell’s Collieries Ltd
South Clifton Coal Mining Company Ltd
North Bulli Collieries Ltd
Clutha Development Pty Ltd
Mining and Metals Corporation of Australia Pty Ltd
Kembla Coal & Coke Pty Ltd
The print media of the period commonly refers to the South Clifton Colliery as the Scarborough Colliery, similarly the South Clifton Tunnel mine as the Scarborough Tunnel mine.