Sth. Kembla Colliery
(Aka Ocean Steam Coal, Ocean View, Fleming’s and Wongawilli colliery)
1888 – 1950
Opened: 1888 (R/way History of West Dapto)
Location: Por. 125 Parish of Kembla (adjoining Wongawilli colliery to the south)
Owner: acquired by G & C Hoskins
Managers: M. J. Robson; James Fletcher; William Jackson; J. W. Brown;
Closed: Incorporated into Wongawilli Colliery - 1950
Redundant: Vent fan shut down & removed - 1972
1888 – William Osborne writes to object to the South Kembla Coal Co. advertising for the “clearing of 20 acs of Mt Kembla Reserve”. (Ill Merc, 20/04/1888, p2 ex Trove)
1888 – Advert:- “Tenders are invited for the supply of 150 yards of sand for the South Kembla Coal Co. screens” Apply J. T. Burrell, Church Hill, Wollongong. (Ill Merc, 22/8/1888 p3, ex Trove)
1888 – Advert: - “Tenders called for rubble work at the South Kembla Coal Co. screens”. (Ill Merc, 26/8/1888, p2, ex Trove)
1889 – Fatality – “Accident at South Kembla Colliery on Wed (6/2/1889); Coffee killed, Stapleton seriously injured. The trolley on which Coffee & Stapleton had been riding was thrown off the tracks after encountering a sleeper on the line. (Evening News, Sydney. 8/2/1889, p4 ex Trove).
“3 miles SW from Mt Kembla, Portion 125 Parish of Kembla, prospecting operations carried out in area held by Ocean View Coal Co. 1890 a tunnel 7 yds into 17’ seam. Now (1915) called South Kembla Colliery”
<1890 – Lease obtained for MP8, Parish of Kembla, County of Camden by W. R. Styles and known as Ocean Steam Coal Company. No operating mine was established.
Ca. 1890 – Ocean View Coal Company purchased by the Illawarra Harbour & Land Corporation (IH&LC) with plans to connect by rail with Lake Illawarra as an export port.
Act of Parliament, 1890 – Illawarra Harbour & Land Corporation was to dredge a channel across Lake Illawarra, build jetties on the western shore and construct a railway from Elizabeth to Ocean Steam Colliery. Ocean Steam Colliery was located in Portion 225, Parish of Kembla, and some half mile west of the old West Dapto Public School. The line was to run southerly into Portion 60, crossing Mullet Creek and the rail line some half mile south of Dapto Railway Stn. then on to Lake Illawarra between Elizabeth and Tallawarra Points. (Reynolds, D. “The Railways of West Dapto”)
1909 – The railway was completed but the coal did not meet expectations and the company was liquidated in June 1909.
1910 – The IH&LC leases were acquired by A. J. Fleming who prospected the area.
1912 – South Kembla’s owner, J. A. Fleming, notifies DoM of Mr M. J. Robson as mine manager from 1/3/1912, replaced by G. Oyston from 6/7/1912 (DoMAR 1912)
1912 – A Department of Mines map shows a Fleming’s Tunnel adjacent to Portion 125. A report in April 1916 states that coal was transported from Fleming’s Mine by road to Dapto and railed to Sydney for Pyrmont P.S.
1923 – Local press (June) – screens and a conveyor were being installed at Fleming’s Mine in West Dapto. The manager was a Mr. Fletcher. (July) Expansions to Fleming’s Mine were well advanced.
1923 – Advt. – 2 Carpenters wanted for Sth Kembla Colliery. Apply G. D. Ansell Dapto (SCT & W’Gong Argus 15/06/1923 p12)
1923 – H. W. Buck, who held the adjacent PM7 lease, acquired the MP8 lease from Fleming and formed the South Kembla Coal & Coke Co, building a skipway from near the mine portal in Portion 125 to the screens and bins in Portion 225 and mined the Wongawilli seam in Portion 125. (O.H.M. Consultants, “Strategic Management Plan for Coal Mining Sites of the Illawarra.”)
1923 – New Company Register – South Kembla Colliery and Coke Company Ltd registers with a capital of £50,000 in £1 shares. Directors are Horace Walter Buck and Donald Archibald Cameron. (SMH 11/12/1923 p11)
1923 – The Tongarra seam is mined in Portions 125 and 262 by Buck who also rehabilitated the old IH&LC railway from Portion 125 to a junction on the AIS railway from the Wongawilli colliery to the NSWGR line at Brownsville. (O.H.M. Consultants, “Strategic Management Plan for Coal Mining Sites of the Illawarra.”)
1923 – Fleming’s mine reopens under the name Sth Kembla mine. (DoMAR 1923)
1923 – South Kembla reports as having 6 men u/g and 9 men at the surface. Confirmation as to furnace ventilation. (DoMAR 1923)
1924 – Fatality – 12th July 1924 – During the trialling of a new haulage machine with the manager, Mr. James Fletcher in company with Arthur Pinch and Robert Thompson in attendance, Arthur Pinch fell between a spur gear wheel and the concrete floor, suffering fatal injuries. Only married for 12 months, his widow received £500 compensation from the courts. (Ill Merc. 18/07/1924)
1924 – South Kembla reports as having 6 men u/g and 8 men at the surface. (DoMAR 1924)
1924 – An incline from the adit to the old Illawarra Harbour & Land Corporation rail line west of Dapto and connected to the Wongawilli branch line was installed. Hoskins Iron & Steel locos hauled the coal from the mine to Brownsville. – (C.C.Singleton)
1925 – Complaints of irregular payments to men at Sth Kembla Colliery. (Newcastle Mining Herald & Miners Advocate 06/04/1925)
1925 – Mr. Jackson is the newly appointed manager of Sth Kembla Colliery. (SCT & W’Gong Argus 31/07/1925)
1925 – South Kembla reports as having 7 men u/g and 10 men at the surface. (DoMAR 1925)
1926 – Sth Kembla Colliery & Coke Co. Ltd. applies for permission to enter part Por 125, Parish Kembla held by James Fletcher, for the purpose of driving a tunnel. The mine manager, Mr. William Jackson, produced a proposed plan to the Warden’s Court showing working MP8 from Por 262, thus isolating part of #6 seam. The Warden grants the application. (Ill Merc. 09/06/1926 p8)
1926 – South Kembla reports as having 9 men u/g and 5 men at the surface. A new tunnel is being driven in the #5 seam. (DoMAR 1926)
1927 – South Kembla reports as having 7 men u/g and 8 men at the surface. (DoMAR 1927)
1928 – “Sth Kembla Coal & Coke has been conducting tunnelling operations in the Hartley (sic) seam. Two tunnels successfully being driven for household and manufacturing coal.” (SCT & W’Gong Argus 20/04/1928)
1928 – South Kembla reports as having 17 men u/g and 7 men at the surface. (DoMAR 1928)
1928 – Purchased an old Sydney steam tram loco to operate their section of line
1928 – Advt. – Wanted, a Deputy for Sth Kembla Colliery (SCT & W’Gong Argus 10/08/1928)
1928 – Advt. – Wanted, contractor to build a Coal Box at Sth Kembla Colliery plus: Wanted, a Shoeing Smith. (SCT & W’Gong Argus 07/09/1928)
1928 – Sth Kembla Colliery requests costings from Illawarra Central Council to install an electrical supply. (Ill Merc. 16/11/1928 p15)
1929 – Supreme Court - A “wind-up” Order is made against Sth Kembla C & C Ltd stemming from non-payment of debts. Liquidator appointed is C. F. W. Lloyd. (SMH 24/09/1929 p7)
1929– South Kembla reports as having 18 men u/g and 13 men at the surface. (DoMAR 1929)
1929 – Wongawilli Colliery reports as having been acquired by Australian Iron and Steel Coy. Ltd. (DoMAR 1929)
1932 – An “Authority to Enter” Mr A Swan’s property to prospect for coal and shale is granted to Mr. Brown, manager of the South Kembla Colliery and Coke Ltd as agent for Mr Charles Caminiti. (part Ill Merc. 05/02/1932 p5)
1932 – 24th March – Purchased by Mr. Charles Caminiti [Cam Bros & Co] the owner of State Trawlers with the purpose of obtaining an independent supply of bunker coal for his trawlers, but unable to make the colliery viable, reselling the mine back to AIS. (part Ill Merc. 05/02/1932 p5)
1932 – Health Inspector reports that a Mr. P. Humel has installed two septic tanks for two cottages at Sth Kembla Colliery not in accordance with his permits. (Ill Merc. 12/08/1932 p2)
1933 – Sth Kembla owners are charged and fined for breaching Section 53A CMRA i.e. “appointing a contractor [Mr. J. W. Brown] as the Mine Manager”. (DoMAR 1933)
1933 – Advt. - Price for the erection of 6 bail stalls and milk room at Sth Kembla Colliery. Apply C. Tree (SCT & W’Gong Argus 18/08/1933)
1933 – Notice of workings temporarily discontinued (DoMAR 1933)
1933 – Sold by Cam Bros to AI&S who then integrates it into their Wongawilli Colliery.
1935 – All plant removed from colliery (ARHS Bulletin No. 47, 1941)
Incorporated into Wongawilli Colliery leasehold and workings.
- K. Reynolds, 2001 - The Railways of West Dapto.
1938 – Advt. – Tenders called for the removal of the rail track from Sth Kembla Colliery to Kanahooka Rd. ~ 5 miles. (Ill Merc. 06/05/1938 p12)
(ex Trove Library)
1950 – Wongawilli 1 North workings hole into the old South Kembla Mine and thus to the surface to create a new return airway for the mine. A new mine fan is installed at the South Kembla Mine Site. The original Wongawilli fan located at the pit top becomes redundant and is shut down.
1972 – A vertical shaft, axial flow fan is installed on the new Wongawilli No. 1 Shaft, making the fan at the South Kembla Mine site redundant and is shut down the portal reverting to an intake.
2004/5 – South Kembla Is included in a feasibility study for the rehabilitation of Elouera Colliery by the Illawarra Coal Pty Ltd.
Photos taken during investigations for mine site rehabilitation. (B. Sheldon 10/02/2005)
Ex Motor Bdg, Fan base & drift entry. (2005) Entry to fan drift. (2005)