(see Lang’s; South Kembla; Elouera; Delta; NRE Wongawilli; Wongawilli Coal Mine)
Location: West Dapto
Orig. Owner: G & C Hoskins Ltd
PRE HOSKINS TAKE OVER.
1880 – 1890 – J. Biggar holds land grant Portion 294 and digging coal.
1880 – Harper reports prospecting tunnels on “late Mr. J. Biggar’s property on Portion 294. Several in Bulli seam and another in the Balgownie seam.
* late Mr Biggar??
** were these above the current portals in Portion 255?
1888 – An extract from the Examiners of Coal-fields Annual Report refers to prospecting operations by a J. Biggar on his property near Dapto, now called Wongawilla (sic).
“About 120 chains SSW of the foregoing, in Portion 294 Parish of Kembla, considerable prospecting had been carried out. “
Professor David reports on prospecting operations by J. Biggar: - “On the property of the late Mr J. Biggar 2, the tunnels are in a better state of repair…………” (pp102)
2 now called Wongawilla (sic).
Notes from l. F. Harper, “Geology and Mineral Resources of the Southern Coal-field”, 1915.
1892 – Dept. of Mines and Agriculture - “Notice is given that authorisation to mine is granted (No. 765) dated 28th April 1892, to lessees, Thomas Bertram and Robert Biggar: portion No.5, parishes of Wongawilli and Kembla within water reserve No. 57, 1280 acres; to mine for coal” “This authorisation will be cancelled if it is not taken delivery of within 30 days”. (SMH 27/09/1892)
1896 – “The Bulli directors of the Wongawilli coal mine, situated near Dapto, visited the mine today. Great progress is being made with the main drive. Two other seams have been discovered at 3ft and 2’6” respectively. The #4 seam has been driven in several yards in coal of splendid quality. Operations have disclosed the presence of a seam of hematite iron ore 15in thick.” (SMH 26/10/1896 p5).
1906 – Andrew Lang applies for a grant in MP6 previously held by Biggar, to develop a coal mine. He had been prospecting the area and had a tunnel driven into the outcrop.
1907 - A coal seam at West Dapto [Portion 263, Parish of Kembla, County of Camden, south of and adjacent to J. Biggar’s Portion 294 – B.S.], “Lang’s Prospecting Tunnel” was being prospected in 1907 by Mr. Andrew Lang – inspected by L. F. Harper (Gov. Geological Surveyor) in 1907 and reported in his 1915 report stating that the seam had not previously been worked by any South Coast colliery. This tunnel had been driven to 53 yds. the first 16 yds. north then north west.
Another tunnel 10 chains (200m) north on Portion 264 (Biggar’s grant) and yet another some 5 chains (100m) further north.
1908 – Jan. “There is the possible development of a coal seam some 2-1/2 miles immediately west of Dapto. The Wongawilli Coal Syndicate recently secured 1280 acres of leasehold and 150 acres of freehold. They have been working property for 6 months” (13th Jan - SMH)
1908 – 17th Jan, Mr. A. Lang appoints Mr. Frank Andrews as manager of Wongawilli Colliery and notifies the DoM that development work is being carried out. (DoMAR 1908)
1908 - The local press (Illawarra Mercury) in 1908 reports that there is a strong possibility that the Wongawilli mine may be sold to a powerful company prepared to install a branch line to Brownsville.
1908 – Oct, It was reported “on good authority” that Wongawilli Coal Mine has practically been sold. Mr Andrew Hore’s farm at the foot of the hill has been purchased. (SMH 23/10/1908 p11).
1909 – Aug. “The opening of a new mine at West Dapto by the NSW Brick Company is progressing. The surveys for the incline are complete, an open cut 25 ft. wide is being put into #3 seam, which is about 16 ft. thick and is in some 60 yds. The Manager, Mr. Hawlett, intends to also open up the #1 and #2 seams. A large plat is being cleared for the entrance and the incline will be about ¾ miles long. A 30 ft. high concrete dam will be installed, with water being pumped up to the top workings. The haulage system will be endless rope. A road has been cut down from the mine through Reen’s Property. (SMH 23/08/1901)
1909 – The Illawarra Mercury, Dec 1909, reports that coal still being mined at Wongawilli with 4 teams employed to haul 11 tons per day to Dapto Railway Station.
1910 – The Illawarra Mercury, Feb 1910, reports that night and day shifts employed, 200 tons per week, 40 horses 10 bullocks hauling coal to Dapto Railway Station.
1910 – March, work is partially suspended and draymen stood down – company intended to reduce costs by installing an incline from the tunnel mouth to the lower level with rail to the Government rail link (this infers that previously coal was hauled from mine entrance by road).
1911 - #1 seam has a tunnel 100 yds. (91m) #2 seam driven for 70 yds. (64m) and #3 seam, No. 2 Tunnel, is 85 yds. (78m) (westwards.
1911 – Prospecting tunnels are in 2,000 ft. (610m) with 1,000 tons at the mouth. (SMH 10/7/1911)
1912 – Approximately £4,000 has been spent on opening up Wongawilli colliery, unable to proceed further without outside capital. (SMH 29/1/1912)
1912 – Wongawilli mine still owned by Alexander Lang, with F. Andrews as manager.
1913 – Alexander Lang takes out Mineral Lease No. 321 for MP6, registering it with the Dept. of Mines on 22nd December, 1913.
1915 – W. A. Lang of Balgownie lodges an application for 640 acres lease in parishes Kembla & Wongawilli to mine coal and shale. (SMH 12/6/1915)
1915 – Only 7 men employed.
HOSKINS TAKE OVER
1916 - Wongawilli Colliery, owned by a Wollongong and Dapto Syndicate, is purchased by Messrs G & C Hoskins and Sons of Lithgow. The property is of 300 acres with an adjacent farm being purchased on which to erect workmen’s cottages. Two large dams have already been commenced for water to supply the Cokeworks, for coke to supply Lithgow works. (A stronger coke than one made from Lithgow coal is required) (SMH 28/06/01916)
1916 – Messrs. G & C Hoskins are laying down a large coke making plant at Wongawilli for their blast furnaces at Lithgow. (DoMAR 1916)
Hoskins improves the colliery, establishing a washery (25% ->14% ash) and commences a row of 40 beehive coke ovens at the foot of the hill below the mine adit.
Dams are excavated, buildings constructed.
A Power House is constructed to drive the conveyors, pumps, electric locos and lighting being extended during the following decade.
A new portal is established as the main haulage tunnel.
Coal is lowered down the hillside from the mine adit to the washery via a self-acting skip incline (opened in 1916) with rope haulage on 2’-10” gge track.
The men walk from the bottom to the top with no transport facilities available.
In 1916 Hoskins purchases a second hand, standard gauge, Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 saddle tank loco formerly built for the British Tasmanian Charcoal Iron Co circa 1876. The little loco was refurbished and named “Wonga”, being used to construct the line to Wongawilli.
A rail line is built from the washery to Brownsville, opening on 25th October 1916 and in November 1917 coke was being railed to Lithgow from Wongawilli.(Epps 1987)
1916 – Duncan & party secure 3500 acres (Central Illawarra coal mine) to the south of the Wongawilli mine which was purchased by Messrs Hoskins & Sons. (SMH 29/7/1916)
1916 – Wongawilli Colliery reports employing 10 men underground and 75 above ground. Mr. Morgan Evans is the Mine Manager (DoMAR 1916)
1917 - Wongawilli Colliery reports employing 18 men underground and 32 above ground. Mr. Morgan Evans is the Mine Manager. Notice is received on 14th January by the DoM that the Wongawilli Mine is now owned by Hoskins Coal and Coke Company. (DoMAR 1917)
1917 – 1 x 300kW generating set (new) installed in the Power House
1 x 300 kW generating set (ex Pyrmont PS) installed in the Power House
1917 – March, a contract is let for a 4 mile tunnel.
1917 – August, 20 out of 40 coke ovens completed and in use. 32’ x 7’ with the waste gases heating boilers for electricity production. The charge will be between 15 and 20 tons, under the control of Mr. S. Poole. No. 3 seam is being worked, 16’ in height. A new haulage road is being driven, currently 900 yds in. Mr. Evans is the general manager. Access from Brownsville is via Darkes Rd with hopes of a more direct route in the future. (SCT & W’Gong Argus 10/08/1917, p20 ex Trove)
1918 – A coal crusher is installed. (April 1918)
1918 – Total workforce 85 (43 u/g).
1919 – Company donates land at Wongawilli to Parish of St Luke’s for a church hall.
1920’s – Miners/squatters cottages established on Bankbook Hill.
1922 – Wongawilli colliery is to be re-opened after being closed for 4 months. 52 coke ovens are now available, a new automatic loader installed and new boilers fitted to the power house. An endless rubber belt has been installed to convey washery reject to a gully above the power house. (Singleton Argus, 11/05/1922)
1923 – Total workforce is reported as 133 (47 u/g).
1924 – Hoskins purchases 400 acres at Port Kembla to erect a blast furnace.
1924 – Total workforce is reported as 176 (94 u/g).
Additions to the coke oven battery circa 1923
1925 – A further 40 coke ovens are added.
1925 – Total workforce 243 (143 u/g).
1926 – The Water Board decides against any further objections to the Hoskins Iron & Steel Co. Ltd extending its Wongawilli coal mine under the Avon Reservoir (SMH 2/12/1926)
1926 – 1 x 300kW generating set ex PWD Pt Kembla Power House added to Wongawilli Power House.
1926 - Total workforce 145 (93 u/g).
1926 – Sth Kembla Colliery drives a new tunnel into the #5 seam. (DoMAR 1926)
1927 – Gas is discovered in what was previously regarded a gas-free mine. An order is issued for the use of safety lamps in the affected section. (SMH 19/02/1927, p15)
1927 - Hoskins commissions a blast furnace at Port Kembla.
1927 – The Wongawilli Coke Oven battery increases from 80 to 120.
AIS FORMED – BLAST FURNACE INSTALLED AT PORT KEMBLA
1928 – AI&S Ltd formed in May becomes owner of Wongawilli Colliery and coke ovens, Pt Kembla Works, Lithgow Ironworks etc.
1928 – Total workforce 316 (206 u/g).
1928? - 1 North development headings encounter the Wongawilli Fault and are stopped.
AI & S starts the new blast furnace at Pt Kembla in August 1928 with Wongawilli coke
1929 – Original western development headings stopped by igneous intrusion.
1929 – 2 x new tunnels opened at Wongawilli, 1 x #6 seam and another in seam already worked but further south (dumper house area?). 3 x haulage engines and 8 x pumps in use.
1929 – Total workforce 350 (255 u/g).
1929 – Notice of change of ownership was received by the DoM that Australian Iron & Steel Coy Ltd had acquired Wongawilli Colliery (DoMAR 1929)
1933 – South Kembla Colliery (Portion 125) is purchased and absorbed into Wongawilli leasehold.
BHP ACQUIRES AIS
1933 – Fatality – 12th Aug, R. Middleton, shunter, crushed after falling in front of a moving skip set (DoMAR 1933)
1935 – BHP acquires AIS including Wongawilli Colliery and the Port Kembla steelworks from G & C Hoskins Ltd.
1935 – Fatality – 12th Apr, William Robertson, 17yrs old, crushed between skip sets. (DoMAR 1935)
1936 – Second set of western development headings (off 2 North) encounter cinder and are stopped.
1936 – Longest endless rope coal haulage incline in the world established at Wongawilli, the haulage engine installed underground close to the surface. Installed to lower full skips from inside the mine to the tippler at the bottom of the incline.
1937 – 2 North development headings encounter Wongawilli Fault and are stopped.
1938-1939 – Development of Main 1 North Headings
1938 – 2 x mechanical coal cutters introduced into Wongawilli Colliery.
1938 – Coke ovens closed down then reopened within same year.
Coke Ovens circa 1938 - 1940
1939 – Mt Pleasant Loco #2 transferred from Mt Pleasant to Wongawilli Coke Ovens.
The opening of new by-products coke ovens opened at Pt Kembla in Jan 1938 led to washed coal being transported directly from Wongawilli to Port Kembla and the Wongawilli coke ovens shut down, opening again between June 1938 and July 1945 due to the increase demands of the war. (Reynolds, D. K. “The Railways of West Dapto” Dec 2001. (With addition of several entries ex daily newspapers)
~1939 – “Daylight Portal” is driven out to surface from Main 1 North (Portion 256). Small platform established. Rails found (not in situ). B.S. 2007
Wongawilli Washery circa 1938 - 1940
1940 – 33 kV Tx Line from Pt Kembla steelworks installed to Wongawilli (July 18th), Keira and Bulli Collieries.
1940 – No. 1 Man Transport Train (endless rope system) installed on the incline.
Incline circa 1938 - 1940
1942 – A Trolley Wire Locomotive System installed to supplement 1 North Direct Rope Haulage (30cwt skips filled by contract miners).
1943 – A 3’-6” gge rail track installed for track mounted coal cutters.??
1943 – Mt Pleasant Loco #1 transferred from Mt. Pleasant to Wongawilli Coke Ovens.
1945 – Coke Ovens shut down and demolished. (see 1948??)
1946 – Development north off Main Western Development completed.
1946 - Development to S/West off Main Western Development completed.
1946 - Development of “First Left”? (inbye main fault) completed. (no pillar extraction)
1946 – Coal mined at Nebo Colliery road transported to Wongawilli Washery for treatment.
1946 – Wongawilli Colliery works 217 days during 1946
1946 – Fire reported in a coal cutters trailing cable (DoMAR 1946)
MECHANISED MINING INTRODUCED
1947 - Mechanised mining commenced using Jeffrey cutters, loaders, battery locomotives and 10 ton Differential Mine Cars. (Jeffrey equipment was manufactured under licence in Australia at BHP Newcastle and AI & S Port Kembla Works).
1947 – 1 North 500HP Direct Rope Haulage installed. Rake of 10 empty 10 ton mine cars lowered under gravity to 1 North Marshalling Yard and 10 full cars hauled to surface for rotary dumping at the new Dumper House.
1947 – Incline and Underground Endless Rope Haulage System replaced by an Automatic Friction Drive Incline Hoist comprising 2 x 15 ton track mounted self-dumping trippers on the incline. The system operated on 1 pair of 15 ton cars loading at pit top while another pair was self-dumping at the incline bottom.
1947 – Fatality – 15th May, Eric Louis Menzies, truck driver, crushed between two lorries at the washery (DoMAR 1947)
1947 - Wongawilli Colliery works 219 days during 1947
1948 – Pillar extraction in development to S/West off Main Western Development completed.
1948 – Drawing & screed showing Dumper House dumping operation procedures. (using 8 full cars)
1948 – Wongawilli Washery ceases operations and is demolished. The Coal Preparation Plant commences operations at AI & S Port Kembla.
1948 – Wongawilli Coke Ovens cease operations and are demolished.
1948 – 26 tonne Malcolm Moore diesel locomotives introduced on main haulage.
1948 - Wongawilli Colliery works 201 days during 1948
INTRODUCTION OF COUNTERBALANCED INCLINE
1949 – Counterbalanced coal haulage incline system installed (using same track).
1949 – Original Endless Rope Haulage System removed from service.
1949 - Wongawilli Colliery works 191 days during 1949
1950 – Power House refurbished.
1950 – Drawings sighted re proposed new bathroom (lower level) BS
1950 – Drawings sighted re proposed new Timber Hoist (upper level?) BS
NEW MAIN FAN INSTALLATION
1950 – 1 North workings hole into 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.
1950 - Fatality – 1st July, J. L. Moutan, Asst to the Manager, crushed between a mine car and side timbers. (DoMAR 1950)
1950 - Wongawilli Colliery works 229 days during 1950
1951 – Drawings sighted relating to 145” Aerex Fan (e.g. bearing pedestal etc.) BS
1951 – Drawings sighted relating to proposed New Offices (assumed current Control Bdg) BS
1951 – Acquisition of 1 x 85 ton AIS diesel-electric loco plus 10 x 30 ton wagons to haul coal from Wongawilli to Pt Kembla steel works.
INTRODUCTION OF CONTINUOUS MINERS
1952 – October, Joy 4JCM [continuous miner] placed in service (one of first three 4JCMs in Australia)
1952 - Wongawilli Colliery works 231 days during 1952
1955 – Drawing of Stadia Survey between Rangers Portal and Loading Bin. B.S.
1957 – Joy 10SC 415Volt AC shuttle cars placed in service.
1957 – 1958 – Pillars extracted from original western development (west of railway).
1958 – Drawing shows coal wagon incline and #1 man transport incline. B.S.
1958 – The installation of panel and trunk conveyor belts commences.
1958 – “Wongawilli “method of pillar extraction commences.
1959 – Drawing shows proposed Decline Drive & Dumper House. B.S.
DECLINE CONVEYOR INSTALLED
1959 – Surface Decline Conveyor installed. 450HP drive, 4,700 feet centre to centre. (Was first conveyor in world designed to lower coal 600 feet in elevation at a rate of 600 tph ROM.)
1959 – Incline 30 ton capacity Friction Hoist taken out of service. (Drive later converted to man transport facility).
1959 December – 1 North underground conveyor commissioned. 450HP drive, 8,700 feet centre to centre, 171 feet lift. 600 tph ROM capacity. (The longest single flight conveyor in Australia at that time). The Dumper House becomes redundant.
1959 – No. 3 seam being worked by 3 continuous miners and 3 conventional units. Daily production averages 1500 tons. (DoMAR 1959)
1959 – All coal is transported in 10 ton mine cars by battery loco or diesel loco to a central marshalling yard then by direct rope haulage to the surface dumper. From there the coal is lowered in 2 pairs of 16 ton hopper wagons by a double acting rope operated decline haulage. As one pair of full cars was lowered the empty cars were raised thereby partially balancing the load on the drive unit, the drive motor being used as a regenerative brake. From the lower discharge point the coal is elevated by conveyor into a 2000 ton storage bin. # (Torr)
1960 – Joy 15SC shuttle cars placed in service.
1960 – Joy 6CM continuous miners placed in service.
1960 – All u/g coal now transported by conveyor belt.
1960 – By end of year the M&M drift from 2 West intakes (#3 seam) to #1 seam has progressed 500 yds. 2 x staple shafts have been completed with a third in progress. (DoMAR 1960)
1961 – Fatality – K. Lapinpuso, rock miner (17/04/1961) (DoMAR 1961)
1961 – Fatality – H. Rodgers, machine man (04/07/1961) (DoMAR 1961)
1961 – Drawing shows proposed Workshop (current 2006) B.S.
1961 – Drawing shows proposed Stairway from top of #2 Man Transport to road level B.S.
1961 – Drawing shows proposed Canteen (bathhouse area) B.S.
1961 - Wongawilli Colliery commences mining a localised thickening in the Bulli (#1) seam.
1961 – Access from #3 seam to #1 seam completed 8/12/1961.
1 x 1:20 M&M Drift of 2,100 ft.
1 x 1:3.5 Belt Drift of 400 ft.
3 staple shafts each 108 ft depth have been concrete lined. 2 are 20’ dia for coal storage, 3rd at 15’ dia for a return.
2nd 2000 ton surface storage bin for #1 seam coal constructed. (DoMAR 1961)
1961 – Diesel locos phased out from coal haulage
1962 – Drawing shows layout of Trolley Wire (control) for #2 Man Transport B.S.
1963 - Drawing shows proposed Office Block (Top of Incline) B.S.
1968 – Drawing shows proposed additions to main bathhouse on lower level. Includes “muster room” area, additional showers (youths) airlocks and offices. B.S.
1969 – Drawing shows proposed Man Transport Shelter for Pit Top
1970 – Jeffrey 120H Heliminer placed in service. (The first 950/1000Volt Jeffrey continuous miner in Australia).
1970 – Ex Friction Incline Haulage System converted to man transport duties (#2 Man Transport).
WONGAWILLI VENTILATION SHAFT
1971 – Wongawilli No. 1 Ventilation Shaft completed. (Sunk adjacent to the Avon Dam).
1972 – A Vertical shaft, axial flow fan installed on Wongawilli No. 1 Shaft. (First fan of this design installed at a coal mine).
1972 – Wongawilli No. 1 Shaft takes over ventilation duties from the fan at South Kembla, allowing this fan to be shut down.
1973 – Drawing shows Electrical Layout for Twin 50 HP Richardson Fans in “K” Panel.
1977 - Mining in the Bulli seam ceases.
No. 3 SEAM PLAN
Announced in February 1991 the plan consists of consolidating three existing mines, Wongawilli, Kemira and Nebo. Mining operations at Kemira will cease with a link to be driven from Nebo to Kemira and the Wongawilli Shortland panel coal transported via the Kemira portal.
Courtesy BHP Coal News Nov 1990
1991 - Mining in the Bulli seam re-commences for the Elouera roadways.
The name Elouera is an aboriginal name for the sharp flakes of stone used by them for cutting and scraping. Elouera can also mean “a pleasant place by the sea”, a word from which Illawarra is derived.
1993 – 1/2/1993 Elouera Colliery is established from the consolidation of Wongawilli, Nebo and Kemira Collieries.
1993 – Elouera Longwall Wall No. 1 commences 3/2/1993
Ventilation is transferred to the two fans on Nebo #4 shaft, down casting via Nebo #3 shaft.
The Wongawilli No1 Shaft, no longer required, is decommissioned and capped but not sealed or backfilled.
Wongawilli No. 1 Ventilation Shaft and Fan - 2005
1999 – 1.81 mill raw tonnes produced
2005 – July, Elouera Colliery ceases production after the extraction of L/wall #10.
2005 – October, renamed Delta Colliery by Delta Mining Co., the new operating company.
2006 – July, Delta commences production from LW 14, completing extraction on 28/11/2006.
2007 – L/Wall 17 is extracted between 28/12/2006 and 22/03/2007.
2007 – Illawarra Coal does not extend Delta’s contract beyond March, 2007.
2007 – December, Gujarat NRE purchases Elouera (and old South Bulli) Colliery from Illawarra Coal renaming the colliery, NRE Wongawilli Colliery.
2011 – Gujarat NRE receives planning approval for a proposed $62mill upgrade and expansion at the Wongawilli mine, together with announcing plans to refurbish Wongawilli’s longwall ca. 2013.
2012 – August, granted a temporary trading halt by the ASX while making a strategic off-take alliance with Jindal Steel & Power.
2013 – Feb, Gujarat NRE Coking Coal receives a $274 mill cash take-over bid from New Delhi based Jindal Steel and Power. Recommends to shareholders to “take no action”.
2013 – March, offer by Jindal @ $0.20/share to close on 28/03/2013, already having 19.48% interest in Gujarat
2013 – June, Gujarat places shares in an ASX trading halt.
2013 – November, Wollongong Coal (formerly Gujarat NRE Coal) is raising up to $42.84 mill for NSW operations.
2014 – 25/03/2014, formal name change from Gujarat NRE Coking Coal Ltd to Wollongong Coal Limited.
2014 – March, the Longwall is buried under a roof fall, considered irrecoverable.
2014 – Indian company Jindal Steel & Power takes over from Gujarat NRE, renaming the mine Wongawilli Coal Mine.
2014 – 29th May, the mine is placed on “Care & Maintenance” with only a skeleton workforce of some 15-17 retained after shedding some 152 employees.
2014 – 2nd June, Wollongong Coal announces a $92 million loss in 12 months to March 2014.
2014 – 15th June, Wollongong Coal terminates its supply agreement with former parent company, Gujarat NRE Coke. (Ill Merc. 16/08/2014)
The above data is a compilation of information obtained from various sources in part being kindly supplied by or obtained from;
Mr. Ron Cairns, who commenced his career as an electrical apprentice at Wongawilli Colliery in 1944 and retired while employed as Manager Engineering, BHP Steel Division, Collieries, in 1986.
BHP Steel, Collieries Division, “The Collieries Handbook”, December 1993.
BHP Billiton Records.
# Torr, P.J. 1961” Main Conveyor Installations – Wongawilli Colliery”, a paper delivered to the AusIMM Annual Conference 1961.
- F. Harper, “Geology and Mineral Resources of the Southern Coal-Field”, 1915.
Reynolds, D. K. “The Railways of West Dapto” Dec 2001
Annual Reports of the Dept. of Mines