Welcome to the Coal River Working Party

Welcome. The University of Newcastle, Australia originally formed the Coal River Working Party in February 2003. The Party aims to protect Newcastle’s culturally important landmarks that were placed on the NSW Heritage Register. The overall vision is to create an Interpretive Centre and Heritage Park to express Newcastle’s unique Aboriginal, convict and industrial heritage and a management plan for the entire site.

The CRWP successfully researched and located the historic site of the first convict coal mines at Newcastle. This significant discovery located the site of the first profit ever made in the fledgling colony of New South Wales, at Coal River in 1801. As Newcastle is currently the world’s largest coal export port, this new information places Coal River as, not only the birthplace of the Australian Coal Mining Industry, but also the Australian Economy.

Drilling into the Convict Coal Mines  Inside Australia’s first coal mine

In 2005 the Nobbys Coal River Website was archived by the National Library of Australia as a site of ‘national significance. The drilling on the 26th September 2005 and camera descent on the 30th September 2005 garnered great and unprecedented media coverage for the University and its business and community partners. In October 2006 Monteath and Powys Pty Ltd, the Coal River Working Party’s surveyors won the People and Community section of the 2006 NSW Awards for Excellence in Surveying and Spatial Information for their work in locating and rediscovery of Newcastle’s historic convict coal mines located under Fort Scratchley. An international Software company Extra Dimension Solutions Pty Ltd provided their Software System known as 12D Model for a student project modelling of the Coal River site to complete their degree qualification.

The CRWP’s successful community work was recognized and placed on New South Wales Parliamentary Hansard on two occasions. On 30 March 2004 the work of the CRWP was applauded in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly under title of “Newcastle Coal Heritage: Matter of Public Importance” Page: 7708. On 2 June 2004 Hon. Patricia Forsythe in her speech to the NSW Legislative Council called upon the city council, business, the university and the community to work together to develop the Project, and urged Newcastle City Council to give “this concept the priority it deserves by giving leadership to its promotion, and co-ordination.” She also expressed a hope that the State and Federal Governments (as well as many committed private firms in the Coal Industry) would provide the funding needed to realise the vision.

Stay tuned for exciting initiatives to celebrate Newcastle’s Sesquicentenary of the formation of the Borough of Newcastle on 7 June 2009.


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