Wollongong, New South Wales
Paterson Road in Coalcliff
|Population||189 (2016 census)|
|LGA(s)||City of Wollongong|
Coalcliff is a town on the coast of New South Wales, Australia, between Sydney and Wollongong. Together with Stanwell Park it belongs to the Little Bulli indentation of the northern Illawarra coast strip.
In 1796 William Clark and others trekking north to Port Jackson from the wrecked ship Sydney Cove noticed coal exposed at the cliffs there and made a fire from it, attracting rescuers, giving the area its name.George Bass was despatched to report on it and traced the deposit along the shore and inland. There was nowhere for ships to safely land though, so it was not until 1850 that it began to be excavated.
The Coalcliff Colliery, opened in 1878, was originally developed as a jetty mine. The mine entrance was an adit driven into six-foot thick coal seam that was exposed in face of the sea-cliff, less than forty feet above sea level. Coal from the mine, after screening, was brought directly onto the jetty. This arrangement made working the mine difficult, as there was limited storage for mined coal and only coal that could be shipped promptly could be mined.
Storms in 1878,1881 and 1904 caused considerable damage to the jetty, further restricting shipping operations while damage was repaired and the jetty design modified.
The jetty at Coalcliff was the smallest of the ocean jetties of the southern coalfield. It was very exposed to ocean swell, and shifting sand shoals added to the danger by changing the depth of water near the jetty.The jetty was used only by the colliery's own 'sixty-milers' and then only in favourable weather. Those ships were designed to have a shallow draft and self-trimming hatches, to minimise the chance of touching bottom during loading and to allow quick departures to be made. Difficulties with loading exacerbated the problems of operating the jetty mine and limited the amount of coal that could be sold.
After the South Coast railway line opened in 1888, there was increased competition from mines that delivered coal by rail or used the railway to access more reliable and larger ports such as Port Kembla, Bulli or Bellambi. The jetty mine operation became financially precariousand operated only intermittently. In 1910, a shaft was opened that allowed coal from the mine to be transported by rail. After 1910, very little coal was loaded at the jetty and the jetty closed by 1912.
The Coalcliff Mine went on to become one of the largest underground and longest-lived mines. It remained in production for 114 years. Around the time that it closed in 1992, the mined coal emerging at Coalcliff was coming underground from as far away as near Darkes Forest.
In 1888 the Coalcliff General Store opened at 28 Paterson Road (once referred to as the 'main street') by Mr John Earle Gibbons and his wife, son and daughter-in-law of Matthew John Gibbons who arrived in Australia in 1790 as a convict on the Second Fleet, and was one of Coalcliff's earliest residents. Architecturally the store was of plain colonial style, constructed of local wood with a sandstone foundation. It sold, amongst other household items, Milk, Bread, Butter, Drinks, Meat, Stationery goods, Cigarettes and other tobacco paraphernalia, jams, preserves, poultry and bakery products. The shop was the major lifeforce behind the township until closure in 1907. The same year the shops was burned to the ground via unknown causes and remained a vacant lot until 1910 when another store was erected and opened by a Mr. L. Jameson. This is the building that still stands today at the corner on Paterson Road, which has been a private residential property since 1961.
The Jameson Store was the last running commercial outlet in Coalcliff, which ceased operation in May 1960 due to an overexpense of running costs and a severe lack of customers, with many of the towns-people opting to shop at nearby Stanwell Park, Helensburgh or south to Bulli and Wollongong. At the height of its popularity it served as a Milkbar, Fish & Chip shop, General Store, Tobacconist and even a small Bottle shop within its small boundaries. Its unsurpassable views meant it was a popular place for holidayers passing by.
The only evidence of this once thriving store are the fading advertisements painted to its side and roof.
The Sea Cliff Bridge was opened on 11 December 2005 and offers a spectacular walkway and cycleway above the ocean and along the escarpment. There are splendid views offered towards Wollongong and Port Kembla in the south and Bald Hill and the Royal National Park in the north.
This also forms part of The Grand Pacific Walk which is currently being constructed through Coalcliff.
The Wodi Wodi Track can be accessed on Lawrence Hargrave Drive at the northern end of Coalcliff.
Coalcliff beach offers great surfing conditions and an ocean pool. Access to the pool from Lawrence Hargrave Drive is through Leeder Park, named after Noel Leeder who was a Manager at the Coalcliff Cokeworks in the 1960s and ensured the park be established.
There are public toilets and showers in Leeder Park and at the surf club.
Coalcliff hosts its own Surf Life Saving Club with events like Nippers in summertime and assuring beach safety. The Sea Eels winter swimming club takes place in the ocean pool and is co-organised with the Helensburgh-Stanwell Park Surf Life Saving Club such as the yearly 2.4 km Ocean Challenge swim between the two clubs in early April.
Coalcliff hosted the Illawarra Coke Company (ICC) until it was shutdown in recent years. The Cokeworks here and at Corrimal produced approximately 250,000 tonnes of coke per annum using non-recovery technology.
Wollongong, informally referred to as "The Gong", is a seaside city located in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. Wollongong lies on the narrow coastal strip between the Illawarra Escarpment and the Pacific Ocean, 68 kilometres south of central Sydney. Wollongong had an estimated urban population of 302,739 at June 2018, making it the third-largest city in New South Wales after Sydney and Newcastle, and the tenth-largest city in Australia. The city's current Lord Mayor is Gordon Bradbery AM who was elected in 2018.
Bulli is a northern suburb of Wollongong situated on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. Bulli is possibly derived from an Aboriginal word signifying "double or two mountains", but other derivations have been suggested.
Illawarra is a region in the Australian state of New South Wales. It is a coastal region situated immediately south of Sydney and north of the Shoalhaven or South Coast region. It encompasses the cities of Wollongong, Shellharbour and the town of Kiama.
Mount Keira is a suburb and mountain in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia.
Stanwell Park is a picturesque coastal village and northern suburb of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. It is the northernmost point of the Illawarra coastal strip and lies south of Sydney's Royal National Park. It is situated in a small valley between Bald Hill to the north, Stanwell Tops to the west and Mount Mitchell to the south. It has two lagoons from the village's two creeks, Stanwell and Hargrave Creeks and a beach running between headlands. Like other towns in the region the village is known colloquially known as TFOE, this is an acronym for the postcode (2508).
Thirroul is a northern seaside suburb of the city of Wollongong, Australia. Situated between Austinmer and Bulli, it is approximately 13 kilometres north of Wollongong, and 69 km south of Sydney. It lies between the Pacific Ocean and a section of the Illawarra escarpment known as Lady Fuller Park, adjacent to Bulli Pass Scenic Reserve.
Otford is a former village, now satellite housing in the Otford Valley just 60 km to the south of the Sydney metropolitan area and north of the Illawarra and Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia. Otford is within the local government area of Wollongong City Council.
Coalcliff railway station is located on the South Coast railway line in New South Wales, Australia. It serves the seaside village of Coalcliff opening in August 1920. A yard exists south of the station for the Illawarra Coke Company's Coalcliff Cokeworks. Although rail transport had ceased some time prior, the cokeworks remained open until mid-2013. A passing loop to the east of the station remains in use. South of the station the double line becomes single to pass through Coalcliff Tunnel.
The Illawarra escarpment, or officially the Illawarra Range, is the fold-created cliffs and plateau-eroded outcrop mountain range west of the Illawarra coastal plain south of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. The range encloses the Illawarra region which stretches from Stanwell Park in the north to Kiama, Gerringong and the Shoalhaven River in the south.
Lawrence Hargrave Drive is a scenic coastal road and popular tourist drive connecting the northernmost suburbs of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia to both Wollongong and Sydney.
Clifton is a village on the coast of New South Wales, Australia, between Sydney and Wollongong. Along with nearby Coalcliff, the village began life as a coal-mining centre. It is situated on a narrow area between the sea and the Illawarra escarpment. The electrified South Coast railway line passes through, but the station at Clifton was closed in 1915.
Austinmer is a northern village of Wollongong on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. It sits in the northern Illawarra region, south of Stanwell Park and immediately north of Thirroul.
Bellambi is a suburb of Wollongong in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. It has a railway station on the NSW TrainLink South Coast Line.
The city of Wollongong has a distinct geography. It lies on a narrow coastal plain flanked by the Pacific Ocean to the east and a steep sandstone precipice known as the Illawarra Escarpment to the west, most notably Mount Keira, joined to the escarpment by a high saddle.
Stanwell Tops is an exurban locality between the cities of Sydney and Wollongong on the New South Wales, Australia coastline. It lies northwest of Stanwell Park and southwest of Otford.
Port Kembla is a man-made cargo port or artificial harbour, with an outer harbour protected by breakwaters and an inner harbour constructed by dredging, located in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia.
The Coastal coal-carrying trade of New South Wales involved the shipping of coal—mainly for local consumption but also for export or coal bunkering—by sea to Sydney from the northern and southern coal fields of New South Wales. It took place in the 19th and 20th Centuries. It should not be confused with the export coal trade, which still exists today. There was also an interstate trade, carrying coal and coke to other Australian states that did not have local sources of black coal.
Sixty-miler (60-miler) is the colloquial name for the ships that were used in the coastal coal trade of New South Wales, Australia. The 'sixty milers' delivered coal to Sydney Harbour from ports and ocean jetties to the north and south of Sydney. The name refers to the approximate distance by sea from the Hunter River to Sydney.
Wollongong Harbour Precinct is a heritage-listed shipping harbour at Cliff Road and Endeavour Drive, Wollongong, City of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. It was built from 1837. The historic precinct includes Belmore Basin, Government Dam, Government Basin, Stockade Point, Flagstaff Hill, Signal Hill, Brighton Beach, Boat Harbour and Fortress Hill. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 5 May 2010.