Port Kembla, New South Wales

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Port Kembla
Wollongong,  New South Wales
Port Kembla From Hill 60 Park.jpg
View of Port Kembla from Hill 60 Park looking North West at sunset
Australia New South Wales location map blank.svg
Red pog.svg
Port Kembla
Coordinates 34°28′S150°54′E / 34.467°S 150.900°E / -34.467; 150.900 Coordinates: 34°28′S150°54′E / 34.467°S 150.900°E / -34.467; 150.900
Population5,014 (2016 census) [1]
Postcode(s) 2505
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
 • Summer (DST) AEDT (UTC+11)
Location112 km (70 mi) S of Sydney
LGA(s) City of Wollongong
State electorate(s) Wollongong
Federal Division(s) Cunningham
Suburbs around Port Kembla:
Cringila Coniston Tasman Sea
Warrawong Port Kembla Five Islands Nature Reserve
Kemblawarra Primbee Tasman Sea

Port Kembla is a suburb of Wollongong 8 km south of the CBD and part of the Illawarra region of New South Wales. The suburb comprises a seaport, industrial complex (one of the largest in Australia), a small harbour foreshore nature reserve, and a small commercial sector. It is situated on the tip of Red Point, first European sighting by Captain James Cook in 1770. The name "Kembla" is Aboriginal word meaning "plenty [of] wild fowl". [2]

Wollongong City in New South Wales, Australia

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 (51 miles) south of central Sydney. Wollongong had an estimated urban population of 299,203 at June 2017, 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.

Illawarra Region in New South Wales, Australia

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.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

Contents

History

Before Port Kembla was an industrial suburb of Wollongong, it was a town with a remarkably self-sufficient society, a growing commercial centre, and a vibrant civic life. Town subdivision began in 1908, and by 1921 there were 1622 residents. [3] Economic expansion propelled further population growth. Port Kembla derives its name from its proximity to Mount Kembla.

An industrial suburb is a community, near a large city, with an industrial economy. These communities may be established as tax havens or as places where zoning promotes industry, or they may be industrial towns that become suburbs by urban sprawl of the nearby big city.

Mount Kembla Suburb of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

Mount Kembla is a suburb and a mountain in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia.

Industrial change

A copper smelter and refinery, the Electrolytic Refinery and Smelting Company of Australia, began production in 1908, followed by the opening of Metal Manufactures in 1917 and finally the arrival of the Hoskins Iron and Steel Works in 1927. The works became Australian Iron and Steel the following year.

By 1947 the town's population has increased to 4,960 with smaller satellite suburbs such as Cringila and Lake Heights, mushrooming on its fringes. [4] That year, 1947, marked the climax of a local campaign for municipal autonomy which was ultimately thwarted by the creation of a Greater City of Wollongong. In the post-Second World War period there was an inexorable decline of a 'Port Kembla' society as local town boundaries were slowly but surely absorbed into a more Wollongong-focused or regional identity. [5]

Cultural diversity

Despite the decline from the heyday of the 1920s, the town experienced major social and demographic change in the 1950s and 1960s. Waves of migrants, mostly from the United Kingdom, Italy, Macedonia and Germany, moved to the town. During this period, Port Kembla was on the cusp of changes affecting Australian society generally as new ethnic and cultural influences found a place in local society. [6] With its long migration history accommodating waves of migrant workers and their families, Port Kembla is still one of the most culturally diverse suburbs in New South Wales.

Hill 60

Port Kembla's highest point, Hill 60, overlooks the Five Islands and Red Point. Hill 60, originally the site of an Aboriginal settlement, was used by the army during World War II to make a coastal gun emplacement known as Illowra Battery. In September 1942, Aboriginal inhabitants were forcibly evicted from the area. [7] It has remained in the army's ownership and is now a public lookout reserve, despite a vigorous campaign to return some of the land to its Aboriginal owners. Although not technically open to tourists, the tunnels are open, and can be explored by foot. The entrance to the tunnels is located almost under the coastguard tower on Hill 60, and can be seen down the left when standing at the information board, facing southeast. [8]

Five Islands Nature Reserve Protected area in New South Wales, Australia

The Five Islands Nature Reserve is a protected nature reserve located in the Tasman Sea, off the Illawarra east coast of the state of New South Wales, Australia. The 26-hectare (64-acre) reserve comprises five continental islands that are situated between 0.5 and 3.5 kilometres east of Port Kembla. The Five Islands are Flinders Islet, Bass Islet, Martin Islet, Big Island and Rocky Islet.

Illowra Battery is a former Australian Army coastal-artillery battery located at Hill 60, Port Kembla, New South Wales in Australia, built and in service during World War II. It was also otherwise known as Hill 60 Battery.

HMAS Adele loss

On 7 May 1943, Australian steamer Adele struck the breakwater at Port Kembla and was subsequently declared a total loss. [9] The wreck of Adele is protected under the New South Wales Heritage Act, 1977. [10]

Heritage listings

Port Kembla has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Population

According to the 2016 census of Population, there were 5,014 people in Port Kembla.

Climate

Port Kembla has a warm oceanic climate (Cfb) with humid summers and mild, crispy winters. The suburb enjoys abundant sunshine, getting 111.4 clear days, annually.

Climate data for Port Kembla (1957-1976)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)41.9
(107.4)
36.1
(97)
39.4
(102.9)
32.5
(90.5)
29.4
(84.9)
25.6
(78.1)
25.8
(78.4)
28.3
(82.9)
35.0
(95)
35.0
(95)
39.2
(102.6)
39.8
(103.6)
41.9
(107.4)
Average high °C (°F)24.1
(75.4)
24.4
(75.9)
24.1
(75.4)
22.4
(72.3)
19.4
(66.9)
17.5
(63.5)
16.7
(62.1)
17.3
(63.1)
19.2
(66.6)
20.7
(69.3)
22.4
(72.3)
23.4
(74.1)
21.0
(69.8)
Average low °C (°F)18.4
(65.1)
18.7
(65.7)
18.0
(64.4)
15.7
(60.3)
12.7
(54.9)
10.9
(51.6)
9.8
(49.6)
10.3
(50.5)
11.8
(53.2)
13.7
(56.7)
15.3
(59.5)
17.1
(62.8)
14.4
(57.9)
Record low °C (°F)13.3
(55.9)
13.0
(55.4)
10.6
(51.1)
10.0
(50)
5.6
(42.1)
5.3
(41.5)
1.1
(34)
2.2
(36)
2.2
(36)
7.2
(45)
9.2
(48.6)
10.0
(50)
1.1
(34)
Average precipitation mm (inches)116.1
(4.571)
157.5
(6.201)
183.7
(7.232)
92.9
(3.657)
89.0
(3.504)
140.3
(5.524)
62.6
(2.465)
87.7
(3.453)
55.0
(2.165)
108.0
(4.252)
94.3
(3.713)
90.4
(3.559)
1,260.6
(49.63)
Average precipitation days11.612.513.49.18.09.77.49.58.211.211.111.0122.7
Average relative humidity (%)75767468626157576167677267
Source: [12]

Industry and Infrastructure

Port Kembla is known for the BlueScope steelworks operations on Springhill Road and throughout North Port Kembla. Other notable industrial operations in the suburb are: Port Kembla Coal Terminal, Port Kembla Copper, Incitec, Adstream Services, Port Kembla Gateway and GrainCorp.

Rail

Port Kembla has a railway station on the Port Kembla branch of the Illawarra railway line. It is the terminus of the branch line, and serves the residential area of the suburb of the same name. The station has one side platform, used for terminating trains. It is served by approximately one train per hour, usually a local service to Thirroul and Waterfall, but extra direct trains to and from Sydney are provided in the peak hours.

Pacific National operates daily coal trains to the Inner Harbour section of the port, and into the blast furnace section of the steelworks. Downer Rail has a workshop opposite the station that services diesel powered locomotives for Pacific National.

Port

Port Kembla Harbour is a major export location for coal mined in the southern and western regions of New South Wales. As part of the state governments plan to divert ships containing auto mobiles, the port has received significant upgrades and infrastructure including a new Maritime Office and many jobs have been created as the need for port logistics grows. Patrick Corporation holds a contract for integrated port services in the harbour and transports goods by road or rail through its parent company Pacific National.

Port Kembla Harbour, taken from Breakwater Battery Ptkembla.jpg
Port Kembla Harbour, taken from Breakwater Battery

Sports and leisure

Sporting teams

Port Kembla has both junior and senior teams in local popular sporting leagues such as:

Home grounds are Noel Mulligan Oval

Home grounds are King George V Park

Home grounds are Darcy Wentworth Park

Home grounds are Kully Bay Park.

Port Kembla Rugby league, Port Kembla Soccer Club and Port Kembla AFL home grounds are not located in Port Kembla, they all play in parks across Warrawong.

Parks and beaches

Port Kembla has a number of parks, nature reserves, beaches and a Saltwater Olympic pool:

A foreshore park located in walking distance from Port Kembla Beach. Used in summer for Port Kembla Cricket Club home games.

A popular take off area for hang gliders and para gliders, Hill 60 Park has BBQ facilities as well as picnic shelters, seats and tables positioned to enjoy the scenic views.

An award winning beach, [13] seasonally patrolled from September to April [14] and home to the Port Kembla Surf Life Saving Club.

A small sheltered beach at the bottom of Hill 60's eastern side facing the Five Islands Nature Reserve.

Also known by locals as MM Beach for its close proximity to the Metal Manufacturers site on Gloucester Boulevard. Remnants of a tidal rock pool are still standing near the southern end of the beach below the headland.

Public transport

Train

Port Kembla has two railway stations on the Port Kembla branch of the NSW TrainLink South Coast Line.

Port Kembla railway station is the terminus of the branch line, and serves the residential area of Port Kembla. Port Kembla North serves the industrial area of the suburb. The station is the nearest to the BHP site in the area.

Both stations have a one sided platform, with the platform at Port Kembla used for terminating trains. The stations are served by approximately one train per hour, usually a local service to Thirroul, but extra direct trains to and from Sydney are provided in the peak hours.

Bus

Premier Illawarra runs three routes to and from Port Kembla railway station: [15]

Health and environmental issues

Port Kembla chimney stack

The stack falling during its demolition on 20 February 2014 Port Kembla stack demolition.jpg
The stack falling during its demolition on 20 February 2014

Port Kembla was home to one of Australia's tallest industrial chimneys, a 198 metre tall chimney built in 1965. Port Kembla Primary School was once located adjacent to it but was closed down due to pollution problems from the chimney including lead contaminated soil, acid rain and soot. A warning alarm was fitted to warn of high toxin levels. In November 2008, the Port Kembla stack was inspected and confirmed to have concrete cancer. [16] The stack was planned to be demolished in early 2010 at a cost of A$10 million.

By 6 September 2010, plans to knock down the stack had been revised by the NSW Department of Planning. These plans included demolition of the existing Port Kembla Copper structures surrounding the chimney, excluding the locally heritage listed Precious Metals Mill Chimney and the Assay Offices. The work was due to start in the middle of 2011 with a team of 30 workers, under supervision by NSW Police, NSW WorkCover and relevant emergency services at a cost of A$8 million with an expected time frame of 16 months. [17]

On 2 August 2013, it was announced that the stack would be demolished on Friday 6 September 2013. [18] Due to asbestos concerns, the demolition was delayed. After no signs of danger were found, a new date was announced for the demolition: 20 February 2014. [19]

On 20 February 2014, the copper stack was demolished. [20]

Industrial pollution

Aerial photo of Port Kembla from north west Port Kembla Aerial.jpg
Aerial photo of Port Kembla from north west

In the past, Port Kembla's industrial heart was associated with significant industrial pollution including emissions of nitrogen oxides and other dangerous gases. However, the air quality around Port Kembla has improved dramatically over the past decade. At nearby Kembla Grange the average concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) measured by the NSW Department of Environment Climate Change halved between 2002 and 2014. [21]

Back in the 1990s health problems were associated with noxious gases. One 1998 study of the industrial areas of Newcastle and Port Kembla found 'an important association between relatively low levels of particulate air pollution and respiratory symptoms' among primary school children. [22] Fallout has also introduced elevated levels of lead and other heavy metals to the soil around Port Kembla and has formed thick deposits in many buildings and industrial structures. [23]

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References

  1. 1 2 Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Port Kembla (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 16 July 2017. Blue pencil.svg CC-BY icon.svg Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
  2. "PLACE NAMES". The Australian Women's Weekly . National Library of Australia. 13 May 1964. p. 61. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  3. Commonwealth Census of Australia, 1921
  4. Commonwealth Census of Australia, 1947
  5. See Erik Eklund, Steel Town: the making and breaking of Port Kembla, pp.131-136
  6. Erik Eklund, Steel Town: the making and breaking of Port Kembla, pp. 158-171
  7. See Erik Eklund, 'Steel Town: the making and breaking of Port Kembla', MUP, Melbourne, 2002, pp. 114-130
  8. Archived 20 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine .
  9. "NEW SOUTH WALES SHIPWRECKS". Encyclopedia of Australian Shipwrecks. Archived from the original on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  10. "Adele (+1943)". Wrecksite. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  11. "Hill 60/ Illowra Battery". New South Wales State Heritage Register . Office of Environment and Heritage. H01492. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  12. "Climate statistics for Port Kembla". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  13. Thompson, Angela (2009-12-05). "It's official: Port Kembla's the best beach in NSW - Local News - News - General". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  14. "Beaches". Wollongong.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  15. http://premierillawarra.com.au/timetables.html#berkeley
  16. Illawarra Mercury , 26 November 2008.
  17. http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/DesktopModules/MediaCentre/getdocument.aspx?mid=449
  18. Humphries, Glen (2013-08-02). "Demolition day named for Port Kembla stack". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
  19. "Port Kembla stack's finally coming down". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  20. "Thousands watch Port Kembla Copper stack demolition". ABC News. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  21. NSW Department of Environment Climate Change: Annual Averages NO2 at Kembla Grange – http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/AQMS/search.htm
  22. Peter R Lewis et al, (1998) 'Outdoor air pollution and children's respiratory symptoms in the steel cities of New South Wales', Medical Journal of Australia, 169: pp. 459-463 See
  23. "Case study: The Port Kembla Community's Dilemma with Toxic Dust". Lead.org.au. Retrieved 2012-05-26.