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|Coal mining in the Illawarra commenced in 1848. By the early twentieth century mining operations were spread over quite a distance along the coast centred on Wollongong. By this time there were already numerous tunnel mines and one shaft mine. Coal was first reported in Illawarra by Lieutenant Flinders on a voyage of exploration, southerly along the coast from Sydney in 1796. Because of the topography, particularly the escarpment and the narrowness of the coastal plain, access from Sydney was not easy by land and the normal access was by sea. It was not until some coastal areas had been developed for agricultural purposes that the mining of the seams on the South Coast commenced for the supp- ly of fuel. The most important mines in the early nineteenth century were Bulli and Osborne Wallsend. In general, coal was won from the tunnel mines and was transported directly, usually by tramway, to the nearest shipping point. Considerable hardship attended the earliest attempts at mining coal in regard to materials for mining and the way of life of the miners in the vicinity of the mines. With the growth of production and the installation of coke ovens at some mines the area, hitherto virgin bush- land, began to take on a more industrialised appearance. The mines were necessarily small,|