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|The first record of coal discovery in Australia dates back to 1791 when escaping convicts found coal in the banks of a creek just south of Newcastle. Development in the Newcastle Coalfield was the sole source of supply for the colony and for export until the 1850s when mines were established in the Southern & Western Coalfields. The important Hunter Coalfield was not discovered until 1873 when coal was found at Rixs Creek near Singleton: The first exploration drillholes were commenced in 1799 using drilling equipment obtained by Sir Joseph Banks. From 1820 to 1850 several famous geologists (naturalists), including the Rev W. B. Clarke, J. D. Dana and Strzelecki, wrote reports on the coal measures in New South Wales. The first Government Geo- logist, Samuel Stutchbury, was appointed in 1850. The major coal deposits of the State are contained in Permian Coal Measures in the Sydney-Gunnedah and Oaklands Basins. Coal quality ranges from high volatile, high moisture thermal coal at Oaklands to low volatile hard coking coal in the Southern Coalfield. Most coalfields can provide a range of steaming and coking coals.|