Lake Macquarie History

Coal Point

Name Origin:

So named because the first coal mine on the lake was situated there.

Early Land Grants:

A grant of 1280 acres (Awaba Parish) was promised to the Rev. Threlkeld in 1829. This grant included all present day Toronto and Coal Point. Ralph Mayer Robey bought this property on 30 December 1844 and received his deeds on 28 February 1846. By 1851 Robey had leased the area to Richard Fennell and in about 1870 two partners MacMahon and Whiting had possession.

Early Subdivisions:

In 1885 the Excelsior Investment and Building Co. and Bank Ltd bought the 1280 acres (originally granted to Robey) from Whiting and McMahon plus the waterfront reserve from the Crown and carried out subdivisions of Coal Point and Kilaben from 1891. D.P.2706, of 13/10/1891, encompassing Laycock, Amelia, Beach, Whitelocke and Rofe Streets, was the first subdivision.

Early Industries:

In 1841 Rev. Threlkeld, having given up his aboriginal mission, began to mine coal at the Ebenezer pit on the S.W. side of Coal Point at the present Threlkeld Reserve. The mine was worked without machinery and the skips were run on wooden rails, the coal loaded into schooners from a wooden jetty. Mining operations were restricted owing to the shallow channel at Swansea and at first the coal was taken to Reid's Mistake by barge and transhipped to larger vessels. Then Threlkeld obtained shallow-draught schooners. His mine was legal as his promised grant pre-dated the A.A. Co.'s monopoly but he had difficulty in attracting miners as the government refused to supply convicts and the A.A. Co. sought to stifle competition. By 1844 Threlkeld's Estate was severely encumbered by debt and was sold at auction to the mortagee. The mine was worked under lease by Henry R. Whittell and later by R.M. Robey, although it was often idle. It was worked as South Hetton Colliery as late as 1906. The explorer Ludwig Leichhardt visited the mine in 1842.

Early Settlers:

Employees at the Ebenezer Coal Works.

Transport:

By water. By the late 19th century, ferries were running from Speers Point. When the railway was extended to Toronto, a regular ferry service operated to Coal Point and Carey Bay. During the 1920's the ferries made 4 trips per day Sunday to Friday: 6 trips on Saturdays.

First Post Office:

Opened 2 September 1946; closed 31 March 1980.

First School:

Public School opened in January 1955.

Water Supply:

1928.

Sewerage:

1959.

Further Reading:

Australian Reminiscences and Papers of L.E. Threlkeld, ed. by N. Gunson. Canberra. Institute of Aboriginal Studies, 1974.

Lake Macquarie Herald, 18 March 1976: "Lake Macquarie Caught Explorer's Eye: by P.A. Haslarn.

Streets in Coal Point