Lake Macquarie History

Name origin of Fernleigh Track

Fernleigh Track derived it's name from an area of the former Adamstown-Belmont rail line. This area is the valley which lies below the elevated suburb of Highfields, to the south of the Pacific Highway. It is believed that this area became known as Fernleigh around 1922, when a coalmine was established in the locality. Although the Fernleigh Colliery was short lived - operating intermittently between 1922 and 1932 - it seems that it was a relatively substantial undertaking at the time.

The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate, Monday 1 December 1924 reported:

"A letter was received through the inter-progress association, from Mr. Harris, managing director Redhead Coal Company, stating that a goods siding was being put in at Fernleigh Colliery. It was resolved to write Mr. Harris, asking him to receive a deputation, as the Government roads mentioned in the letter were not traficable to a siding. A seam of coal is now being worked at Kahibah by Messrs. Sharp Brothers, and D Inkster. It is called the Fernleigh Colliery. The seam is 5 feet 3 inches high, and the coal is of good quality. Five men are employed at the present, and the output is 30 tons per day. The coal is taken to different parts of the suburbs by motor transit. The Redhead Company are putting in a siding for the convenience of the colliery. A large screen is being erected over the siding and the coal will be taken away by rail, when the output will be increased. A sawmill will be erected at the pit. The mill logs will come from the North Coast."

There are a few possibilities as to where the colliery name originated.

  • The Fernleigh Colliery mined the Fern Valley coal seam
  • Fernleigh is a common word used for various locations around Australia, and has it's basis in the vegetation of the area. 'Fern' - after the plant and 'Leigh' - (derived from Old English leah) meaning a meadow or forest clearing. The natural landscape of this area of the Adamstown-Belmont rail corridor features many ferns.
  • Fernleigh is an old name for South Wallsend, and the Newcastle Herald records that many sporting teams from that area incorporated the name Fernleigh.

Reference

1924 'KAHIBAH', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 1 December, p. 7. , viewed 06 Nov 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article137781805

1947 'SUBURBIA—This Week Railride To A Blue Lagoon', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 11 October, p. 5. , viewed 06 Nov 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article134237004