Lake Macquarie History

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Top men, South Waratah Colliery, Charlestown, Lake Macquarie, NSW, 1898. Also known as Raspberry Gully, Charles Pit

  • Top men, South Waratah Colliery, Charlestown, Lake Macquarie, NSW, 1898. Also known as Raspberry Gully, Charles Pit

    Photo Ref: 4688

    Mining has been a large part of the history of Lake Macquarie and has always been fraught with danger with every accident and death having a great effect upon the mining community. This photograph shows each minerwearing flimsy head wear. The compulsory hard hat was introduced in 1941, and then only optional. It has been suggested that this was in response to returning soldiers reentering the mines who had realised the protection the hard hat gave in combat situations. As many deaths occurred from coal or stone falling, it is easy to see that wearing protective head gear would be beneficial and possibly save lives. The Waratah Coal Co. was formed in 1862 to mine in the Waratah district. It bought another 2,600 acres to the south and began sinking a shaft in Raspberry Gully in 1873. The mine was opened the same year, coal being taken along the "Gully Line" to Waratah. The mine did well at first but conditions were very competitive during the latter part of the 19th century. It was closed after World War II.

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