Lake Macquarie History


The City Council of Lake Macquarie acknowledge the Aboriginal people known today as the Awabakal, as the traditional Custodians of the land, respecting Aboriginal Elders past, present and future. Lake Macquarie City Council recognise the local Aboriginal community today in all of their diversity, who came forward to share their experiences, knowledge, images and memories.

Name Origin:

There is an English town of Dudley, near Birmingham.

Aboriginal Occupation:

Stone from Dudley rock platform was used for stone implements.

Early Land Grants:

Portion 55 of 40 acres was held by Walter Bailey. Portion 65 of 40 acres was held by T.G. Alcock and had been surveyed on 5/6/1865.

Early Subdivisions:

The first subdivision D.P.2304, was declared on 11/l/1889, and included Ocean, Gardner, George and Pitt Streets. This Subdivision was on portion 55. The second subdivision D.P.2657 was surveyed on 7/7/1891, and included John Frederick, Elizabeth, Thomas and Railway Streets. This subdivision was on Portion 65.

Early Settlers:

These were employees of Dudley Colliery and owners of the small shops which made up the nearby township. Walter Bailey had a banana plantation.

Early Industries:

The South Burwood Colliery opened at Dudley in 1888. This mine, Burwood No. 3, stemmed from the Burwood No. 1 and No. 2 Collieries located near Glenrock Lagoon. In 1891 it changed its name to Dudley Colliery. At 9.10 a.m. Monday, 22 March 1898 an explosion wrecked the mine and entombed at least 15 workers. The noise was heard as far away as Belmont, Charlestown and Merewether. Part of the roof of the pit head and even some of the brickwork were blown into the air. For 15 minutes a dense pall of smoke blotted out the scene. Rescue operations were quickly begun but the first attempt to reach the bottom of the 700 ft shaft failed. The next attempt succeeded and rescue gangs worked throughout the days and nights that followed while wives and children waited above. Fires burned in the workings in the wake of the explosion and finally conditions became so bad that the mine was sealed and flooded. It re-opened the following year in 1899. Dudley Colliery was finally closed and demolished in 1940.

Early Transport:

The colliery railway provided transport to Adamstown and Newcastle. The more athletic could walk along the beach to Merewether. A track suitable for horse and dray wound over the ridges to Charlestown. An open topped, double-decker, four-wheel horse bus, drawn by three or four horses, operated from Adamstown to Dudley around the turn of the century. In 1931 a bus service to Newcastle commenced.


A branch line left the Belmont line near Burwood Colliery for the Dudley mine. In the period 1900-1910 the Scottish Australian Mining Co operated a passenger service between Dudley Junction and Burwood Extended Colliery.

First Post Office:

Opened I August 1891.

First School:

Dudley Public School opened in January 1892. The foundation stone was laid on 24 April 1892 by the wife of the mine manager. During the First World War, two Dudley ex-students won the Victoria Cross: Private William Currey (Peronne, France, September 1918) and Captain Clarence Jefferies (Ypres, France, 1917).


For many years the town consisted of the two hotels, some old-fashioned shops, the school, School of Arts and scattered miners' cottages. Between 1901 and 1910 there was an outbreak of typhoid fever. After World War II increasing urbanisation caught up with Dudley and a government bus service and private cars made it a sought-after residential suburb. Western Suburbs Hospital established a home there for elderly men in 1952. The building had been the home of the mine owning Cant family and had been used as Red Cross convalescent hospital during the war. Western Suburbs leased the building from the Australian Red Cross from 1952 to 1959 then purchased and extended it. There are still some old army buildings there.

Water Supply:





Nilson, Laurie & Leis, Susan & Noble, Rodney & Lake Macquarie (N.S.W.). Council 1985, Lake Macquarie : past and present, Lake Macquarie City Council, [Boolaroo, N.S.W.]

Turner, J. W. (John William) & Sullivan, Jack 1982, Down to Lake Macquarie : photos of old Newcastle, Hunter History Publications, Stockton, N.S.W

1940 'DUDLEY MINE TO BE DEMOLISHED', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 24 October, p. 6. , viewed 20 Sep 2018,

1940 'DUDLEY COLLIERY', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 26 October, p. 12. , viewed 20 Sep 2018,

1940 'GOING—GONE', The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 - 1954), 1 November, p. 3. , viewed 20 Sep 2018,

1940 'SMOKE STACK DOWN', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 2 November, p. 12. , viewed 20 Sep 2018,

Streets in Dudley