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:

Said to have received this name when the bridge over the Belmont railway line was painted white.

Early Land Grants:

Portion 273 (Kahibah Parish) owned by Edward Corfield.

Early Subdivisions:

D.P.20241, declared on 21/2/1944 encompassed the comer section of Dudley Road and Kahibah Street.

Early Industries:

Burwood Colliery was owned by the Burwood Coal Co. and opened in 1885 at Glenrock. The first shaft at Whitebridge was sunk in 1888. In 1894 the Scottish Australian Mining Co. bought it for 27,000 pounds. The Glenrock entrance was closed and a new line was built for transport. In 1896 Frank Croudace became manager. There were 5 shafts at Whitebridge, working three seams: the Borehole, Victoria Tunnel and Dudley. The workings extended for a km under the sea and as far as Gateshead, Charlestown and Merewether. It employed about 200 men who came by rail or car. A township did not develop around the mine but at the junction of the road and railway.

In 1901 a gas explosion killed three men but otherwise Burwood had a good safety record. In 1932 it was purchased by the B.H.P. and changed from steam to electricity. In almost a century of operation, it was one of the greatest coal producers in Australia.

In January 1979 a fire broke out in the workings and, as the lease was nearly worked out, the mine was closed in March 1979. It re-opened briefly and finally closed in 1982.

Early Transport:

The railway to Burwood Colliery. A horse and dray track wound over the ridges to Charlestown. In 1931 a bus service to Dudley commenced and served Whitebridge.


The railway operated to Dudley Colliery and carried miners. In 1916 it was extended to Belmont and a regular passenger service operated.

First Post Office:

Opened on 19 September 1927.

First School:

Whitebridge Infants School opened from January 1944 until July 1962. Whitebridge High School opened in January 1963.

Water Supply:




Further Reading:

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.]

Tonks, Ed, "A relic of Hunter Coalmining", Newcastle Morning Herald, 27 February 1982 page 7.

Streets in Whitebridge