Convict mines rediscovered

THE long lost mines of Newcastle, possibly the first coal mines in the Southern Hemisphere, have been rediscovered by surveyors using maps and plans from the 1850s.

Angie Tomlinson

The maps, digitized and placed online by the University of Newcastle’s Coal River Working Party, were used to mark the original entry points to the first mines (including the 'New Discovery' mine) in Newcastle that were worked at the dawn of white settlement.


“These are possibly the first coal mines in the Southern Hemisphere and our aim is to drill into these workings and send a camera into them as a community event for Bicentenary of Permanent Settlement March 30th 2004,” said the Coal River Working Party.


The sites have been marked out with white paint on the roadway surrounding Fort Scratchley.


The Party said the discovery of the earliest convict mines was the most significant since the discovery of a convict lumberyard in 1989.