About the Project

Many of the towns and cities within the greater Hunter region owe their foundations and their economies to the coal industry.  From the first discovery of coal in Newcastle in 1797, it has shaped the growth of our landscape as it has shaped our communities.

This exhibition brings together one of the largest collections of archives and private material on the coal community, its people and their place.  With thousands of early photographs and records, this living archive presents images, maps and artefacts that describe in captivating detail the way in which we have lived and worked in the Hunter since its very beginnings.

The great changes in work, transport, leisure and community are visually represented with text and an accompanying web archive in which all collected photographs and associated materials are available for public view, and for teachers and students an education kit has been developed for years K-10.  This archive also represents the chance to become a part of this history, to participate in locating people and place, to share personal archives and to become part of the most representative history of our region.

Coal & Allied has been making a significant contribution to the Hunter Valley community for many generations and traces its origins back to J&A Brown, who began mining coal at Four Mile Creek near East Maitland in 1843. 

As a long term member of the Hunter Valley community for over 165 years, Coal & Allied aims to achieve shared value with members of the communities in which we operate. Today Coal & Allied manages three open cut coal operations - Bengalla, Hunter Valley Operations and Mount Thorley Warkworth and employs more than 2000 people. 

Coal & Allied is proud to support the ‘Coal and Community’ project through its Community Development Fund, which has invested more than $11million into 100 community projects and partnerships since 1999. Working alongside the University of Newcastle, Coal & Allied is committed to preserving history of mining in the Hunter region and playing a role in its future.

From left - Broncho Maclaughlan, Jack Blanche, George Drydon, Norm Stevens and Ken Drew (deputy) at Northern (Rhondda) Colliery. Mid 1960s. From the Barry Howard collection.
We invite members of the community to share their stories and photos by emailing the team. Please see our guidelines for submission of stories and photos, all of which will be acknowledged in the online and physical exhibitions.
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