Ebbw Vale Colliery

The University of Newcastle Living Histories site has a photograph by Ralph Snowball of a tunnel of the Ebbw Vale colliery. At the time of writing the photograph is titled as “Ebbw Vale Colliery, New Lambton”, This is somewhat misleading as it suggests the mine was in New Lambton when in fact it was geographically located in Adamstown Heights.

Mine tunnel, Ebbw Vale Colliery, Adamstown Heights 14 June 1897. Photo by Ralph Snowball. Living Histories, University of Newcastle.

Connection with New Lambton

The attribution to New Lambton is derived from Ralph Snowball’s listing on negative box 140, where he has recorded the photograph as “Ebbw Vale Tunnell New Lambton”. Note that the next two entries are for “New Lambton Colliery”.

The only pit the New Lambton coal company was operating in 1897 was the New Lambton C Pit, located in Adamstown Heights. The Ebbw Vale colliery was adjacent to this pit, but the connection to it was more than just one of physical proximity.

The first time Ebbw Vale colliery is mentioned in a Department of Mines annual report, for the year 1889, it is listed as “Ebbw Vale (late New Lambton C)”. This suggests that it was formerly part of the New Lambton C mine, but was subsequently split off into a separate entity. In subsequent annual reports “New Lambton C” and “Ebbw Vale” are listed as separate mines, but it would seem they both had the same owner, the New Lambton Coal Company.

  • The 1903 Department of Mines annual report notes that “Mr. L. H Lewington, legal manager, New Lambton Land and Coal Co. (Limited), gave notice of the appointment of Mr. Alexander McLeish as under-manager of Ebbw Vale Colliery.
  • A newspaper report from 29 December 1905 refers to “Ebbw Vale pit, on the New Lambton Estate”
  • A newspaper report from 1 July 1907 refers to “Ebbw Vale, formerly known as New Lambton”
  • A newspaper report from 15 November 1921 states “The Ebbw Vale colliery at Adamstown, about four miles from Newcastle, is owned by the New Lambton Coal Company, Ltd., and managed by Messrs. Dalgety and Company. The holding is 1017 acres, 640 acres freehold, 90 acres leased from private owners, and 287 acres held under mining act tenures.”

Location of the Ebbw Vale tunnel

A BHP Coal Geology map shows that Ebbw Vale colliery was to the south of Adamstown, adjacent to the New Lambton C Pit. It was to the east of the Redhead railway (now the Fernleigh Track), which I have highlighted in red below. The black and white dashed line to the east of the colliery is Brunker Rd.

BHP Coal Geology map. University of Newcastle, Special Collections.

A 1953 map from the NSW Government DIGS site shows two annotations for “Ebbw Vale Tunnel”. Presumably Snowball’s photograph is of one of these tunnels.

Overlaying the map into Google Earth, shows the approximate location of the Ebbw Vale tunnels in Adamstown Heights.

Looking from north to south we can see that the two tunnels were in either side of the valley where Claremont Avenue Reserve is now.

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