New Lambton Colliery

“In the depths of the bush, about half a mile to the south of the rising and flourishing township of Lambton, there was celebrated, on Thursday last, an event of no ordinary interest and importance.”

Thus began a Newcastle Chronicle report on the ‘turning of the first sod’ of the New Lambton colliery on 25 June 1868.

James and Alexander Brown were mining coal from the ‘Old Dog and Rat’ pit in East Lambton when they had a lucky break in 1868. On learning that the owners of Lambton colliery had failed to make payments on a mining lease, the Browns quickly stepped in and bought the mineral rights for 265 acres in the area we now know as New Lambton.

They immediately investigated the potential of their acquisition by commencing a trial shaft in April 1868. In June, at a depth of 100 feet, a good payable seam of coal was found and the Browns committed to developing a colliery at a cost of £10,000.

To inaugurate their new venture the Browns invited their employees and local dignitaries to a ceremony at the site on 25 June 1868. Two barrels of ale which had previously been conveyed to the ground, were at once tapped, speeches made, and the assembled company called upon to drink “Success to the New Lambton Colliery”.

Success came quickly, a new working shaft 16 feet in diameter was sunk, an engine house erected and a railway constructed to convey coal to the port. The colliery attracted miners and their families, and a town began to grow. Just a year later New Lambton was described as “going ahead, and buildings of all descriptions are multiplying fast.”

By 1884 the payable coal was exhausted, and the Brown’s moved on to establish other mines. The pit closed, but the town endured. The Chronicle was correct in asserting that the event celebrated 150 years ago was of no ordinary importance, for it marked the birth of New Lambton.

Major T S Parrott’s 1893 map of Newcastle showing the railway and a shaft of the New Lambton colliery. National Library of Australia.

 

Google Earth, showing the New Lambton Colliery mining lease, railway line, and a shaft located near present day Oxford St.


The article above was first published in the June 2018 edition of the Lambton & New Lambton Local.

Additional Information

In working out the history of the New Lambton colliery I have used the following sources:

  1. Contemporary newspaper articles retrieved from Trove.
  2. “The Coal Mines of Newcastle NSW”, George H Kingswell, 1890.
  3. Map of Waratah Coal Company blocks, 1873. National Library of Australia.
  4. T S Parrott’s Map of the country around Newcastle, 1893. National Library of Australia.
  5. Plan of the Hartley Vale Railway, 1867. State Library of NSW.
  6. The Hartley Vale Railway Colliery act of 23 Dec 1867
  7. “Coal, Railways and Mines, Vol 1”, Brian Robert Andrews, 2004. (Although much of Andrew’s information is taken from the above sources.)

Trying to work out the history of the New Lambton Colliery, and the mines of J and A Brown in Newcastle is a tricky matter for a variety of reasons.

  • The newspaper articles are sparse and often very cursory, and can sometimes contain errors.
  • The term “pit” is ambiguous – it could mean
    • a specific shaft
    • a collection of mine buildings at a particular location
    • a mining lease
    • a mining company
  • Suburb names in a mine name can be misleading and bear no relation to geography. The classic example of this is the “East Lambton Colliery”, which was located in New Lambton, and operated by the Waratah Coal Company!

Bearing in mind these difficulties, here’s my summary of the Brown’s  mining leases and the history of New Lambton colliery.

Colour Notes
White Development of this 310 acre lease commenced in 1861. It was initially known as Brown’s Pit, and later as the Hartley Vale Colliery. The colliery was ready for production at the end of 1864, but was a commercial failure.
Blue This 280 acre lease was obtained by J&A Brown in 1862. Two pits  (marked as A and B pit on the 1867 Hartley Vale railway map) were commenced to the north of the Lambton colliery railway in 1866. The B Pit later became known as the “Old Dog and Rat Pit.” This pit was connected to the New Lambton/Hartley Vale railway via a tunnel underneath the Lambton railway.

In 1867 the “New Lambton Coal Pit” was opened on this lease, to the south of the Lambton colliery railway, with a short curved branch line off the New Lambton railway. This pit later became known as New Lambton A Pit when the new ‘B’ workings were opened up in the 265 acre lease in 1868. (See below.) Some time around 1883 the New Lambton A Pit was renamed New Duckenfield Colliery.

Green This 265 acre lease obtained by Stephen Foyle (on behalf of the Browns) in late 1867 when Morehead and Young failed to pay rent on lease. A trial pit was finished in June 1868 and a celebration held to inaugurate the “New Lambton Second Coal Working”, the first New Lambton coal working being the 280 acre lease in East Lambton. A working pit was commenced soon after. Somewhat confusingly, this New Lambton second coal working also became known as “the B or New Lambton Pit” (Kingswell)

Kingswell gives two contradictory dates as to when this pit ceased. On page 46 he states that the “B or New Lambton Pit” was “worked until the beginning of 1888”, and in the very next paragraph state that in 1884 “the old B Pit (was) finally abandoned.” (Although possibly this second reference is to the Old Dog and Rat pit in East Lambton?)

Orange/Red This 640 acre area consisting of two 320 acre leases was obtained by J&A Brown and Stephen Foyle in March 1867. The December 1867 Hartley Vale Railway act shows that the Brown’s intended to build a railway to this lease, but it was not completed at this time. After the New Lambton second workings began to wind down in 1884, the New Lambton ‘C’ Pit was commenced in this area in 1884, and the railway finally completed in March 1884.

The mining leases of J and A Brown.

The mining leases of J and A Brown in Newcastle, overlaid onto 1873 map.

1944 aerial photograph that shows the remnants of the New Lambton railway traversing the park.

Path of rail line to New Lambton B pit marked in red, and the short branch line to the New Lambton A pit marked in yellow.

Kingswell’s 1225 acres

On page 45 of “The Coal Mines of Newcastle NSW”, Kingswell states that the New Lambton Estate consists of 1225 acres.

In the year 1867 Messrs. J. and A. Brown commenced to work coal from the New Lambton Estate, which at present is the freehold property of Messrs. George R. Dibbbs, and Alexander Brown, M’s. P. It consists of 1225 acres, and is bounded on the north and east by the Commonage, on the south by the Waratah Coal Company’s land, while the estate of the Scottish Australian Mining Company forms the western boundary. Prior to opening a mine the firm obtained a mineral lease of some 280 acres from the Government, and on this block, which lies to the north of the present estate, the now celebrated Dog and Rat, or A Pit, was sunk.

Where was this 1225 acres? It is difficult to be certain, but given that in the next sentence he refers to the 280 lease as being “prior” and to the north of the “present estate”, then it is reasonably clear that the 280 acre lease (blue) is not included in the 1225 acres.

Thus adding the 310 acres (white), 265 acres (green) and the 640 acres (orange/red), comes to a total 1215 acres, which is very close to the figure of 1225 acres that Kingswell state. The discrepancy of 10 acres could be accounted for in two ways. It is possibly simply an adding up error, or possibly because the 265 acre lease on the maps is marked as “ex rds”, and that these excluded roads account for the missing 10 acres.

Newspaper articles

Article Date Event DateNotes
3 Dec 1867First mention of New Lambton colliery in the newspapers. The article is reporting on the opening of a section of the Hartley Vale Railway, that leads to a new pit a pit "about half a mile ... from the Lambton Colliery, and which has been denominated by the Messrs. Brown 'The New Lambton Coal Pit.' "
If the distance of half mile is correct then this is almost certainly referring to a pit in the 280 acre lease in East Lambton. The article goes on to state that "The line further leads to a pit on the other side of the South [sic] Australian Company's Railway, underneath which a tunnel has been made." This is possibly referring to a connection to the Dog and Rat Pit which was to the north of the Lambton colliery railway.
4 Jan 1868James and Alexander Brown obtain the mineral lease for what would become the New Lambton mine, after Messrs. Morehead and Young of the Scottish Australian Mining Company indavertently fail to keep up payments on the mineral lease.
27 Jun 1868
25 Jun 1868
'Turning the first sod' of the New Lambton Colliery.
30 Jun 1868"The tunnel now in operation [the 280 acre east Lambton lease] will I believe give remunerative employment to about sixty miners, and I have no doubt, a profitable return to the proprietors for capital invested therein, until the new pit [265 acre lease in New Lambton] is in full working order."
4 Jul 1868"The new railway works at the New Lambton Colliery are being pushed forward as fast as practicably, and are I believe progressing satisfactorily."
4 Jul 1868Advertising for tenders for the sinking of the new working pit, and for earthworks in the extension of the New Lambton railway.
18 Jul 1868"The new line of railway at the new Lambton colliery is making considerable headway but the sinking of the new working pit has been considerably delayed in consequence, I believe, of the difficulties experienced in getting a boiler across a swamp separating the new pit from the end of the present railway."
5 Sep 1868"The extension of the New Lambton railway, is, I believe, progressing satisfactorily, and will, it is expected, in a short time, be so far advanced towards completion as to enable the proprietors to convey direct, any materials that may be required at their new pit, which is now down about seventy feet. It is expected that the coal in this shaft will be found at a depth of about 120 feet."
31 Oct 1868The Brown's New Lambton colliery "line of railway will be shortly completed."
29 Jul 1869"New Lambton is still going a-head, and buildings of all descriptions are multiplying fast. I am glad to see that those enterprising and really spirited men, the Messrs. J. and A. Brown, have commenced making a new line of railway to another new pit."
3 Mar 1877"Plans and specifications have been prepared for a bridge to cross the New Lambton Railway, and tenders will be called for the erection at once."
This was for a bridge on Lambton Rd (where Royal Place is now) to go over the New Lambton railway.
25 Aug 1883"The proprietors of the New Lambton Colliery are sinking a new shaft on their estate some mile and a-half from the present pit." This was the New Lambton C pit, which was located in the present day suburb of Adamstown.
22 Mar 1884"The railway to the new pit [C Pit] on the New Lambton Company's estate has been completed throughout in a very workmanlike manner by the contractor, Mr. Chas. Turner, and a large staff of workmen. The line is about two and a-quarter miles in length from its junction with New Lambton railway to the pit mouth."
1 Aug 1890New Lambton council prepares "specifications for the work of pulling down the New Lambton Railway Bridge, on the main road, and filling up the road."
6 Aug 1890Tenders called for "filling in roadway over New Lambton railway at main road bridge."

Oh look, a shiny book

Oh look, a shiny book. And my name is on the cover.

Julie Keating has continued her series of books focussing on Newcastle suburbs in the 19th and early 20th century. For the latest book on New Lambton, Julie invited me to contribute some of my blog articles on various aspects of New Lambton history.

The book is $25 and can be purchased from New Lambton Post Office, MacLeans bookshop in Beaumont Street Hamilton, and the the Marketown Newsagency in Newcastle West.

Ralph Snowball’s House and Studio

Where was Ralph Snowball’s house and studio in New Lambton?

The University of Newcastle Cultural Collections site has a number of photographs captioned as Ralph Snowball’s house or studio in Clarence Rd, New Lambton.

Ralph Snowball’s studio, New Lambton, NSW, 11 April 1902

Ralph Snowball Studio, Clarence Road, New Lambton, NSW, [n.d.]

Ralph Snowball Studio, Clarence Road, New Lambton, NSW, [n.d.]

Ralph Snowball’s house, Clarence Street, New Lambton, NSW, 11 April 1902

Chinese Market Gardener at Ralph Snowball’s residence, Clarence Road, New Lambton, NSW, September 1886

The first thing to note is that these are all of the same building. Compare the fence and the verandah in these two photos.

The NSW Land Registry Services has a historical map that shows a property owned by R.G. Snowball on the corner of Clarence Rd and Baker St (lot 1165), and for a number of years I thought that the photographs above were of that location


Recently I realised that couldn’t be right, in particular because in one of the photos of the back of the house (on the elevated side of the block) there is clearly another house to the right. So the Snowball house in this photograph cannot have been on a corner.

Also in the Cultural Collections archive is a photo taken from near the top of Collaroy Rd, looking northwards towards Lambton colliery and township.

Lambton Colliery and township, Lambton, NSW, 15 October 1900

I was able to locate Snowball’s house in this photograph, and notice that the right wall of the Mechanics’ Institute in Lambton, the top of the Lambton Park rotunda, and the chimney of Snowball’s house were in alignment. I was then able to replicate that alignment in Google Earth by drawing a straight line using the Mechanics’ Institute and rotunda as guide points.

Using this alignment in Google Earth, I then inspected the path of that line on a 1944 aerial photograph looking for a matching building – one with an expansive front yard with steps going up to the front of the house, and with the back of the house very close to the street. There was a very good match at 19 Clarence Rd.

A closer inspection of the map with the property owners names shows on lot 1149, although the name is slightly worn away, “Ralph Snowball”.

Finally, when I overlaid this map into Google Earth along with the line I had drawn earlier using the Mechanics Institute and Rotunda as a guide, the line goes straight through lot 1149!

Google Earth shows that lot 1149 (19 Clarence Rd) now has two modern buildings on the block.

Locating this block of land also explains why the Federal Directory of Newcastle and District for 1901 has a listing for “Photographer. Snowball, Ralph, Gwydir Rd”.

New Lambton Aldermen

Eighty years ago in 1938, eleven suburban councils merged to form the City of Greater Newcastle council.  New Lambton Council was incorporated on 9 January 1889, and a ballot to elect nine aldermen was held on 2 March 1889.  The first Council meeting was held five days later in Sneddon’s Hall, and Thomas Croudace, the mine manager of the Lambton Colliery, was elected as the first Mayor. Croudace had previously served as alderman and Mayor of Lambton Council. His municipal enthusiasm seemed to know no bounds, for in 1891 and 1892 Croudace was simultaneously an alderman on both Lambton and New Lambton councils, as well as Mayor of New Lambton.

Unlike Lambton’s troubled debt laden history, New Lambton Council was conservative with its spending, but was not completely untouched by financial controversy. In 1916 there was quite a stir when the Town Clerk, William Danne, was discovered to have fraudulently altered council cheques to his own name. He was arrested, tried and sentenced to four months prison.

Over the years New Lambton Council had 83 different aldermen, ten of whom served a decade or more. At the other extreme is John Leyshon, who in 1894 resigned from office just 15 days after being elected.

A total of 27 aldermen held the position of Mayor, and a number of streets in New Lambton are named in their honour, including Croudace, Dunkley, Errington and Longworth. Of particular note is George Errington, who was elected Mayor on seven occasions in his 26 years on New Lambton Council.  Errington was born in Durham, England, in 1863, and arrived in New Lambton in 1880 to work as a miner. He was first elected to council in 1891 and finished his last term in 1920. George Errington died in 1934 at his daughter’s Mayfield residence Iberia, named after the steamship that had brought George to Australia 54 years earlier.

Alderman George Errington. Truth newspaper (Sydney), 4 Jun 1911.

The New Lambton Council Chambers were destroyed by fire in April 1931. Photo by Ralph Snowball, University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.


The article above was first published in the April 2018 edition of the Lambton & New Lambton Local.

Additional information

Much of the information in this article was sourced from material I have previously published on this website. See my articles on

George Errington

The “Truth” newspaper of Sydney published a short biographical article on George Errington on 4 June 1911.

Alderman Errington was born in Durham, England, in the year 1863, and came to New South Wales in the s.s. Iberia, the vessel that later on took the N.S.W. contingent to the Soudan. He went to the Illawarra district, thence to the Newcastle district, and took up his residence in New Lambton, where he has resided ever since, with the exception of a few months in Queensland. He was Miners’ Delegate for some years, also vice-president of Eight Hour Committee, and presided at the opening of the Trades Hall in Newcastle. He has been in the Council 20 years, and has been Mayor six times. He was appointed Justice of the Peace ten years ago. He is one of the municipal representatives on the Water and Sewerage Board, and occupies the position of vice-president this year. He is also a trustee of the district park. He ran as the selected Labor candidate for Wickham a few years ago, and was defeated by a small majority.

Birth place:Durham, England
Death date:24 May 1934
Death place:Mayfield
Burial site:Sandgate
Burial Long,Lat :151.707931,-32.870902 (KML File for Google Earth)
Burial date:25 May 1934
George Errington served as an alderman of New Lambton Council for 26 years.

George Errington served as an alderman of New Lambton Council for 26 years.

Headstone of George Errington.

Headstone of George Errington.

Newspaper articles

Article Date Event DateNotes
4 Jun 1911Short biographical article on George Errington, Mayor of New Lambton.
1 Mar 1916William Charles Danne, town clerk of New Lambton, charged with cheque fraud committed on February 15th.
4 Mar 1916
1 Mar 1916
Special meeting of New Lambton council to discuss the recent fraudulent of action of the town clerk, William Charles Danne. The aldermen unanimiously carry a motion to dismiss the town clerk.
9 Mar 1916
8 Mar 1916
William Charles Danne, former town clerk of New Lambton pleads guilty to two charges of cheque fraud, and is sentenced to four months imprisonment.
31 May 1934
24 May 1934
Death of George Errington, longest serving Mayor of New Lambton.
22 Sep 2016William Charles Danne convicted of another cheque fraud and sentenced to two years hard labour.

The Hand Of Friendship Hotel

And so will disappear an ancient landmark, which unfortunately will soon be forgotten.

These closing words of a 1933 newspaper report on a building demolition proved true, for few people today passing the corner of Regent St and Russell Rd know that it was the site of one of New Lambton’s earliest hotels.

The Hand of Friendship Hotel was opened on 18 September 1869, its first publican Benjamin Lunn pledging in an advertisement the sale of ‘none but the very best wines, spirits, ales etc.’ The premises also offered ‘abundant accommodation for the requirements of a colliery township.’ It was just the second hotel to open in New Lambton, when the town was barely a year old and the streets not yet formed.

Benjamin Lunn remained the publican until his death in 1878 when the hotel passed to his wife Jane, and later to their son James in 1884. In the ensuing years, the hotel had numerous licensees. Ralph Snowball photographed the hotel in September 1895, and the group standing at the door is almost certainly the publican of the day, George Masters, with his wife and two daughters.

In the next decade, the hotel passed through numerous hands and the building gradually deteriorated. In 1905, the police opposed the renewal of the hotel’s licence ‘on the ground that the building was in bad condition, owing to the white ants.’ It survived that objection, but only for another year. Plans to demolish the building and erect a new hotel came to nothing, and in 1906 John Canning, the last publican to stand behind the bar of the Hand of Friendship Hotel, relinquished his licence.

The building stood idle for some time before it was sold, when it gained a new life as a second-hand goods shop. The weathering of the years however was relentless. In 1933 the building was finally demolished, and a tangible link with New Lambton’s infancy was lost.

The Hand of Friendship Hotel, New Lambton. 19 September 1895. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

The location of the Hand of Friendship Hotel, corner of Regent St and Russell Rd, New Lambton.


The article above was first published in the February 2018 edition of the Lambton & New Lambton Local.

Additional information

Opening

Advertisement in the Newcastle Chronicle on 18 September 1869, for the opening of the Hand of Friendship Hotel.

Snowball photographs

September 1895

In the September 1895 photo the name of the publican “G. Masters” can be partially seen in a sign above the door, behind the lamp.

The diagonal writing in the three panels below the name says:

Licensed to retail
Fermented l(iquors).
Spirituous liquors

In November 1894, ten months prior to the Snowball photo, a stable in the course of erection at the hotel collapsed in a strong wind. Three children were injured, including the six year old daughter of the publican, George Masters, who had her leg badly fractured below the knee. It is probable that the little girl on the right in the photo is the child who was injured in the accident.

May 1903

Eight years later, in May 1903 Ralph Snowball took another photograph of the hotel.

Hand of Friendship Hotel, 2nd May 1903. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

The publican at this time was Phillip James Byrne, having acquired the license from Edmund Butterworth three months earlier in February 1903. Note in the sign above the door there is a faint H at the end, which is probably the remnants of the name of the previous licensee.

In June 1903, just a month after this photograph was taken, the application of Phillip James Byrne for a renewal of the license was objected to on on the grounds that “the accommodation was inadequate, and the place in an insanitary condition.”

Centenary Hall

In 1906 the hotel ceased to trade, and in January 1907, the owners of the building, Tooth and Co., put the property up for sale. The sale included the land, hotel building, and the Centenary Hall adjacent to the hotel and fronting Russell Rd. The land was described as having frontage of 133ft 4in to Russell St, and 98ft 3in to Regent St.

Site of the Hand of Friendship Hotel and Centenary Hall, New Lambton.

Demolition

The 1933 report on the demolition of the building had an accompanying photograph. (The paper printed the photograph back to front as a mirror image. I have corrected the image below.)

Demolition of the former Hand Of Friendship Hotel building in 1933.

Hotel licensees

The following is a list of licensees as gleaned from various mentions in newspaper articles over the years. Some of the dates are known with certainty, as there is a report of the license being transferred from one person to another. For some licensees I have had to make an informed estimate based on the first and last reported association of the licensee with the hotel.

  1. Benjamin Lunn (15 September 1869 to November 1878)
  2. Jane Lunn (November 1878 to March 1884)
  3. James Lunn (May 1884 to 1886)
  4. John Williams (1887 to 1888)
  5. John (Jack) Hall (June 1888)
  6. Thomas (Tom) Durham (June 1888 to November 1889)
  7. John (Jack) Thomas (November 1889 to 1892)
  8. George Masters (1893 to 1895)
  9. Joseph (Joe) Garratt (1896 to 1899)
  10. Edmund (Ted) Butterworth (1900 to Feb 1903)
  11. Phillip James Byrne (Feb 1903 to 1904)
  12. John (Jack) Canning (1904 to October 1906)
  13. George Bertram Bowser (October 1906 to November 1906)

The 1933 article on the demolition of the building states that “Ben Bradley (afterwards an alderman in the New Lambton Council)” was also a licensee, but I can find no independent evidence for this. Benjamin Bradley did have a publican’s license at one stage, but it was for the Lake Macquarie Hotel in Teralba.

The article also states that Jack Canning “was the last to stand behind the bar of the old hotel”. Although this is true, he wasn’t the last licensee. George Bertram Bowser was the final licensee, for just under a month in October/November 1906. The report on the cancellation of his licence in November 1906 however, makes it clear that the building remained unoccupied during his short tenure as publican.

Newspaper articles

Article Date Event DateNotes
16 Sep 1869
15 Sep 1869
A publican's license granted to Mr. Benjamin Lunn, of the Hand of Friendship, New Lambton.
16 Sep 1869A general article describing the beginnings of New Lambton, that notes that the Hand of Friendship Hotel is the second hotel in the township. "Both these houses afford abundant accommodation for the requirements of a colliery township."
18 Sep 1869
18 Sep 1869
Advertisement for the opening of the Hand of Friendship Hotel, New Lambton.
29 Nov 1878
27 Nov 1878
Death of Mr. Benjamin Lunn, landlord of the Hand of Friendship Hotel, New Lambton.
5 Apr 1884
28 Mar 1884
Death of Jane Lunn, Hand of Friendship Hotel.
24 May 1884
21 May 1884
"The license of the Hand of Friendship Hotel, New Lambton, was transferred from the executors in the estate of the late Mrs. Jane Lunn to James Lunn."
17 Dec 1886Reference in a court hearing to "James Lunn, hotelkeeper, at New Lambton". Although the hotel is not named, it is presumed that it the Hand of Friendship hotel.
23 Mar 1887"An inquest was held at New Lambton yesterday, at Mr. John William's Hand of Friendship Hotel."
14 Mar 1888At a court hearing where he was a witness, John Williams is described as the "late licensee of the Hand of Friendship Hotel, New Lambton."
30 May 1888"FOR SALE, the Lease, License, and Good will of the HAND OF FRIENDSHIP HOTEL, New Lambton, now doing a good business."
7 Jun 1888"An application was put in for the transfer of the license of the Hand of Friendship Hotel, New Lambton, from John Hall to Thomas Durham.--Granted."
8 Jun 1889"FOR SALE, Lease, License, Furniture, and Goodwill of the HAND OF FRIENDSHIP HOTEL, New Lambton. Apply to THOMAS DURHAM, on the premises."
14 Nov 1889"The license of the Hand of Friendship Hotel, New Lambton, was transferred from Thomas Durham to John Thomas"
24 Jun 1892License renewal to "John Thomas, Hand of Friendship, New Lambton".
25 Mar 1893Charge of Sunday trading against "George Masters, of the Hand of Friendship Hotel, New Lambton" was withdrawn.
13 Nov 1894
12 Nov 1894
The roof of a stable in the course of erection at the Hand of Friendship Hotel is blown off by a strong gust of wind. The building then collapsed and three children are injured, including the six year old daughter of the publican, George Masters, who had her leg badly fractured below the knee.
26 Jun 1896Renewal of license to "Joseph Garrett, Hand of Friendship, New Lambton".
27 Mar 1899At a performance by the Fire Brigades' Band, "ample seating accommodation" was provided by "Mr. Joseph Garratt, of the Hand of Friendship Hotel."
21 Jul 1900Advertisement.
"FREE Public Dance, Monday Night, Butterworth's Centenary. Hall, New Lambton. Noble and Gaggetta, Musicians."
The Centenary Hall was part of the Hand of Friendship Hotel site.
21 Aug 1902"Mr. G. C. Martin, district coroner, held a magisterial inquiry at Butterworth's Hand of Friendship Hotel, New Lambton, yesterday morning."
14 Feb 1903"Mr. Scott, S.M., granted a transfer of the license of the Hand of Friendship Hotel, New Lambton, from E. Butterworth to P. J. Byrne."
19 Jun 1903"The application of Phillip James Byrne for a renewal of the license of the Hand of Friendship Hotel, New Lambton, was objected to on a report, furnished by Sergeant G. Salter, to the effect that the accommodation was inadequate, and the place in an insanitary condition."
18 Nov 1903For Sale: "HOTEL, New Lambton, Tooth's Beer, long lease, good trade, low rent, cheap. Byrne, Hand of Friendship."
16 Sep 1904Bazaar in aid of New Lambton Mechanics' Institute to be held in "Canning's Centenary Hall."
23 Jun 1905"John Canning, Hand of Friendship Hotel, New Lambton, applied for renewal of license. The police opposed the application on the ground that the building was in a bad condition, owing to the white ants. Mr. T. A. Braye (Messrs. Braye and Cohen) appeared for the applicant and said that plans had been prepared for a new building, which would be erected. Temporary improvements would also be made. Michael Joseph Moroney, representing the owners, Tooth and Co., confirmed this statement, and the renewal was granted."
19 Jun 1906Plans to build a new hotel on the site of the Hand of Friendship Hotel … "the firm of Tooth and Co. contemplate erecting a large hotel on the present site of their hotel property, situated at the corner of Regent-street and Russell-road."
12 Oct 1906LICENSING COURT. The following transfers were approved :- From John Canning to George Bertram Bowser, Hand of Friendship Hotel, New Lambton, and from Thomas Mclntosh to John Canning, Sportsman's Arms, New Lambton.
9 Nov 1906"In the matter of the Hand of Friendship Hotel, New Lambton, Sub-Inspector Goulder applied for cancellation of the license. The hotel changed hands on October 11, and since that date had remained unoccupied. The license, which was held by W. Bowser, was formally cancelled."
23 Jan 1907For sale - "THAT PROPERTY KNOWN AS THE Hand of Friendship Hotel, Fronting Regent-street, and THE CENTENARY HALL, Fronting Russell-street."
2 Nov 1933Report on the demolition of the Hand of Friendship Hotel building.

Glebe Hill Reservoir

The University of Newcastle Cultural Collections site has a Ralph Snowball photo with the caption “Construction of the water reservoir, New Lambton, NSW 1917”. In tracking down the location of this photo, thanks to Robert Watson I somewhat surprisingly ended up in a different suburb and a different year.

Construction of Glebe Hill Reservoir, 1886. Located at 65 Macquarie St, Merewether. Photo by Ralph Snowball, University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Part 1: Ridgeway Road?

Given that the photo is taken from an elevated position overlooking a flat plain I had always assumed that the location was where the reservoir now is at the top of Ridgeway Road, New Lambton Heights.

Water Reservoir site, corner of Ridgeway Rd and Lookout Rd, New Lambton Heights.

A search of Trove appeared to confirm my assumption, with a 9th January 1917 newspaper article reporting that

“The construction of the New Lambton reservoir was completed on the 3rd instant, and after satisfactory tests were made the reservoir was brought into use.”
Further investigation however cast serious doubt on this being the site of the Snowball photo, for none of the other details matched up.
  • the topography of the land wasn’t right – there is a deep gully below Ridgeway Rd, but in the photo the land slopes down more gently.
  • the reservoir in the photo was of brick construction, but the New Lambton reservoir was of reinforced concrete.
  • the reservoir in the photo was large (from estimates of the dimensions in the photo I calculated the capacity to be 350,000 imperial gallons) whereas the New Lambton reservoir was only 50,000 gallons.

Visiting the site of the Ridgeway Rd reservoir revealed that the 50,000 gallon 1917 reservoir is still there, covered in ivy, beside the new 1954 steel reservoir. It is clearly not the reservoir in the Snowball photo.

The 1917 ivy covered concrete reservoir, Ridgeway Rd, New Lambton Heights.

On the horizon of the Snowball photo there is a very faint outline that appeared to me to be the outline of Shepherd’s Hill on the coast. What other reservoirs on the hills around the Newcastle would provide a view eastwards over the flatlands towards the coast?

A 1940 map of Newcastle shows reservoir locations as small blue circles. Having ruled out the Ridgeway Rd site [1], I then considered Lambton Reservoir [2], St James Rd Reservoir [3], and Lookout Reservoir [4].

1940 map of Newcastle, showing reservoir locations.

Part 2: Lambton?

Lambton Reservoir was built in 1885 and sits in the middle of Newcastle Road at the top of the hill.

Lambton Reservoir, Newcastle Road.

Interestingly, a drawing of the Lambton Reservoir shows that it is the same design as the reservoir in the Snowball photo, with a central dome and two concentric rings of arches to form the roof.

Design of Lambton Reservoir, 1885.

But despite the similarity of design, the topography of the land in the photo doesn’t match. If the photo was of Lambton Reservoir we would expect to see the township of Lambton (including the very prominent Post and Telegraph Office building) before us.

Part 3: St James Road?

The reservoir (marked 3 in the map above) in New Lambton, between St James Rd and Queens Rd was built soon after August 1926. It didn’t seem to match up too well with the shape of the land in the Snowball photo – the St James Rd reservoir appears to have a slight ridge to its right, which is absent in the old photo. Also in 1926 we would expect to see the growing suburb of New Lambton below the reservoir, instead of the large expanse of scrub land that we do see.

Reservoir, between St James Rd and Queens Rd, New Lambton.

Part 4: Lookout?

The reservoir marked 4 on the map above was known as the Lookout Reservoir. It also was constructed on 1926, and its location can still be seen in the empty circular space between the two newer above ground steel reservoirs.

Location of the “Lookout Reservoir”, corner of Grandview Rd and Lookout Rd, New Lambton Heights.

The “Lookout Reservoir” seemed to be a better candidate for the Snowball photo in terms of the shape of the land and size of the reservoir, but it led me to an impossible conclusion … the “Lookout Reservoir” was constructed in 1926, but Ralph Snowball had died in August 1925, before construction had begun!

Part 5: Merewether?

At this point, Robert Watson came to my aid, and with some inspired thinking rescued me from my impossible conclusion. He deduced that the reservoir in the Snowball photo is actually situated in Macquarie St, Merewether.

Location of Glebe Hill reservoir on the 1940 map.

I had led myself astray in too quickly assuming that the Snowball photo was looking east towards the coast. It is in fact looking north-west, across the Broadmeadow flatlands towards Waratah.

Glebe Hill Reservoir, Merewether.

Panorama from the site of the Glebe Hill reservoir.

Glebe Hill Reservoir in Macquarie St Merewether is now part of a private residence. Google Street View.

A newspaper article from May 1886 states that the construction of the reservoir began in November 1885, only three months after the Lambton reservoir was completed in August 1885. The article contains a detailed description of the design that matches the photo very closely.

The roof is formed of two concentric arched rings and a dome carried by cast-iron girders, supported by iron columns resting on stone foundations some two feet square.
A March 1887 article describing the Hunter River District Water Supply shows that the Glebe Hill reservoir was almost identical to the size to the Lambton reservoir.
The reservoir at Lambton is built on the hill above the Public school, a distance of twelve and a half miles from. Buttai. It will hold 402,600 gallons. At fifteen and a third miles from Buttai a 15-inch branch pipe, a mile and a quarter in length, is connected with a reservoir having a capacity of 403,000 gallons, to supply Hamilton, Adamstown, the Glebe, and other towns along the line.
Note that although the reservoir is located within the modern day suburb boundaries of Merewether, it is sometimes called the “Hamilton Reservoir”, as that was the principal township it served.
Some other hints that confirm that the Snowball photo is of the Glebe Hill reservoir are the faint outline of smoke stacks in the distance. At the right are two stacks of different size, close together.

Broadmeadow copper smelter stacks.

These are the stacks of the English and Australia Copper Company smelter at Broadmeadow.

To the right is a single stack of one of the A.A. Company pits in Hamilton, and the very faint outline of the roof of St Peters Church in Denison St, Hamilton.

The Glebe Hill reservoir photo is taken from a spot only about 400 metres away from another Ralph Snowball photo taken in 1897, which shows the same landmarks in the distance.

The Newcastle lowlands. 1897. Photo taken from intersection of Beaumont St and Glebe Rd looking north towards Hamilton. University of Newcastle Cultural Collections.

1886 Glebe Hill Reservoir photo (top) and 1897 Glebe Rd photo (bottom)

The Glebe Hill reservoir is marked on Corporal Barrett’s 1910 map of Newcastle, situated on Lake Macquarie Rd. Quite possibly the two buildings marked at the end of Henry St are the two buildings we see in the Snowball photograph.

Glebe Hill reservoir, on 1910 map. University of Newcastle Cultural Collections.


Acknowledgements

My thanks to Robert Watson who had a substantial input into the content of this article. Thanks also to Brendan Berghout of Hunter Water, who pointed me towards some useful information on early water supply infrastructure, and who helpfully reminded me that imperial gallons (220 gallons/m3) are not the same as U.S. gallons (264 gallons/m3). It was a casual conversation with Brendan on a bicycle commute to work one morning that was the genesis of this journey of discovery.

Blackbutt Reserve

Blackbutt Reserve today owes its existence to a strange combination of business prosperity, national adversity, and private tenacity.

The current area of the Reserve lies wholly within the boundaries of a coal mining lease of the Scottish Australian Mining Company. The eighteen hundred acre lease extended from Kotara South to Jesmond. Mining commenced in 1863, and apart from occasional downturns, the colliery prospered. Therefore, above ground there was little development apart from buildings such as pumping stations, required to support underground mining operations.

However, with the depletion of coal, and rising land taxes, the S.A.M Company looked for other income, from real estate. Between 1915 and 1928 the company developed and sold a few small subdivisions in Lambton, New Lambton, and Kotara. In June 1932, they attempted to auction a large parcel of land, in what is now the southern part of Blackbutt Reserve. The nation at this time however, was suffering the adversity of economic depression. There was little appetite for land purchases, and only five of the 52 lots on offer were sold. The failure of the auction thus left open a window of opportunity for local councils to purchase the land for a nature reserve, starting with 17 acres on Lookout Road in 1938, and increasing to 144 acres by 1940.

In 1956, Newcastle Council bought another 270 acres from the S.A.M. Company, in what is now the northern part of Blackbutt Reserve. Council wanted to subdivide all this land for housing, but through the tenacious opposition of private citizens and community groups, this development was blocked. Instead, the land was added to Blackbutt Reserve. Community opposition had to swing into action again in 1966 to prevent the Department of Main Roads building an expressway through the Reserve.

Many individuals worked tirelessly for the establishment and preservation of Blackbutt Reserve. One in particular, Joe Richley, president of the Northern Parks and Playgrounds Movement for 20 years, is commemorated in the name of Richley Reserve.

Middle Pit pumping shaft, 1894. Located where the entrance to Richley Reserve is today. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

The approximate site of Middle Pit in 2017, at the entrance to Richley Reserve.


The article above was first published in the July 2017 edition of the Lambton & New Lambton Local.

Acknowledgement

One of my main sources in researching and writing this article was “A History of Blackbutt Nature Reserve” by John Ramsland, University of Newcastle, a manuscript written for the Blackbutt Reserve Local Committee as a contribution to the Australian Bicentennial Celebrations. A copy of this manuscript is held in Newcastle Region Library Local Studies Section, Q719.32/RAM.

Additional Photos

From the Newcastle Morning Herald, 12 Jan 1937.

Two views of Blackbutt Reserve, which is being acquired by the municipal councils of the district for retention as a public park. From the shelter shed there is a commanding view of Newcastle.

Newcastle Morning Herald. 12 Jan 1937.

Newcastle Morning Herald. 12 Jan 1937.

Development on the S.A.M. Co Mining Lease

The 1888 map below, held by the NSW Land and Property Information, shows the 1840 acres of mining lease held by the Scottish Australian Mining Company in the name of “Morehead & Young”, in the following lots:

  • Lot 23 – 320 acres
  • Lot 167 – 320 acres
  • Lot 171 – 320 acres
  • Lot 172 – 240 acres
  • Lot 173 – 320 acres
  • Lot 174 – 320 acres

1888 map showing mining leases of Scottish Australian Mining Company. NSW Land and Property Information.

Fifty years after mining commenced in 1863, a 1913 War Office map shows that the only area of the 1840 acre mining lease with residential development is the township of Lambton in the north west corner.

Portion of 1913 War Office map of Newcastle, with 1840 S.A.M. lease outlined in blue. National Library of Australia.

From 1915, the Scottish Australian Mining Company started developing and selling residential subdivisions, starting with 24 blocks of “Lambton Park Estate” fronting Howe St, in May 1915.

Twenty five blocks on Russell St New Lambton were offered for sale in June 1915. (All real estate posters are from the University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.)

Fifty seven blocks surrounding Chilcott St Lambton were offered for sale in January 1920.

Twenty eight blocks in New Lambton Heights were offered for sale in October 1920.Ten blocks on Curzon St and Carrington Pde, New Lambton were offered for sale in December 1921.

191  blocks in Kotara were offered for sale in 1925.

Twenty six blocks on Turner St Lambton were offered for sale in 1928.

In 1932, the Scottish Australian Mining Company attempted to auction 52 blocks of land, totalling 480 acres. With the country in the grip of the Depression, the auction was a failure, with just five of the 52 blocks selling.

Poster for auction of land in Blackbutt Reserve area, 1932. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

One of the blocks that sold was Lot 51, on Lookout Rd. This was bought by the Newcastle Branch of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Memorial Institute. It was this block that became the first officially gazetted portion of Blackbutt Reserve in March 1938.

The 17 acres and 3 roods of Lot 51 on Lookout Road, was the first portion of Blackbutt Reserve to be officially gazetted. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

By September 1940, the size of Blackbutt Reserve had been increased to 144 acres, as shown on this Parish Map of Newcastle. The 144 acres consisted of Lots 48 to 52, and part of lot 47 of the 1932 subdivision.

Parish map of Newcastlem showing the boundary of the 144 acres of Blackbutt Reserve as of 13th September 1940. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

It is interesting to see how the modern boundaries of Blackbutt Reserve fall entirely within the S.A.M. Company’s mining lease, an indication of how the underground mining activities there in the 19th century left large areas of the surface undeveloped, and available for a nature reserve in the 20th century.

Blackbutt Reserve in relation to the S.A.M. Company mining lease.

Middle Pit

The first reference in Trove to the Middle Pit is from January 1875, in relation to driving “two narrow bords four yards wide for water standage.”

It is uncertain when the Middle Pit pumping shaft ceased operation. It was still in use in June 1913, as an article refers to the damage done to Orchardtown Road in the course of carting coal to Middle Pit, presumably to fire the engine boilers. A December 1937 article reported on the attempted rescue of a dog that had purportedly fallen down the shaft. The site had obviously been unused for quite a number of years, judging by the description …

The disused shaft is known in the locality as Middle Pit, and was formerly used in connection with the workings of the Old Lambton mine. Pit top gear, including an old rusted winding wheel, is still there, but the pit itself has fallen into disuse. It is in a deep gully, and nobody would suspect its presence when more than 100 yards away. Thick lantana has grown almost to the edge; briar bushes form a barrier between the outside world and the old shaft. The only sound is the sighing of wind in the gum trees. In the interests of safety the shaft has been enclosed by a tall galvanised iron fence. The ground at the foot of portion of the fencing has worn away, and through this hole the dog probably slipped in.

In this 1944 aerial photo the location of Middle Pit can be seen in the bare area to the west of Freyberg St. Newcastle Region Library.

Google Maps. Location of Middle Pit.

Google Earth. Approximate location of Middle Pit.

State Highway 23

The Hunter Living Histories site has a scanned PDF of a booklet “Save Blackbutt – the cas against State Highway 23 violating Blackbutt Reserve”.  This booklet was published by the Blackbutt Action Committee in opposing the construction of the highway.

Figure 1 below, from the Federal Government December 1974 report, “The Impact of State Highway 23 on Blackbutt Reserve, Newcastle, New South Wales” shows how much of the western part of the reserve would have been severed had the highway proposal not been blocked by staunch community opposition.

Proposed route of State Highway 23 through Blackbutt Reserve in the 1960s.

Newspaper articles

Article Date Event DateNotes
9 Apr 1931First mention of the name "Blackbutt Reserve" in the newspapers.
12 May 1931Thirty to forty aldermen of the city and district inspect the Blackbutt area. The Mayor of Newcastle (Ald Parker said that they "were definitely impressed that if acquired for a reserve it would be an asset to the district."
11 Jun 1932Advertisement for auction of 52 blocks of land, in the area of the south part of Blackbutt Reserve.
11 Aug 1932"An area of 17¾ acres in Blackbutt Reserve imnmediately below the Look-out, has been bought by the Returned Sailors and Soldiers' Memorial Institute. The purchase will serve a dual purpose, for not only will returned men willing to work for any relief they may obtain from the Institute carry out their undertaking there, but the Institute will settle a few ex-service men there on small allotments." This block became the first official part of Blackbutt Reserve in 1938.
5 Jan 1937Convinced that Blackbutt Reserve is inappropriately named, the Mayor of Newcastle (Ald. H. Fenton), in his capacity of Chairman of the Local Govern ment Coordination Committee, is urging the adoption of a more attractive title. He suggested last night that if the reserve was dedicated as a memorial to King George V., it could be called the "King George V Memorial Park." Or there might he support, Ald. Fenton added, for a proposal that the area be known as the "Duke of Windsor Reserve."
4 Mar 1938Official resumption of 17 acres of land (Lot 51) for Blackbutt Reserve.
14 Sep 1966A public meeting will be held to protest against the Main Roads Board decision to route a six-lane highway through Blackbutt Reserve.

A few hundred metres from the site of Middle Pit, in the bush adjacent to Richley Reserve, lies this rusting coal bucket, a poignant symbol of the way in which the decline of coal mining gave rise to a nature reserve.

Rusting remains of a coal bucket, lying in the bush close to Richley Reserve.

Arthur Lydney Payne

Arthur Lydney Payne was one of Lambton and New Lambton’s most prominent citizens. This month marks 100 years since his death on 15th June 1917.

A L Payne was born at Lydney Park, a property in the Millers Forest area, around 1850.  In the 1860s his family moved to Waratah, where the teenage Arthur was employed by the butcher, D McMichael. Arthur’s skill and reliability were so evident that he was soon appointed to the management of the business. In 1870, at just 20 years of age, Arthur Payne purchased a butchering business in Regent St New Lambton, and later that year opened another shop in Elder St Lambton. Thus began a family business that maintained a continuous association with the area until 1993.

A L Payne’s efforts were not only directed towards commerce. He served as an alderman on Lambton Council for 19 years, and was four times elected Mayor. He also became renowned for his expertise in herbal medicines, and “patients came to him for advice from all parts of Australia.”

One of the enduring legacies of Arthur Payne to our district is Le Chalet, the elegant house he had built in Elder St Lambton in the early 1900s. In 1911, at the rear of this property, Arthur Payne erected stables and a buggy house, as he was an avid horseman. He maintained a lifelong interest in the sport of show jumping, and won a number of competitions across NSW with horses he had personally trained. Even a month before his death at age 67 he was active, purchasing a “well-known jumper and show horse” from the Maitland horse markets.

After a short illness, A L  Payne died at his residence in Elder St Lambton in June 1915. His funeral cortege, travelling from Lambton to Sandgate cemetery was reported as “one of the largest that ever left Lambton”, the size of the gathering being “a fine tribute of respect and esteem in which the deceased gentleman was held.”

The slaughterhouse that A L Payne established in the 1870s to supply meat to his butcher shops. Exact location uncertain. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Although not the original building, A L Payne’s former butcher shop in Elder St Lambton still displays his name, and the year he established his business in the area.

The site of A. L. Payne’s butcher shop in Regent St New Lambton.


The article above was first published in the June 2017 edition of the Lambton & New Lambton Local.

Additional Information

A. L. Payne. Photo from Amy Gibbs.

A. L. Payne. Photo from Amy Gibbs.

Key facts

Name:Arthur Lydney Payne
Birth date:8 Jan 1851
Birth place:Lydney Park (near Millers Forest), NSW
Death date:15 Jun 1917
Death place:Elder St, Lambton, NSW
Burial site:Sandgate Cemetery
Burial Long,Lat :151.70626621,-32.869169368 (KML File for Google Earth)
Burial date:17 Jun 1917
Grave site of Arthur Lydney Payne, Sandgate cemetery.

Grave site of Arthur Lydney Payne, Sandgate cemetery.

Inscription on grave monument in Sandgate cemetery. (Contrast enhanced to improve readability.)

Inscription on grave monument in Sandgate cemetery. (Contrast enhanced to improve readability.) "In loving remembrance of ARTHUR LYDNEY PAYNE who departed this life JUNE 15th 1917 a Aged 67 years. At Rest Also His Dearly Beloved Wife THIRZA GRACE who departed this life July 28th 1936 Aged 81 years"

In a curious coincidence, the grave of Arthur Lydney Payne in Sandgate cemetery is adjacent to that of Donald McMichael, the man who gave Arthur his start in the butchering trade.

In a curious coincidence, the grave of Arthur Lydney Payne in Sandgate cemetery is adjacent to that of Donald McMichael, the man who gave Arthur his start in the butchering trade.

There is some uncertainty about the age of A. L. Payne at the time of his death. Page 155 of “The Story of Lambton” states his date of birth as being 8 January 1851, which would make him aged 66 at his death. However the inscription on his grave states his age as being 67. To add to the confusion, the newspaper article reporting his death states that he was born in 1852, which would make him aged 64 or 65.

Lambton Council

Arthur Lydney Payne served as an alderman on Lambton Council for nearly 19 years, in two separate periods of office:

  • February 1884 to May 1894
  • September 1903 to March 1912

Interestingly, both periods of office ended with a resignation – in May 1894 over the the failure of the electric light plant, and in March 1912 for an unspecified reason.

Alderman Payne was elected Mayor on four occasions:

Alderman A. L. Payne, Lambton Council 1890. From a collage of Ralph Snowball photographs. Newcastle Library.

Newspaper articles

Article Date Event DateNotes
5 May 1917At the Maitland horse markets, a month before his death … "We have also to report the sale of the well-known jumper and show horse, Moonbi, at a highly satisfactory price to Mr. A. L. Payne."
19 Jun 1917
15 Jun 1917
"Mr Payne carried on a butchering business successfully for many years, but he was better and far wider known as a skilful adviser in cases of sickness and chronic complaints. He was so successful in the treatment of all kinds of human ailments and diseases that patients came to him from almost all parts of the Commonwealth, including Queensland and Tasmania."
16 Jun 1917
15 Jun 1917
Death of Arthur Lydney Payne.
16 Jun 1917Funeral notice for A. L. Payne.
18 Jun 1873
17 Jun 1917
Report on the funeral of A. L. Payne
21 Jun 1917
19 Jun 1917
Letter of condolence sent from Lambton Council to the widow and family of the late A. L. Payne.
21 Jul 1917Estate of A. L. Payne valued at £18,185, bequeathed to his wife Thirza Grace Payne.