Trains and Trams of the Bulli Coal Company Line

(Bulli Colliery to Sandon Point Jetty and Mainline)

1858- 1993

Chronology and Bibliography

Compiled by Michael Organ

Introduction

The following is a chronological listing of historical references to trains, trams and the construction and operation of the Bulli Colliery to Sandon Point tramway and railway line between the years 1858 and 1993. Also included are references to the various sidings associated with the Bulli Cokeworks, which operated on site between 1889-1930, and the nearby Vulcan and Newbolds brickworks.

c.1858

Coal mining operations commence at Bulli Colliery.

1860

April – Opening of the Sommerville and O’Brien’s Bulli Coal Mine.

1861

Bulli Coal Mining Company formed. Operations commence on mining from an adit 400 feet above sea level at Bulli Colliery.

1862

30 September – ‘An Act to enable the Bulli Coal Mining Company to construct a Railway from land near Bulli belonging to the said Company and to connect same with Bellambi Harbour’. Assented to by New South Wales Legislative Council. Project not carried out.

14 October - tender advertisement published in the Illawarra Mercury for construction of railway, bridges and a jetty at Bulli in association with the coal mining operations.

1863

23 January - Illawarra Mercury - report on the Bulli Coal Company's mine an works.

28 January - Sydney Morning Herald – ‘The Bulli Coal Company’s Mines and Works’. Reprinted from Illawarra Mercury of Friday, 23rd January.

May - June: Completion of construction of the Sandon Point coal loading jetty and connecting horse-drawn tramway from the Bulli coal mine. This initial jetty was 680 feet long and designed by William Weaver. The first load of coal was loaded from it onot the brigantine George.

2 June – official opening of a self acting standard gauge incline up the hill to Bulli mine. Wagons worked by gravitation from the mine to the jetty. Horses hauled empty wagons back to the bottom of the incline.

3 June - Illawarra Mercury – ‘The Bulli Coal Mine’ - 1st part of a report on the official opening of Bulli mine.

6 June - Sydney Mail - Report on official opening of Bulli mine.

9 June - Sydney Morning Herald – ‘Bulli’ - 2nd part of report on official opening of Bulli mine.

16 June Illawarra Mercury – ‘Bulli’ 2nd part of report on official opening of Bulli mine. Reprinted from SMH of 9 June.

22 June - Bulli Coal Mining Company begins operations, with the first load dispatched from Sandon Point jetty on this date. SS Ironside takes coal to Shanghai, China.

26 June Illawarra Mercury – ‘Accident at Bulli Coal Company’. 7 wagons crash off end of jetty.

26 June - Illawarra Mercury – ‘Shipping at Bulli’.

7 July - Illawarra Mercury – 'Lions at Bulli’. Report on meeting of coal company directors at Bulli on 4th July.

7 July - Illawarra Mercury – ‘The Lost Waggons’.

7 July - Illawarra Mercury – ‘Shipping at Bulli’.

17 July - Illawarra Mercury – ‘Shipping {Bulli}

24 July - Illawarra Mercury – ‘Trial Trip of a New Steamer [Woniora]’.

28 July - Illawarra Mercury – ‘First Steam Collier for Illawarra [Woniora]’.

28 July - Illawarra Mercury – ‘Shipping {Bulli}

29 July - Sydney Morning Herald: ‘The Bulli Coal Mining Company’ - Report on the Annual Meeting of the Bulli Coal Mining Company and its operations.

7 August - Illawarra Mercury – ‘The Bulli Coal Mining Company’.

September - SS Waniora first steamer on Illawarra trade – 250 tons capacity.

Shipping – schooner Moselle takes 100 tons of coal; schooner Tiger takes 90 tons; schooner George takes 120 tons.

1864

3 June - Illawarra Mercury – ‘Bulli Coal Company’. Report on meeting.

14 June - Illawarra Mercury – ‘The Bulli Company’s Jetty’ 100 feet of the jetty is washed away during storms. Repairs eventually cost £2000.

17 June - Illawarra Mercury – ‘The Late Storm’ Report on damage to jetty and landslide.

21 June - Illawarra Mercury – ‘The Bulli Jetty’.

29 June - Illawarra Mercury – ‘The Bulli Coal Company’.

5 August - Illawarra Mercury – ‘Bulli Coal Company’.

16 August - Illawarra Mercury – ‘Bulli Coal Company’.

1865

24 February - Sydney Morning Herald: ‘The Bulli Coal Mining Company’ - Report on Half-Yearly Meeting of the Bulli Coal Mining Company and its operations.

24 August – Sommerville article re dispute with Bulli Coal Mine.

1867

March – schooner Moselle stranded on beach.

13 April - Sydney Morning Herald: Notice of an order being placed with Russel & Co., Sydney, for the first Bulli Coal Company locomotive. It was built by Vale & Lacy and became known as engine Vale & Lacy No. 2. This was the second locomotive built in the Colony, and the first for the Illawarra region. Type: 0-4-0, 10 tons, 35 hp.

22 May – schooner George smashed to pieces.

21 June – storm washes away part of jetty and 4 workmen are drowned. New jetty subsequently constructed.

5 July - Illawarra Mercury – ‘Inquest at Bulli’.

9 July - Illawarra Mercury – ‘The Bulli Jetty’.

13 July - Tiger washed ashore and wrecked at Bulli.

19 July - Illawarra Mercury – ‘Bulli – The Jetty’.

26 July - Illawarra Mercury – ‘Bulli – Accident’.

31 July - Sydney Morning Herald: ‘The Bulli Coal Mining Company’ - Report on the 11th Half-Yearly Meeting of the Bulli Coal Mining Company and its operations.

2 August - Illawarra Mercury – ‘The Bulli Coal Mining Company’.

20August - Illawarra Mercury – ‘Bulli – The Jetty’.

30August - Illawarra Mercury – ‘Bulli – Bulli Coal Pit’.

August - Vale & Lacy No. 2 delivered to Bulli Jetty in pieces and therein assembled and steamed. Renamed ‘Bulli No.1’, or ‘Bulli Pioneer.'

10 September - Illawarra Mercury – ‘Wreck of the Matedor and Bright Planet’.

Jetty hardwood pylons replaced by turpentine.

1868

July - Bulli Coal Mining Company orders a second locomotive from Vale & Lacy.

SS Barwon in trade.

1869

January – Locomotive Vale & Lacy No. 4 arrives at Bulli colliery. Type: 0-4-0. Renamed Bulli No.2. This is the 2nd Bulli loco.

1870

7 May - Town and Country Journal: Report on wreck of the brig Spray. P22.

1870s

Bulli mine producing 600 tons daily and employing 80 men.

1871

19 August - Town and Country Journal: Scenery at foot of Westmacott Pass. P241.

1873

Engraved image of Bulli jetty.

22 January - SS Bulli arrives at Bulli. Capacity 500 tons, 186 feet long. Later wrecked on way to Tasmania.

18 October - Sydney Mail – ‘Coal Mining at Bulli’ Report plus engraved images of mine and jetty.

1875

Geological map shows Bulli jetty route.

1876

SS Merksworth at Bulli. Capacity 300 tons.

1877

29 December - Town and Country Journal: Report on Bulli Pass coach accident.

1878

August - New tunnel opened at Bulli “B” Pit mine, to the north. Narrow gauge railway incline branched to serve both openings.

1879

First coal exported from new tunnel.

2 August - Town and Country Journal: Engraving ‘ Township of Bulli ’. Report on Bulli. P.216-7

9 August - Town and Country Journal: Report on Bulli. P265.

1880

Robert Stephenson 2360 of 1879 purchased by Bulli Coal Company. Renamed Bulli No.3. Known as “Katie.” Limited use due to heavy weight causing track damage. Type: 0-6-0, 14 tons. This is the 3rd Bulli loco.

7 February - Town and Country Journal: Report on Bulli. P265.

1882

28 October – S.S. Waniora lost off Botany Bay with 240 tons of coal.

1884

April - SS Bulli II built and leaves England on this date. Stranded and wrecked at Capetown in May.

1885

“B” Pit mine closed.

30 May - Town and Country Journal: Report on Bulli. P1120.

1887

January – wives of striking miners hold back train on colliery railway line.

23 March, 2.30pm – explosion at Bulli mine kills 81.

2 April - Town and Country Journal: Report on Bulli explosion. P702.

15 April – Illustrated Sydney News: Report on Bulli explosion, plus engravings.

21 June - ‘North Bulli Crossing’ opened at 44.33.42 Miles (71.438km) on the main railway line from Sydney. The crossing, which was at 86 deg. 51 min. (slightly towards Wollongong), was shown in the contract plan as a flat bottom cast steel crossing, with both tracks being of standard gauge.

July – mine reopens.

1888

3 October - Signalbox erected/opened for private and government trains at the junction of the main line and the colliery railway.

13 October - Town and Country Journal: Report on Bulli. P754.

1889

Bulli No.3 locomotive transferred to Woonona and Bellambi collieries.

Bulli Cokeworks opens on site (until 1930). Two dams/ponds constructed on Tramway Creek to supply water for quenching coke.

Cokeworks to use slack coal ex. Dump. 60 tons produced per day. 40 modified “coppie” ovens. Bulli Coal Mining Co., p20.

February – Testimonial to Alexander Ross.

20 July - 20 ovens in service. Increased to 40 ovens later. Black Diamonds, p15.

1890

9 August - Triangle from private railway to Down connection on mail line 9 August 1890 (on Down side).

July – Bulli colliery for sale.

George Adams acquires cokeworks. Bulli Coal Mining Co., p22.

1894

21 April - Illawarra Mercury – report on purchase of coke works by George Adams.

1895

March - George Adams acquires Bulli Colliery. Reconstructs mine and jetty and erects dam across Tramway Creek.

1899

9 September - Town and Country Journal: Report on Bulli. P35.

1905

21 January - Town and Country Journal: Report on Bulli. P28.

1906

Locomotive Vale & Lacy No. 4 in need of repairs. Written off and scrapped.

August - Baldwin 5451 of 1881 (NSWGT Motor No. 21) sold to Bulli Coal Mining Company. Delivered to Bulli colliery by sea to Wollongong , and then run by its own steam along the main line to Bulli. Renamed Bulli Coal Co. No.21. Buffer beams fitted, end aprons removed and replaced by pipe railings. Used for jetty shuntings. This is the 4th Bulli loco.

21 November - Town and Country Journal: Report on Bulli Pass. P22

1907

April - Jetty partially destroyed by storm – 16 months to repair.

8 May - Town and Country Journal: Report on Bulli. P19.

June - Baldwin 6983 of 1884 (NSWGT Motor No. 62) purchased in damaged condition without body and delivered to Bulli colliery, after previous use at Newcastle. Body built at colliery and buffer beams fitted. This is the 5th Bulli loco.

1908

20 additional ovens added to cokeworks, making the total 40. Black Diamonds, p15.

c1910

Vulcan Fire Brick Co. begins operations on site adjacent to the rail line to the jetty. Continued operations until 1935.

1912

July – 200 feet of jetty washed away.

1923

Vale & Lacy No. 2 of 1867 stored out of use at the foot of the Bulli incline without a chimney, and gradually stripped.

Rail line re-layed with better quality rails.

1928

Baldwin 6983 locomotive located in slab running shed at Bulli out of use.

Beyer Peacock 2662 of 1885 (NSWGR No. 356) sold to Bulli Coal Company. This is the 6th Bulli loco.

1929

Vale & Lacy No. 2 of 1867 scrapped - perhaps removal date of boiler from frame.

Baldwin 6983 on blocks in yard at Bulli to be overhauled. Not carried out, and scrapped.

January - Vale & Sons No. 41 of 1887 (NSWGR No. 368) purchased by Bulli colliery ex Newcastle . Renamed Bulli No.4. This is the 7th Bulli loco.

August - Beyer Peacock 2662 transferred to Port Kembla Steel Works and scrapped. Wheels and motion used in Bulli No. 4 reconstruction.

1934

Baldwin 5451 removed from colliery traffic.

January - NSWGR 30of 1911 sold to Bulli colliery. Renamed Bulli No. 5. This is the 8th loco at Bulli.

August - Bulli No. 5 in service and permitted to work Bulli coal trains to Port Kembla.

1935

Vulcan Refractories Co. taken over by Newbolds Silica Fire Brick Co. Newbolds continue on site until 1974.

1936

Baldwin 5451 scrapped at Bulli colliery.

August - AI&S purchases Bulli colliery. Vale & Sons No. 41 renumbered AI&S No. 2 at Bulli; Bulli No. 5 (NSWGR 30 of 1911) transferred to Cringilla and scrapped in December 1937.

1937

January - last note of Vale & Lacy No.2 of 1867. Frame only.

December - Kerr Stuart 780 of 1908 transferred to Bulli after work at Newnes and Lithgow. This is the 9th Bulli loco.

December – AI&S purchases Bulli colliery.

1938

Krauss 2179 of 1889 transferred to Newbolds, Thirroul, to work siding. Converted to petrol loco with Leyland engine.

August - Kerr Stuart 780 working at Bulli colliery to replace AI&S No. 1.

December - AI&S No. 2 (Vale & Sons No. 41) overhauled at AI&S Cringilla, renumbered AI&S No.4.

1939

21 April - AI&S No. 4 returned to Bulli.

May-June AI&S No. 4 spends two months at Mount Keira colliery as relief, from Bulli.

Engine shed at Hobart Street and Princes Highway Bulli demolished.

1940

Kerr Stuart 780 removed to AI&S Crigilla for overhaul and then to Mount Keira .

1943

Sandon Point jetty damaged and abandoned.

1945

Kraus 2179 transferred to Newbolds Home Rule quarry. In use to c.1946. Removed in 1975 to Illawarra Light Rail Museum , renamed ‘Newbolds’.

1946

AI&S purchases land at Sandon Point, site of the former cokeworks and tramway/railway line.

1948

Coke ovens at former Bulli Cokeworks site demolished.

4 May – AI&S purchases further parcels of land at Sandon Point adjacent to former tramway 3.2ha.

1949

Middle section of jetty collapses.

NSWGR crossing on level replaced with overhead bridge.

1951

December - AI&S No. 4 out of service at Bulli, to be replaced by AI&S No. 1.

1952

January - Avonside 1596 of 1911 (AI&S No. 1) transferred to Bulli colliery. This is the 10th Bulli loco.

February - AI&S No. 4 on standby at Bulli.

August - AI&S No.4 in use for one day that month.

November - AI&S No. 4 in use for one day that month.

1953

November - AI&S No. 4 transferred to AI&S Cringilla and scrapped.

November – modernization of Bulli colliery and railway completed.

1959

AI&S No. 1 out of service. Replaced by "Z" 1915 (ex NSWGR loco), on hire to Bulli colliery. This is the 11th Bulli loco.

1965

15 April - "Z" 1915 returns to Eveleigh shed.

24 April - Beyer Peacock 2322 of 1884 (NSWGR 239) transferred to Bulli colliery from Corrimal. 10th Bulli loco.

1972

29 July - Beyer Peacock 2322 of 1884 (NSWGR 239) removed to AI&S Visitors Centre, Cringilla, for display, and subsequently to Hunter valley steam museum in 1976.

27 September – AI&S sells 2.84ha coastal strip at Sandon Point to Wollongong City Council for $1.

1981

Last use by a train of the Sandon Point railway line and siding.

1983

Line from Bulli colliery officially closed.

1987

Bulli Coal Mine closed by owners, BHP.

1993

Railway bridge over main line dismantled.

1997-2007

Residential development of Sandon Point estate by Stockland destroys archaeological and other remains of the railway line and cokes ovens.


Bulli Steam Locomotives

1867 - 1972

Number / Name  / Period of active service

1. Vale & Lacy No. 2 of 1867 (1867-c1923)

2. Vale & Lacy No. 4 of 1869 (1869-1906)

3. Robert Stephenson No. 2360 of 1879 (1880-1889)

4. Baldwin No. 5451 of 1881 (1906-1934)

5. Baldwin No. 6983 of 1884 (1907-c1928)

6. Beyer Peacock No. 2662 of 1885 (1928-1929)

7. Vale & Sons No. 41 (1929-1953)

8. NSWGR No. 30 of 1911 (1934-1936)

9. Kerr Stuart No. 780 of 1908 (1937-1940)

* Krauss No. 2179 of 1889 (Newbolds of Thirroul) (1938-1945)

10. Avonside 1591 of 1911 (1952-1959)

11. NSWGR "Z" 1915 (c1959-65)

12. Beyer Peacock No. 2322 of 1884 (1965-72)

 


References

Bayley, W.A., Black Diamonds: History of Bulli District of New South Wales, Bulli, 1975.

Eardley, G.H. and Singelton, C.C., ‘Bulli Colliery to Bulli Jetty’, Australasian Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin, Vol.1, No.4, February 1938, 33-4.

Eardley, G.H., Bulli Coal Mining Company, Australian Railway Historical Society - Light Railway Group, 1954.

----, Transporting the Black Diamond – Colliery Railways of the Illawarra District, Traction Publications, Canberra, 1968.

----, ‘Transporting the Black Diamond – Colliery Railways of the Illawarra District’, [Book 2 – Draft manuscript], n.d.

----, ‘Railway Equipment Associated with the Old Bulli Colliery’, Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. 27, No. 467, September 1976, 208-12.

Forsyth, J.H., Historical Notes on Illawarra Line, Public Transport Commission of New South Wales, 3 volumes, October 1976.

King, N.S., Cornelius O’Brien: Pioneer of Bulli, Illawarra Historical Society, 1965.

McCarthy, K., Gazetter of Industrial Steam Locomotives, Illawarra District N.S.W., Australian Railway Historical Society, December 1983.

Pittman, Edward F., ‘Coke’, in Annual Report of the Department of Mines and Agriculture, New South Wales, for the year 1892, Government Printer, Sydney, 1893, 33-7.

Roberts, M.R. and Davis, J., Greetings from Woonona-Bulli: Images of the Black Diamond District, Wyewurry Publications, Thirroul, 1995.

Rogers, B., Preliminary Assessment of Heritage Significance of former colliery railway bridge over Princes Highway, Bulli, 2000.

----, Location of archaeological sites, Sandon Point: Bulli Coke Company’s Coke Ovens and Salt Works, 2000.

Singelton, C.C., Railway History in Illawarra, Illawarra Historical Society, Wollongong, 1969.


C.C. Singelton and Gifford Eardley, ‘Bulli Colliery to Bulli Jetty’, Australian Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin, February 1938, 33-4.

‘Bulli Colliery to Bulli Jetty’

Australian Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. – late Bulli Colliery and Cokeworks Ltd., Illawarra.

The Bulli Coal Mining Company was incorporated in 1861 and in 1862 an Act of Parliament to construct a railway from the mine to the coast was assented to. The railway was at first horse drawn to and from the foot of the self-acting incline below the mine over which standard gauge wagons are still worked.

The line is 1 mile 26 chains in length clear of the incline and single throughout except for sidings which occur spasmodically along the route. The Illawarra line was constructed in 1887, and crossed the Bulli Colliery line on the level with a triangle connection, both controlled from Bulli Coal Siding Signal-box.

A coke works existed on the down-side of the Illawarra line up to a few years ago. For 4 years the company’s engines were permitted to run on departmental lines to Port Kembla, but since 1 October 1937 this practice has been prohibited.

At the foot of the incline a spur line used to run to the “B” Pit but this was removed some 35 years ago.

It has been stated that the company imported a locomotive known locally as “Katie” but proving too heavy for the light track the engine was sold to Taylor and Walker of South Bulli Colliery in 1867 and its place taken by a Vale & Lacy being that firm’s No.1 and the first built in N.S.W. This engine weighed 10 tons, had a wheel base of 4’ 6” and was 14 feet over buffer beams, and 6 feet wide.

In 1868 a sister engine was bought from the same firm with however a larger pair of tanks, and was scrapped about 1907, being replaced by two second-hand tram motors Nos. 21A and 62A, the motion of the locomotive being used for haulage of the mine until electrified. 62A motor had been concerned in a smash and came to Bulli in pieces, a new cab having to be constructed by the colliery.

Both had front apron plates removed and open railing with buffer beams substituted.

In 1928 62A was scrapped and replaced by 356 F class locomotive originally from N.S.W.R. but this engine only lasted a year, being replaced by another F class, which with new cylinders and a general rebuild became No.4 Bulli in 1929.

In 1934 motor 21A gave up the ghost and 2031 was brought from N.S.W.R., which was not a good bargain as it was scrapped in 1937, just after the Australian Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. Tool over the Bulli Colliery, and this company purchased South Maitland Railways Ltd. 2nd 1, and named it “AI&S 1”, [with] number 4 being renumbered “AI&S 2”, making the last named “3rd 2”, while the S.M.R. engine is “3rd 1”.

Table – Locomotives 1867 to 1938

No.

Wheels

Cylinders

Builder

Builder No.

Date

Remarks

1st – 1

0-4-0

Saddle Tank

2’ 6”

Outside

x 15”

Vale & Lacy

1

1867

Bought new, scrapped 1923. First engine built in New South Wales .

1st – 2

0-4-0

Saddle Tank

2’ 6”

Outside

x 15”

Vale & Lacy

4

1868

Bought new, scrapped 1907.

2nd – 1

0-4-0

Saddle Tank

3’ 0”

Outside

11” x 16”

Baldwin

16035

1881

Bought 1907 North Bulli Colliery, ex N.S.W. Tramways. Disused from 1934, scrapped 1936. Originally 21A.

2nd – 2

0-4-0

Tank

3’ 0”

Outside

11” x 16”

Baldwin

16045

1884

Bought January 1907 ex N.S.W. Tramways. Scrapped 1928. Originally 62A.

3

2-4-0

Tank

5’ 1”

Inside

15” x 22”

Beyer Peacock

2662

1885

Bought 1928 Hebburn Colliery ex North Bulli Colliery, ex NSWR. Scrapped 1929. Originally 1st 356.

1st – 4

2-4-0

Tank

5’ 1”

Inside

15” x 22”

H. Vale

41

1887

Bought January 1929 NSWR. Rebuilt with portions Nos.3, 4 and underframe 364F in 1929. Originally 1041 (368F). Scrapped 1937.

2nd – 4

2-4-0

Tank

5’ 1”

Inside

15” x 22”

-

-

-

Rebuilt from portions of Nos. 3, 4 and frame 364

5

2-6-4

Tank

4’ 0”

Inside

18” x 24”

Eveleigh

30

1911

Bought August 1934 ex NSWR. Scrapped 1937. Originally 2031 (943E).

3rd – 1

0-8-2

Tank

Inside

20” x 24”

Avonside

1596

1911

Bought 1937 South Maitland Railways Ltd. Originally 2nd – 1 (SMR Ltd.)

The above railway is a single line 1 mile 26 chains in length, connecting the foot of the broad gauge colliery incline to Bulli jetty, crossing the Illawarra line on the level at an interlocked crossing worked from the Bulli Coal Siding Signal-box.

The line was built under the “Bulli Coal Railway Act” of 1862 and was therefore in existence long before the construction of the Illawarra line in 1887.

The line is connected with the Illawarra line by a triangle junction near the crossing and between 1933 and 1 October 1937, the company’s engines were permitted to work over the government lines to Port Kembla. The colliery was taken over by AI&S Co. in December 1937.


Any comments, corrections, or additions to the content of this site are most welcome. Please e-mail the author at: Michael Organ [morgan@uow.edu.au]. Site last updated: 25 May 2011.