LOOKING BACK: The entrance to the second of the Ipswich Railway stations.
LOOKING BACK: The entrance to the second of the Ipswich Railway stations. beryl

When old king coal held sway

BETWEEN 1865 and 1866, Messrs W. AND G. Cuffe (brothers) opened a coal mine at North Ipswich, which was stated at that time "to be situated just off coal pit gully".

Less than half a mile (0.8km) from the mouth of the pit on the Bremer River, this mine had been worked for some time prior by Walter Gray, but had filled with water and was closed.

The water must have dried up before the Cuffe Bros commenced diggings on a seam of coal 7ft (2.13m) thick.

The coal was raised by buckets with a windlass from a shaft 70ft (21.3m) deep.

The following advertisement appeared during 1866 and read: "Cuffe Bros are now prepared to supply screened house coal at 17 shillings per ton, Smiths coal at 15 shilling per ton, delivered free in any part of North or South Ipswich."

Messrs Cuffe's coal mine was situated on what was later known as the Liverpool Estate.



A mineshaft at Rhondda.
A mineshaft at Rhondda. beryl


In regard to the first use of coal on the railway (not wood) an 1871 advert read: "Commissioner for Railways, Brisbane November 17, 1871, tenders will be received at this office until December 10, from persons willing to contract for the supply of coal for the Southern & Western Railway for locomotive engines and workshops. The coal must be of the best description".

This tender was signed by railway commissioner A. Herbert.

In April of 1872, the acceptance of the following tenders were gazetted J. Brennan and Co, W. Davis and George Hutchins and for three years, the Tivoli Coal Company.


The signal box at the Ipswich rail station.
The signal box at the Ipswich rail station. beryl


Mention was made in October 1871 of a new mine at Bundamba known as the Aberdare coal-mine, owned by Lewis Thomas. This mine was situated about five miles (8.04km) from Ipswich and was about a mile (1.6km) to the right of the Brisbane Rd which became known as Dinmore.

The mine was first opened in September 1870 after 80 acres of land were taken up under the land Act of 1868 for the purpose to mine coal.

Mr Thomas found coal was obtained by digging down from 10 (3.04m) to 15ft (4.57m).

In every direction in which the mine was worked, coal was found, and nine miners were constantly engaged in the pit, exclusive of the men who removed the coal to minor shoots.

Mr Thomas was well known in Ipswich as one of the first prospectors for coal in the district and procuction was raised from 12 to 15 tons a day.


It was recorded that an area called "Chestnut Scrub" (also known as "Black Scrub") was a favourite picnicking and river excursion in the 1870s.

It was close to the spot where the sod of the Ipswich Brisbane railway extension was turned by the Marquis of Normanby on January 30, 1878, and was not a great distance from the Six Mile Creek Bridge.



On 1866, George Beals, employed as a miner in Messrs Hooper and Robinsons' Tivoli mine, put in his spare time on Sundays, accompanied by his wife, in fossicking about the hills and gullies at Dinmore for minerals.

They came upon coal, when one Sunday, Mr John Campbell saw them at work on the coal and he (Mr Campbell) immediately took up the land.


In February 1875, James Lindsay was living at Town Marie and the mine he opened there on the Ivory Estate was worked by him and Henry Farley of Stanthorpe.

They named the mine "Rossend Colliery".


It was in May 1880 that Messrs Bergin and Co was reported as having opened a new mine - the "Perseverance" in the Bundamba district.

The coal was of a very superior quality. The manager was A. Downs, a miner of considerable experience who was the originator of any invention that helped prevent accidents in coal mines.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any record of just what this "invention" was.


In the early part of 1881, it was reported that a Mr Verrall had re-opened the old Redbank mine.

Also the Everton Coal Company had discovered a splendid seam of coal on a piece of land.

Mr George Phie had sunk two shafts for coal on top of Tivoli Hill.

One shaft was near the junction of what was then called the "Five Roads" - two roads branching off to Ipswich - one to Moore's Pocket, the other to Town Marie.

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