The first record of mining at Avondale was reported to the Department of Mines Annual Reports of 1884 and 1885 noting that the several coal seams outcropping on the site had been prospected, including the Bulli Seam and further prospecting of that  seam had been suspended.  In 1903 it was reported that prospecting on the site had been commenced initially by one man joined by another three men in 1904, and that a Mr. Bryen had been appointed as the Permit Manager.

Whilst no work was reported at the site in 1905, in the years 1909 to 1911 a total of ten men were employed at the site, and the mine owners indicated that it was their intention to erect plant on the mine site and construct a rail line to the coast. These plans did not eventuate, it is assumed due to a lack of capital funding.  At that point in time three tunnels had been driven, two about 90 metres and one 40 metres in length into what is assumed to have been the Tongarra Seam.

In 1919 Messrs. Pattison and Bryen again expressed their interest in opening the mine, noting however that the mine could not be commercially viable without the construction of the rail line.  They later made a failed attempt to sell the undertaking to the Sydney Municipal Council but it appears that these negotiations failed.

No further work was reported on the site until 1938, when Mr. John Brunero applied the Mining Wardens Court to enter Portion 55, Parish of Wongawilli, owned by the estate of the above Messrs. Pattison Bryen.  The Portion 55 was adjacent to Portion 31 where the above mining operations had been previously carried out.  Mr. George Brunero opened the mine in the No5 Tongarra seam in 1938, using contract miners and the bord and pillar system of mining.  In August 1959 George Brunero commenced mining in the No3 Wongawilli seam, with the Tongarra and the Wongawilli seam both being worked, simultaneously.  The mining of the Tongarra seam ceased in 1970 and that of the Wongawilli seam in 1982.

Avondale Colliery Mining Machinery
From the collections of the Wollongong City Library
and the Illawarra Historical Society (P17746)

In 1977 the then current mining leases were transferred to Avondale Collieries Pty Ltd.  In the latter years of the mine’s operations the contract mining system was abandoned and replaced by mechanised mining using continuous miners and conveyor belts, with the coal dispatched from the surface by road.  In 1982 the Avondale Colliery closed as a result of a loss of markets for the coal being produced by the mine.  The seams being mined both had a high ash content that required washing to be a marketable product, and there were no washing facilities on the mine site.

The adjacent Huntley Colliery was at that point in time seeking an increase in lease areas and in 1987 acquired the leases and the freehold land of the adjacent Avondale Colliery.  Having acquired the above mining leases and freehold land, the Huntley Colliery did not though go on and work those coal areas.

The Huntly Colliery closed in 1989, along with the colliery’s principal customer the Tallawarra Power Station, and mining was suspended at the Avondale Colliery in August 1992.  The mine entries to both the Huntly and Avondale Collieries were sealed in January 1993.

In 2006 Gujurat NRE purchased the Avondale Colliery and were said to have plans to develop the mine and commence production in the 2007/8 period.

RAC 17/04/2020