The production for the northern district, of which Newcastle is the port, amounted in 1908 to 6,511,002 tons, valued at 2,625,446.
In the Southern district, the mines at Ipswich and Bundamba, which are responsible for the greater proportion of the State’s output, shew a record but little higher than in 1907. The Triassic deposits in the Clarence and Richmond districts contain numerous seams, but the coal is largely intersected by bands, while its large percentage of ash renders it unfit for use as fuel for industrial purposes.
Estimates have from time to time been made as to the total quantity of coal available for working in the deposits in New South Wales, and while these naturally differ to some extent, they agree in placing the amount at well over a thousand million tons, without taking into consideration the deposits existing below a depth of 4000 feet. Probably these beds extend under the great western plains, but the presence of artesian water precludes the possibility of their being worked.
In South Australia brown coal of fair quality was found in 1889 at Kuntha Hill, 110 miles north of Hergott, and at Leigh Creek, on the Great Northern railway line.
The discovery of coal in Western Australia dates from 1846, when the mineral was found on the Murray River.
During 1908, however, the South Coast district, in which the site of these discoveries occurs, produced over 1,929,236 tons of coal, valued at 570,022.
In 1797 coal was also discovered at the mouth of the Hunter (or Coal) River by Lieutenant Shortland, and in this case, the deposits being more easily worked, it was not long before they were utilised, and a township sprang up which is now the port of one of the greatest coalfields in the world.
Since that year coal has been met with in other localities, but production at the present time is confined to the deposits at the Collie River.
In Tasmania coal was discovered between the Don and Mersey Rivers in 1850.
Other payable seems in this district outcrop about five miles away, near Cape Patterson, and it is believed that the coal-bearing area extends over twelve to fifteen square miles.
The existence of coal in Queensland was known soon after the establishment of the first settlement at Moreton Bay, mines near Ipswich, on the banks of the Bremer Creek and Brisbane River, having been worked almost continuously since that date.
A second bore was commenced in July, 1892, and in November, 1893, a seam of excellent coal, ten feet three inches thick, was reached at 2917 feet.