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Wongawilli - History

"Wonga" is an aboriginal word meaning "a native pigeon"

Traditional Custodians of Illawarra Land

Local communities of Aboriginal people were the original inhabitants and Traditional Custodians of Illawarra Land. Their dialect is a variant of the Dharawal language. Before European settlement, the Aboriginal people of the region lived in small family groups with complicated social structures and close associations with specific areas. Suburb boundaries do not reflect the cultural boundaries of the local Aboriginal community. Traditional Custodians today are descendants of the original inhabitants and have ongoing spiritual and cultural ties to the Land and waterways where their ancestors lived.

This page is currently being developed by library staff.


 Wongawilli - Timeline

Coal mine to be opened at Wongawilli, 3 1/2 miles from Dapto Railway Station and 7 miles from Wollongong.
40 horses and 10 bullocks with 8 drays were drawing coal to Dapto Station. 40 tons of coal a day was being produced
Wongawilli mine was opened and developed by G & C Hoskins Limited to suppy coke to Lithgow. 150 tons at grass face. A railway to transport the coke was needed. Hoskins sought a railway link from Wongawilli
The Railway to Wongawilli was being built and excavations for the coke works were proceeding
Men arrived to work at the Wongawilli mine. 20 out of 40 coke ovens were completed and in use. The incline to the colliery was also ready for use.
Wongawilli sent 1600 tons of coke from the coke works, a crusher was installed to crush coal for coking.
After a closure whilst the works were improved, there were now 52 ovens available. Direct Dapto to mine transport was required and a school needed.
The coke trade was brisk with 27 trucks to Lithgow. 3 coal washing machines were installed and a direct road to Dapto was needed.
An Epsicopalian Church Hall was erected 'a few years ago' close to the mine
Wongawilli Public School was opened in the Church Hall and the Wongawilli Parents and Citizens Association formed.
Additional 25 coke ovens were operational making 105
Wongawilli Public School was opened by W. Davies ex. M.L.A.
Mount Pleasant Loco No. 2. to Wongawilli Coke Ovens
Mount Pleasant Loco No. 1. to Wongawilli Coke Ovens
85 ton AIS electric diesel loco hauls load from Wongawilli to steel works
Wongawilli Public School closed
Wongawilli Colliery was consolidated with Kemira and Nebo mines to become the Elouera Colliery officially opened on 1 February 1993.
Proposal to turn Elouera Colliery into a tourist coalmine after its planned closure.
BHP Billiton stops production at Elouera in June. In October contract miner Delta begins extraction of coal under an agreement with BHP Billiton.
Wongawilli suburb boundaries finalised and gazetted by the Geographical Names Board.
BHP Billiton sells Elouera Colliery to Gujaret NRE. Gujaret NRE re-christens the Elouera mine as the NRE Wongawilli Colliery.
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