Newcastle and the History of Coal

Newcastle first discovered when Lieutenant John Shortland, looking for escaped convicts, entered the harbour.  He found a coal seam on the hill from which coal was collected and taken back to Sydney for analysis.

Vessel "The Hunter" carries first export coal to Bengal via Sydney.

First direct coal export from Newcastle (to Cape of Good Hope) via vessel "Anna Joseph".

1804 - 1850
Early mining operations from tunnels and shafts driven into the cliff faces adjacent to Newcastle Harbour area.

Hydraulic cranes erected for the first time in 1878, speeding up the coal loading process greatly.

The Port had 12 hydraulic cranes and 5 steam cranes for coal loading.

Record 5.2 million tonnes of coal shipped from Newcastle.  This volume of tonnage was not achieved again until the 1960's.

First Electric Cranes built for loading coal.

A local mining company built the Dyke Loader located at Carrington Coal Loader present site, the first 'modern' conveyor type loader.  This loader relied on direct feed from rail wagons (there were no stockpiles or bins).

The New South Wales State Government built and commenced operation of the Basin Coal Loader, which was, located two kilometres south of the current Carrington Coal Terminal site and had an operating capacity of 7 million tonnes per annum.

Canwan Coal Pty Ltd established 'private' stockpile operations (in an area near where Carrington Coal Terminal now stands), which were eventually linked by conveyor to the Basin Loader in 1970 increasing capacity to 11 million tonnes per annum.

Gollin & Co commenced construction of a new coal loader at Port Waratah, the current site of Carrington Coal Terminal.  Stockpile area to occupy the 'old' Port Waratah rail marshalling yards.

Gollin & Co encounter financial difficulties.  A group of coal shippers and Japanese investors, form PWCS to acquire the project and assume responsibility for the funding, construction and operation of the new Terminal.  PWCS came into commercial operation in October 1976 and the new Terminal had a throughput capacity of 16 million tonnes per annum.

1980 to 1982
PWCS expand Carrington Terminal to present capacity of 25 million tonnes per annum.

Kooragang Coal Loader Limited commences operation.  Major shareholders were BHP (30%), Maritime Services Board (20%), Howard Smith Industries (12.5%) and Newcastle Coal Shippers 27.5%.  Japanese utilities held a combined 10%.  BHP was the managing shareholder.

PWCS and Kooragang Coal Loader Limited established a formal commercial agreement which provided for a common loading charge through the Port regardless of which Terminal handled the coal.

Basin Coal Loader stockpiles were closed and all coal loaded at the Basin Coal Loader was sent by conveyor from Carrington Coal Terminal.

The Basin Coal Loader closes.

PWCS purchased all of the shares in Kooragang Coal Loader Limited, thus making Kooragang Coal Loader Limited a wholly owned subsidiary of PWCS.  The PWCS shareholding was restructured and is largely represented by the present shareholdings.

Combined loading capacity of 46 million tonnes per annum for both Carrington Coal Terminal and Kooragang Coal Terminal ('KCT').

PWCS commits to 'Step-by-Step' expansion program for Kooragang Coal Terminal.  Stage 2 construction commences, with 2nd berth completed in 1994.

With the completion of the second shiploader at Kooragang Coal Terminal, PWCS nominal capacity reaches 66 million tonnes per annum.

PWCS receives State Government approval for the expansion of Kooragang Coal Terminal.

Construction of additional coal loading berth at Kooragang Coal Terminal.

Commenced Stage 3 Kooragang expansion.

Completion of Stage 3 Kooragang expansion.  Shiploading capacity at Kooragang Coal Terminal increased to 64 mtpa.  Total shiploading capacity at PWCS - 89 mtpa.


Board approval in April 2005 to undertake Kooragang expansion 'Project 3D'.


This further expansion was completed in 2007 and includes an additional 1400 metres stockpile Pad D, a further extension on the existing Pad C by 200 metres, fourth stacking stream and a fifth stacker.  PWCS will have a total shiploading capacity - 102 mtpa. 


Further expansion at the Kooragang Coal Terminal (known as Project 3Exp) included the introduction of an additional Reclaimer (total of 4) and an additional Stacker (total of 6), the upgrade of two of the three dump stations and two stacking streams resulting in PWCS now having a combined total throughput capacity of 113 Mtpa.


In June 2010, Project Master Plan Completion (MPC) was approved by the PWCS board for further expansion works. This works included the dredging for and construction of wharf K7, extensions to Pad C & D and an upgrade to stacking stream 1 and the remaining dump station.


Board approval in April 2011 to undertake Project '145' - the construction of an additional dump station, rail arrival / departure roads and inbound stream to bring KCT nameplate up to 120Mtpa. Project MPC completed.


Completion of Project 145 and completion of all works associated with Kooragang Expansion Project (KEP). Nameplate capacity of PWCS now 145Mtpa.


One horse power...used to empty coal hoppers.

A hydraulic crane at Dyke Point.

Coal wagons assembled along The Dyke ready for loading.

An early picture of Dyke Point, with electric and steam cranes loading the port's early coal exports.

One of the early methods of 'modern' coal loading technology - The McMyler Hoist Circa 1909.

May 1968 - Looking North from Carrington.

Kooragang Reclaimer.

Kooragang Shiploader.

Newcastle Harbour aerial view.

Kooragang Stacker during construction in 2008.

Assembling a Reclaimer in 2009.