Publication Details

Hutton, A. C. (2009). Geological Setting of Australasian Coal Deposits. In R. Kininmonth & E. Baafi (Eds.), Australasian Coal Mining Practice (pp. 40-84). 15-31 Pelham Street, Carlton Victoria 3053: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.


Coal was discovered in Australia in 1791 by William Bryant, a convict, near the mouth of the Hunter River at Newcastle, New South Wales (NSW). Later discoveries were made along the Brisbane River and ncar Ipswich in the 1820s. Mining commenced in Australia in 1799, also in NSW. The earliest scientific input to coal exploration was when Sir Joseph Banks, in 1799, introduced drilling equipment to Australia (Bryan, 1990a). Since then, production of coal has occurred in all states with the exception of the Northern Territory. In NSW, Queensland and Western Australia the mined coal is predominantly of bituminous rank, whereas in South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria the coal is sub-bituminous or brown in rank. NSW and Queensland have the largest resources of bituminous coal with the bulk of the production coming from NSW prior to the development of the extensive Bowen Basin coal deposits in Queensland. Queensland is now the largest producer of coal in Australia.The majority of Australia's brown coal reserves are located and mined in Victoria with most used for electricity generation.