Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of History and Politics


The argument in the thesis is organised in three parts. Part I, comprising Chapters 1 to 5, inclusive, examines the period 1849-1871. It establishes the factors leading to the location of the first mines on the Wollongong coalfield, as well as to the formation of the coalition of local businessmen that had as its object the attraction to the district of as much mining capital as it could absorb. They identified the lack of a natural harbour as the great obstacle to the attainment of that objective and, through electoral manipulation, succeeded in having the New South Wales government construct a coal port at public expense. The port was completed in 1868, but proved a grand failure. Owners of capital responded to market and profit considerations rather than to the efforts of small business to overcome such considerations with artificial inducements provided at public expense. Consequently, by 1871, following recessions in 1863/64 and 1870, only a handful of mines were operating in the Wollongong Coalfield. Part II, containing Chapters 6 to 10, inclusive, deals with the response of the businessmen to the failure of their Wollongong Harbour policy. Initially demoralised and confused, they soon formulated a new variant of their policy—a railway linking the coalfield with Sydney Harbour, 50 miles to the north. This was a vastly more expensive proposition than a small coal port located in Wollongong. At first it attracted no support from government, which prompted the businessmen to sound out investors in Sydney with a view to forming a private company which would build and operate the Line. That too failed to materialise.

02Chap1.pdf (1729 kB)
03Chap2.pdf (1071 kB)
04Chap3.pdf (1338 kB)
05Chap4.pdf (1097 kB)
06Chap5.pdf (1289 kB)
07Chap6.pdf (1406 kB)
08Chap7.pdf (1439 kB)
09Chap8.pdf (1522 kB)
10Chap9.pdf (1092 kB)
11Chap10.pdf (991 kB)
12Chap11.pdf (1592 kB)
13Epilogue.pdf (244 kB)
14Conclusion.pdf (498 kB)
15Bibliography.pdf (693 kB)



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.