Rosewood History ©

Miners at the pithead of a mine in Walloon, Ipswich, c.1890
Photo: Picture Ipswich

COAL MINING

Mining began at Mooreland Coal Pits at Rosewood in April 1876. Messrs J. & J. Moore sunk a shaft 105 ft (32.04m) deep half a mile from the railway station and near to the railway line. Despite their very best efforts, the quality of the Mooreland coal proved unsuitable and it was abandoned at the end of 1878.

That same year, 1876, a very fine seam of coal, five feet thick, was found on the rising ground near Walloon.

In 1877 Scott Smith discovered coal on his property half a mile from the Walloon Railway Station and this was the beginning of coal mining at Walloon.

A former mariner, Captain John Nichol Rea, sunk a shaft in December 1887 and opened the Caledonian Colliery at Walloon in 1888. 

Mining began at North Rosewood in 1904 and continued in the district until 2019 when New Hope’s mine at Jeebropilly closed for rehabilitation.

Map of the Walloon-Rosewood Coalfield

Geological Map of the Walloon-Rosewood Coalfield

The Walloon-Rosewood Coalfield

In 1919 the Minister for Mines, Hon. Alfred James Jones was investigating the possibilities of opening up Coal Measures (a coal-bearing succession of rock strata formed in the upper Carboniferous period) in the Rosewood district. The Minister, accompanied by Mr.  W. Cooper, M.L.A. and Government geologist John Hector Reid, visited the Rosewood collieries on the weekend of 11th and 12th of October.

In early 1920 Mr. Reid returned and made a detailed geological examination of the Walloon Coal Measures in the Marburg and Rosewood districts. He intended to compile a contour map so he gathered every piece of information he could from the residents in the district about the occurrence of coal in wells or bores. He also offered to examine any rocks or mineral specimens, and give information to anyone interested in the subject.

In the June edition of the “Mining Journal” in 1921, published by the Queensland Government, John Reid contributed an article on the geology of the Walloon-Rosewood coalfield.

In 1922 he wrote a book, Geology of the Walloon-Rosewood Coalfield. It included 24 figures, 2 geological maps, and 1 table. (Brisbane : A. J. Cumming, Government Printer, 1922.) It is a rare book indeed. There is a copy in the library of the University of Illinois and a leather bound edition for sale on Amazon.

After the pioneering work of John Reid, no significant work was done on the Rosewood-Walloon Coalfield until 1951 when geological investigations began in the Perry’s Knob area. Diamond core drilling was recommended to find out how much coal was in the Roughrigg and Malabar mines.

In early 1952, the Department of Mines carried out exploratory drilling ahead of the Roughrigg No 7 colliery. 

Diamond drilling was done in 21 coal mine areas over the next ten years:- Rosewood-Haiglslea (15 mine areas), Amberley (4), Ebenezer (1) and the Bluff (1).

From 1962-1964 more detailed stratigraphic studies were made and coal seam correlation was established over 30 square miles. These studies showed that within the coal-bearing beds of the Walloon Coal Measures there were eighteen persistent coal seams of the mid Jurassic period. 

The eighteen seams are as follows, in descending stratigraphic order, and reflecting the mining operations  as they were in the year 1970. 

Hudson Seam – Joseph Hudson – 1902. Discovered by Joseph when he was sinking a well in Portion 406, parish of Walloon. (In the Perry’s Knob area.) A thin coal seam 2-3 ft thick, from 8-16 ft above the Hall Seam.

Of the eighteen seams in the Walloon Coal Measures the Hudson Seam is the only one which was never worked.

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Hall Seam – J. F. Hall – Glencoe No 1 Colliery – 1905 – Lies above the Hardie Seam from a few inches to 20 feet and in three sections. Situated in the Perry’s Knob and Ebenezer districts. The Hall Seam was worked at the following collieries:

Abandoned – Edenbank, Glencoe No 1, Glencoe No 2, Glencoe No 3, Glencoe No 4, Glencoe No 6, Lanefield Extended No 3, Neath No 1, Neath No 2, Perry’s Knob No 1, Perry’s Knob No 2, Roughrigg No 1, Roughrigg No 6, Smithfield No 3.

Working – Normanton No 1. Operations stopped in the Hall Seam in 1935. Continued in Joynson Seam. (1970)

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Hardie Seam – J. Hardie – Edenbank Colliery – 1920 – No more than 10 feet above the John Seam. Worked along with the Hall Seam. 1.2 to 1.5 metres thick and in two sections. The Hardie Seam was worked at the following collieries:

Abandoned – Edenbank, Lanefield Extended No 3, Neath No 1, Neath No 2 (previously Algarth and Mason’s Top Tunnel), Smithfield No 2, Smithfield No 3.

Working – Normanton No 1. Operations stopped in the Hardie Seam in 1927. Continued in Joynson Seam. (1970)

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John Seam – John Potts – Glencoe No 1 Colliery – 1910 – Potts was the first to exploit the 5 foot seam of coal (1.5 metres thick in two sections.). It lies from a few inches to nearly 60 feet above the Gunthorpe Seam. The John Seam was worked at the following collieries:

Abandoned – Glencoe No1, Glencoe No 5, Glencoe No 6, Glencoe Extended, Lanefield Extended No 3, Oakleigh No 1, Perry’s Knob No 1, Smithfield No 2, Smithfield No 3, Westvale No 2 (previously Perry’s Knob).

Working – Normanton No 1. Operations stopped in the John Seam in 1960. Continued in Joynson Seam. (1970)

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Gunthorpe Seam – Frank Gunthorpe – Westvale Collieries – 1923 – Frank Gunthorpe was the mine manager. Lies no more than 10 ft above the Trewick Seam. Situated in the southern part of the Perry’s Knob area. 1.8 metres thick and in two sections. The Gunthorpe Seam was worked at the following collieries:

Abandoned – Edenbank, Glencoe No 5, Glencoe Extended, Lanefield Extended No 3, Malabar No 1, Malabar No 2 (previously Mountain Ash No 2), Malabar No 3, Malabar No 5, Malabar No 10, Neath No 1, New Malabar No 2, Oakleigh No 1, Roughrigg No 2, Roughrigg No 3, Roughrigg No 4, Roughrigg No 7, Smithfield No 2, Smithfield No 3, Westvale No 2.

Working – Normanton No 1. Mining in the Gunthorpe Seam finished in 1960 but Joynson Seam was still being worked. (1970)

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Trewick Seam – Sydney Lyle Trewick – Normanton No 1 Colliery -1937 -Trewick was associated with the firm Normanton Collieries. The Trewick Seam was worked at the following collieries:

Abandoned – Glencoe No 5,  Glencoe No 6, Malabar No 2 (previously Mountain Ash No 2), Malabar No 3, Malabar No 5, Malabar No 10, Roughrigg No 1, Roughrigg No 2, Roughrigg No 3, Roughrigg No 4, Roughrigg No 7.

Working – Normanton No 1. Operations ceased in the Trewick Seam in 1959 but Joynson Seam still being worked. (1970)

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Little Jim Seam – John Mitchell Bruce – First worked at Bruce’s Tunnel 1918 – Reopened 1931 as Rosewood No 1 Colliery by James Boughen and Ernest Joynson. The coal became known as the Little Jim Seam. 1.5 metres thick in two sections. The Little Jim Seam was worked at the following collieries:

Abandoned – Mount Elliott No 1, Mount Elliott No 2 (previously Bailey’s Tunnel), Rosewood No 1 (previously Bruce’s Tunnel).

Working – Mount Elliott No 1 Extended, Normanton No 1, Rosewood No 2. At these 3 collieries operations ceased in the Little Jim Seam in 1966, 1959 and 1947 resp. Other seams still being worked. Mount Elliot No 1 Extended (Boughen Seam) and Normanton No 1 and Rosewood No 2 (Joynson Seam). (1970)

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Roots Seam – Noel Horace Roots – Malabar Minerals Bentonite Mine – 1961 – The seam was only worked to extract the 2 foot bed of montmorillonite clay. The interval between the Joynson and Roots seam varied from a few inches to 50 ft. The Roots Seam was worked at the following collieries and mine:

Abandoned – Oakleigh No 3 (made an unsuccessful attempt in 1950’s)

Working – Malabar Minerals Bentonite Mine (previously New Malabar No 1), Oakleigh No 4. Mining ceased in the Roots Seam in 1963 but the Cowell seam was still being worked. (1970)

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Joynson Seam – Ernest Joynson – Rosewood No 1 Colliery -1932 – In the vicinity of Rosewood, the seam lies approx. 50 ft above the Boughen Seam. The Joynson Seam was worked at the following collieries:

Abandoned –  Malabar No 4, Malabar No 6,  Malabar No 7, Malabar No 8, Malabar No 9, New Malabar No 1, New Mountain View No 1 (previously Mountain View No 1), New Mountain View No 2 (previously Mountain View No 2), Normanton No 2, Oakleigh No 3, Rosemount No 1, Rosemount No 4, Rosewood No 1.

Working – Glencoe Extended No 1, Normanton No 1, Rosewood No 2. Mining operation in the Joynson Seam ceased at Glencoe Extended No1 in 1963. Butler Seam still being worked. (1970)

All of the collieries were situated in the area between Rosewood and Malabar.

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Boughen Seam – James Boughen – Rosewood No 1 & No 2 Collieries – Two local families, the Boughens and the Trewicks, opened a little mine a few hundred metres east of Edenbank in 1922. In about 1947 the airshaft at Rosewood No 2 was deepened and a workable seam of coal was penetrated about 50 ft below the Joynson seam. This became the Boughen Seam. The Boughen Seam was worked at the following collieries:

Abandoned – None (1970)

Working – Mount Elliott No 1 Extended. An airshaft was sunk to the Boughen Seam at Rosewood No 2 Colliery but never worked. (1970)

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Butler Seam – J. W. Butler – Bedworth Colliery (later called Excelsior Colliery) -1907 – Owned by Bedworth Coal Co. J.W. Butler was the manager. Lies about 20 to 40 feet above the Cowell Seam. In three sections – 0.6 metre bottoms, 0.9 to 1.2 metres middles, variable tops. The Butler Seam was worked at the following collieries:

Abandoned – Amberley No 1, Coalfields (previously Lawriefield and United No 3), Excelsior (previously bedworth), Lanefield No 3 (previously Arndt’s Tunnel), Lanefield No 5, Moorefield No 3 (previously Amberley No 2), Moorefield No 4, Oakleigh No 3, Rosemount No 4.

Working – Glencoe Extended No 1, Oakleigh No 4, United No 8. Mining ceased in the Butler Seam for Oakleigh No 4 in 1968 and United No 8 in 1954. Oakleigh No 4 still working in Cowell Seam and United No 8 in the Wass Seam. (1970)

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Cowell Seam – William Cowell – Mountain Ash No 1 Colliery – 1931-  No more than 10 feet above the Stewart Seam, about 30 chains to the south of United No 7 Colliery. Variable in thickness and sometimes combined with adjacent seams. The Cowell Seam was worked at the following collieries:

Abandoned – Moorefield No 3, Mountain Ash No 1, United No 7 (previously Glassenbury, Tallegalla and Cowell’s Tunnel).

Working – Oakleigh No 4, United No 8. At United No 8 Colliery operations in the Cowell Seam stopped in 1966 but the Wass Steam was still being worked (1970).

All were situated in the north-western part of the coalfield except for Moorefield No 3 which was in the Amberley district.

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Stewart Seam – Charles Stewart – Westvale No 7 Colliery – 1952 Westvale was owned by Westvale Collieries (Haenke family) Charles Stewart was the Superintendent at that time. Situated in the north-western part of coalfield 10-20ft above the Kathage Seam. The Stewart Seam was worked at the following collieries:

Abandoned – Lowfield No 4, Mountain Ash No 1, Westvale No 7. A tunnel was driven at Lowfield No 3 but never used.

Working – None The seam was last worked in Westvale No 7 Colliery in 1954.

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Kathage Seam – August Kathage – Westfalen No 1 Colliery – 1932 – The Kathage seam was worked by one colliery. In the Mt Marrow district of the coalfield.

Abandoned – Westfalen No 1

Working – None The seam was last worked in Westfalen No 1 in 1948.

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Wass Seam – William Wass – Lowfield No 1 Colliery – 1925 – Three feet above Haenke seam. 2 metres thick and in two sections. The Wass Seam was worked at the following collieries:

Abandoned – Caledonian No 1, Caledonian No 4 (previously Mt Marrow), Caledonian No5,  Caledonian No 6, Lanefield No 5, Lowfield No 1, Lowfield No 2, New Amberfield (previously Amberfield), New Mountain View No 3, Roughrigg No 5, United No 7, Westvale No 5 (No 1 Tunnel), Westvale No 6. An airshaft was sunk at Westvale No 8 to the Wass Seam and a tunnel driven but it was not used.

Working – United No 8 (in 1970)

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Haenke Seam – Westvale Collieries – Family firm associated with Martin William Haenke- 1948 – North-western part of coalfield 40-50ft above the Bruce Seam.The Bruce Seam was worked at the following collieries:

Abandoned – New Amberfield. New Mountain View No 3, Lowfield No 2, United No 7, Westvale No 6. An airshaft was sunk at Westvale No 8 and a tunnel driven but it was not used.

Working – None – The seam was last worked in United No 7 Colliery in 1965.

All collieries were situated in the Bluff and Tallegalla district apart from New Amberfield which was in the Amberley district.

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Bruce Seam – John Mitchell Bruce – 1918 – Lanefield No 1 Colliery (No 1 Tunnel) – Bruce sank a shaft near the old Commonwealth Colliery east of Rosewood at Lanefield. By 1924 the tunnel was in full production. 1.5 metres thick in two sections. The Bruce Seam was worked at the following collieries:

Abandoned – Caledonian No. 3, Clydebank No 5 (previously Westvale No 4 and Ardath), Lanefield No 1 (No 1 Tunnel), No 2 Tunnel, Old Tunnel, New Tunnel, Lanefield No 2, Lanefield No 4, Lanefield extended No 1, Lanefield Extended No 2, Westvale No 3, Westvale No 5 (No 1 Tunnel, No 2 Tunnel).

Working: None – The seam was last worked in Westvale No 5 Colliery in 1957.

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Rea Seam – Caledonian Colliery – Captain John Rea’s Shaft – 1889 – 1.5 metres thick in three sections;

Abandoned – Caledonian (No 1 Shaft, No 1 Tunnel, No 2 Shaft, No 2 Tunnel) Caledonian No 1, Caledonian No 2.

Working: None – The seam was last worked at Caledonian No 2 Colliery in 1946. All collieries were adjoining and situated in the Thagoona-Walloon district.

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As an item of interest, Geologist John Hector Reid A.T.S.C., went on to make a significant discovery.

In the late 1920’s Benjamin Dunstan, who was the chief Government Geologist in Queensland at the time, assigned John Reid to begin compiling a new geological map of the state. Much of 1928 and 1929 were spent by Reid and others referencing numerous reports and maps and compiling it all into a map.

Reid made a detailed survey of an area 88 miles (141km) South of Springsure in Central Queensland and proved the existence of oil there. He resigned his Government job and became the Queensland Director of the Australasian Oil Exploration Ltd. The company first saw the possibilities of oil at “Reid’s Dome in 1930. 

In 1955, during oil drilling, gas was discovered “Reid’s Dome”.  See how “The Dome” was discovered

State Gas Limited is the owner of the Reid’s Dome Gas Project and drilled the first coal seam gas well in the region into the beds at Reid’s Dome in late 2018.

Sources:
Geological Survey Of Queensland – J. T. Woods, Chief Government Geologist,  1970
Trove – National Library Australia