State Mine Heritage Park is a site just on the outskirts of Lithgow. Heritage Park had once been one of the primary coal mines operating at the time in the mining industry and was well known as the ‘State Mine Gully’. The Heritage Park now houses a museum for tourists and visitors, which showcases artifacts and significant pieces of history from the years that the Mine was operating. The State Gully Mine is available for hire, you can hold events, such as wedding receptions, celebrations, work training, and commercial photoshoots.
Visit the historic site and take in the surroundings, that was once a government owned local coal mine. The Mine was founded in 1919 and by the year 1992 the production of mining had commenced. The mine had employed 490 workers at the time and was one of the largest employers in Western New South Wales. During an eight-hour shift, 1650 tons of coal was mined and produced. Mining coal required workers to descend 270 feet below the surface, and coal was transported back up by an endless rope traveling at around 2 miles per hour. Power was obtained from a large power station adjacent to the mine, which provided electricity to both mine and Small Arms Factory, as well as to the Lithgow Hospital. The Wallerawang Power Station was built in 1957, which led to the closure of the Old Lithgow Power Station. The structure was eventually converted into a bathhouse for the miners.
In 1964 the Mine was severely damaged by floods and unfortunately was forced to close. Many residents lost their jobs and were forced to leave town to find work. At the time, Lithgow did not offer many alternative choices for workers, although it has only significantly progressed over time.
After the property was sold in 1990, the buyers of the land decided hand over the deeds to the Lithgow City Council and was then renovated into the State Mine Heritage Park.
The Park has suffered from a great deal of fire damage over the years, particularly in 2001 when a fire destroyed the locomotive shed as well as several exhibits. Many of the exhibits have since been rebuilt.
Since 2001, two major bushfires have ravaged the area around the mine and the 12,000 acres of surrounding land. During a wildfire in 2013, more than 100 firefighters and volunteers worked together as they tried to extinguish the flames which engulfed the surrounding hills. With the Gosper’s Mountain Fire in 2019, the State Mine Gully hills and land have been burned once again. The nature and land nearby have been rejuvenating from these awful events ever since.
Despite all the hardship the site has endured, State Mine Heritage Park remains open to this day. Displays within the Museum include items such as coats and helmets worn by miners and exhibits of machinery which was used throughout the operating period of the Mine. The Museum sets you back in time, step into the miners’ shoes, and experience what life would have been like for the workers in the early 1900s. You are able to book guided tours, or you can visit during their opening hours which are displayed on their website www.statemine.org.au .