Geology and Mineral Resources of the Western Coalfield

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    IN New South Wales the existence of beds of coal was known in very early days, and was the reason for the name of the colony. It is calculated that New South Wales has yielded altogether 138½ million tons of coal, the output last year alone having exceeded 87½ million tons. In addition to coal, the kerosene shale deposits are of considerable importance, and are at present attracting attention owing to the introduction of British capital for their development. Mr. Game's elaborate monograph, which reflects great credit upon himself and upon the Geological Survey, is consequently a work of the utmost importance to the mining industry, as well as a valuable addition to scientific literature. With the accompanying portfolio of coloured geological maps and sections, it forms the first instalment of a systematic geological survey of the productive Permo-Carboniferous Coal-measures of New South Wales. The total area mapped and described in this memoir amounts to 2877 square miles, of which 2261 square miles may be regarded as productive. The country described embraces the principal parts of Cook and Hunter counties, and a large portion of Roxburgh and Phillip counties, the greater part of the Blue Mountains being included. From an economic point of view, coal and kerosene-shale are the chief assets of the country mapped. Limestone, firebrick, pottery clays, building stones, and iron ore follow in order. The smelting of local iron ore has been successfully begun at Lithgow; and if the iron-smelting venture and the extensive development of the kerosene-shale export and retorting industry continue to progress, the district will soon become a great centre of industrial activity. The picturesque character of the country is well shown in the numerous admirable illustrations accompanying the memoir. Massive Triassic sandstone, imparting boldness to the scenery, is sculptured by denudation into rugged walls and isolated masses. Irregularities of the plateau are not lefes varied. Huge domed laccoliths, conical volcanic peaks, and flat coulee remnants are everywhere prominent. A glance at the illustrations impresses one with the magnitude of the task of geologically surveying these mountains, which in 1788 effectually barred Governor Phillip's progress into the interior from the settlement on the shores of Port Jackson. The persistence of the explorer of the present day in forcing his way along jungle-fringed and boulder-strewn streams flowing through deep canons and almost impassable ravines is hardly less astonishing than that of the first surveyors, who, far from an accessible base of supplies, traversed this unknown and inhospitable region.

    Geology and Mineral Resources of the Western Coalfield.

    By J. E. Carne. Pp. xii+264; with 37 plates and portfolio of maps and sections. (Sydney: Geological Survey of New South Wales, 1908.) Price 15s.

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    Geology and Mineral Resources of the Western Coalfield . Nature 78, 603 (1908) doi:10.1038/078603a0

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