I visited Australia in late February 2020 and spent a weekend in Lithgow, which is about three hours northwest of Sydney. I drove via Katoomba, the major tourist centre of the Blue Mountains which will be familiar to many visitors to Australia .
Lithgow has a wonderful ruined blast furnace, and an excellent mining museum at the Lithgow State Mine, but there are sadly no underground tours.
The history of Lithgow was summarised elegantly at the mining museum:
“Coal is the reason for Lithgows existence almost all of the industrial, retail and residential development that has taken place in Lithgow in the past 170 years has been based on the exploitation of the region’s coal reserves. The amazing convergence of vast coal reserves, iron ore, copper ores, limestone and fine clays led to the development of Lithgow as Australia’s only inland industrial centre “
Lithgow state mine is also well worth a visit, with surface buildings and headstock intact and displays of local coal mining history and the political radicalism of the NSW miners.
The area remains an active centre for coal mining , and I photographed some of the local collieries.
I met some friendly and well informed people, and had an interesting conversation with a couple of mine engineers who estimated that there are maybe still 50 active coal mines in New South Wales.
Steve, November 2020.