Friday foto

You can lose a lot of time in the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections if you’re not careful.

This photo is captioned “Travelling crane, Oil works, Newtown, Hamilton North, NSW, 2 September 1911”


There is some further information in the Notes:

Image shows the travelling crane at the oil works in Hamilton North. Image was indexed as Newtown (Hamilton North). The works (under construction in the image) was owned by the British Australian Oil Company (Additional information courtesy of Mr John W. Shoebridge, June 2009).

Was the oil works at the site of the Shell depot? Or the gasworks? I’m tempted to think the latter; the rail lines would need to cross the Styx to get to the fuel depot and there has never, to my knowledge, been such a bridge or crossing.

So was the gasworks an oil works before it was a gasworks?

So many questions!


4 Responses to Friday foto

  1. russell rigby says:

    So may questions, including some that you have already answered – the oil depot once was a an oil works:

    The British Australian Oil Company processed oil-shale from a mine near Murrurundi, There were retorts at Murrurundi so the Hamilton works may have been a refinery – the operation certainly didn’t last very long.

    The 1910 manuscript map was used in the preparation of the first of the “inch to mile” series issued in 1913:

    • Mark MacLean says:

      Russell, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry! People will be asking me what year it is next, or who is the current prime minister. Thank you for knowing more about what I’ve written than I do!

  2. Tiger says:

    The Shell Depot (about to close) is on the site of the former BOA Coy Refinery . The rail siding came in from the Broadmeadow end and remnants are still visible.

    • Mark MacLean says:

      Right, thanks Tiger. From what you’re saying, this is my understanding.

      The line into the gasworks came in just to the east of where the Islington Junction Box sat, but the line for the oil works carried on then curved around that triangle of now unused rail-owned land. From there it entered the oil refinery by crossing the narrow drain (the original Styx Creek, but renamed Chaucer Street Drain on council and Hunter Water maps).

      There is indeed loads of evidence of disused rail on that triangle of land. I’d always assumed that it was just a dumping ground for sleepers, rail and ballast. Do you have any knowledge of the exact point at which the rail entered the Shell land? I suppose it would have been at the southern end, near where the now existing line heads towards Broadmeadow station, as there’s a bridge crossing there.

      Thanks for the update!

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