The State Coal Mines Control Board was incorporated on 16 December 1932 by the State Coal Mines (Amendment) Act 1932 (Act No.36, 1932). The Board comprised the Under Secretary of the Department of Mines, an officer of the Department of Mines nominated by the Minister for Mines and a representative of the Department of Railways nominated by the Minister for Transport. (1) Prior to 1932, State coal mines were controlled by the Minister for Mines.
The State Coal Mines Act 1912 (Act No.70, 1912), provided for the establishment of State coal mines on Crown or private lands by the Minister for Mines and for the appointment of a General Superintendent of State Coal Mines for a period of five years. (2) In 1912 no coal mines were worked by the State but the northern State Coal Bore at Aberdeen had been bored to a depth of 1,011 feet. In September 1916 a State Coal Mine was opened at Lithgow and closed in July 1917. (3) The Government Railways (Amendment) Act 1920 (Act No.26, 1920) authorised the Railway Commissioners for New South Wales to acquire and develop coal mines. (4) The Lithgow mine was subsequently taken over by the Railway Commissioners early in 1921 and produced coal for the railways for the next decade.
Increasing financial losses from the Lithgow Mine throughout the late 1920s resulted in the Railway Commissioners relinquishing control of the State Coal Mine on 30 September 1932 to the Minister for Mines. (5) Although the State Coal Mines Control Board did not take control of the Mine until 16 November 1932, the Board of Control met informally for the first time on 21 September 1932 because of the many matters requiring immediate attention. (6)
The State Coal Mines Control Board was reconstituted by the State Coal Mines (Amendment) Act 1948 (Act No. 41, 1948). (7) The Board was renamed the State Mines Control Authority, although the new name did not take effect until 1 March 1950. The Authority consisted of not more than seven members appointed by the Governor and included the Director of State Coal Mines, an officer of the Department of Mines, a representative of the Department of Railways and a representative of the employees of the State Coal Mines. (8)
The main functions of the Authority were to produce coal for the use of Government instrumentalities, principally the Department of Railways and the Electricity Commission, as favourably as possible with respect to quality and price. The chief administrative officer of the Authority was the Director of State Coal Mines responsible for the implementation of the Authority's decisions, while oversight of the field operations of coal production and despatch was the responsibility of the Superintendent of Collieries. (9)
In 1950 the Authority exercised control over two operating mines, the Lithgow State Coal Mine and the Awaba State Coal Mine, the latter of which was opened in 1947 and was in production by July 1949. Operations in the Oakdale Mine in the Burragorang State Coal Mine Reserve commenced in 1950 and came into production in July 1951. Subsequently, the Liddell, Munmorah and Wyee State Coal Mines also became the responsibility of the Authority. (10)
On 1 July 1973, the Authority's head office and the four coal mines under its control - the Awaba, Liddell, Wyee, and Munmorah State Coal Mines - were transferred to the Electricity Commission of New South Wales, and thence to Elcom Collieries Pty Ltd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Commission), under the provisions of the Electricity Commission (State Coal Mines) Act, 1973 (Act No.37, 1973). (11)
The members who constituted the Authority as at 30 June 1973 ceased to hold office from that date and from 1 July 1973 the Authority consisted of two members, the Under Secretary of Mines (later the Under Secretary of the Department of Mineral Resources and Development) as ex-officio chairman and one member appointed by the Governor. (12) The transfer of the Authority’s operations to the Electricity Commission in 1973 did not affect the Authority’s legal entity. Under the provisions of the State Coal Mines Act, 1912, the Authority could be reconstituted at full strength at any time if this was necessary. (13)
After the transfer of operations in 1973, the Authority was only responsible for the management of a number of administrative matters relating to the State Coal Mines working account, permissive occupancies in the Burragorang Valley and land at Lithgow. (14)
The State Mines Control Authority was abolished on 29 June 2000 by section 4 (1) (m) of the Statute Law Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2000 (Act No.53, 2000). (15)
1. State Coal Mines (Amendment) Act 1932 (Act No.36, 1932).
2. State Coal Mines Act, 1912 (Act No.70, 1912), ss.11-14.
3. Concise Guide, q.v. State Mines Control Authority.
4. Government Railways (Amendment) Act 1920 (Act No.26, 1920), s.2.
5. State Coal Mines Control Board, Annual report to the 30 June 1933 [SRNSW ref. 10/22452].
6. State Coal Mines Control Board file, 21 September 1932 to 6 May 1933, [SRNSW ref. 9/1922].
7. The State Coal Mines (Amendment) Act 1948 (Act No.41, 1948) received its assent on 16 December 1948.
8. State Coal Mines (Amendment) Act 1948 (Act No.41, 1948), s. 2.
9. Concise Guide, q.v. State Mines Control Authority.
10. Concise Guide, q.v. State Mines Control Authority.
11. Concise Guide, q.v. State Mines Control Authority.
12. State Mines Control Authority, Annual Report for the year ended 30 June, 1979, in the Joint Volumes of the Parliamentary Papers, 1979-80, vol. 6, p.1307.
13. loc. cit.
14. loc. cit.
15. Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2000 (Act No.53, 2000), s.4 (1) (m).