Former staff houses, colliery row | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Former staff houses, colliery row

Item details

Name of item: Former staff houses, colliery row
Other name/s: Colliery Row - Six Former BHP Staff Houses
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 Maranatha Close, Belmont North, NSW 2280
Parish: Kahibah
County: Northumberland
Local govt. area: Lake Macquarie
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 Maranatha CloseBelmont NorthLake MacquarieKahibahNorthumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

SIGNIFICANCE - 1993: The group is expressive evidence of the former practice of senior management, of factories, workshops & mines, of living on the job, in company houses.
This mine was one of the biggest in the region, belonging to the biggest & most important company in the region.
The supervisor of all BHP's mines was a tenant.
Although the houses were dated in style, they were large & comfortable & show-pieces for the company, illustrating the importance of the staff who lived in them.
The houses have had a very long association with the colliery.
They are particularly unusual in being a large & coherent group, attractively designed & solidly built, at a time when "living on the job" was dying out elsewhere.
They are all substantially intact, & have been altered with an unusual sympathy for their historic & architectural qualities.
This group of houses share in the State significance of the John Darling Colliery complex (BN-01).
LEVEL of SIGNIFICANCE - 1993: Regional Significance - high
Local Significance - very high
Date significance updated: 28 Apr 08
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Builder/Maker: BHP
Construction years: 1928-1956
Physical description: PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS - 1993:
A group of 6 houses in a row, built on large blocks, on a gentle slope overlooking the former Colliery structures, where the former Colliery Manager, his Assistant, and the Colliery Engineers, were within a minutes distance from their jobs & any emergencies.
The houses are all red brick, with terra ccotta tiled hipped & gabled roofs, brick verandah balustrades, formal front steps, hooded casement windows, & all the trappings of the classic Federation Bungalow.
The houses all face East-South-East.
Five of the houses were built in 1928, in a (late) Federation Bungalow style.
The last house was added to the group in 1956, on a block between No.1 and No.3.
An interesting aspect of the 1928 houses is that each was built with a matching garage in the garden, in a time when very few private cars existed.
The house blocks were large, with space for a tennis court or a bowling green at the back.
Each 1928 house is briefly described below.

House No.1, at the south end of the colliery row is red brick with terracotta tiled hip & gable roof, bell-cast over the return verandah. Gable ends have strapped ac sheet cladding. Return verandah & sweeping entrance steps have stuccoed brick balustrades. Other details include double hung window pairs with diamond pattern leadlights, panelled front door with top & side lights, decorative window hoods, stuccoed chimney pots & terracotta ramsheads on ridges. (House - see image B - Doring Neg.493.28. Garage - see image I - Doring Neg.494.05)

House No.2 on colliery row was built in 1956, but like its neighbours, was built in a style belonging to a much earlier period. The house is largely concealed by trees. The red brick and terra cotta tiles used are very similar to those on the earlier houses in the row. (see image C - Doring Neg.493.24)

House No.3 in the colliery row is very similar to House No.1, but a mirror image of it, except for the addition of a new bay window in the front gable end. Most details are the same as house No.1, but it has coloured leadlights in some windows. (see image D - Doring Neg.493.32)

House No.4 in the colliery row. This is similar to Nos.1 and 3, but appears slightly larger. It has a simpler stuccoed brick verandah balustrade, with fluted stub columns instead of timber posts, and it has lost the hood over its gable end window. (see image F - Doring Neg.493.20)

House No.5 is an unusual style, with asymmetrical small verandahs on each side, and a pair of small flat gable ends in front which give the building the appearance of a pair of semi-detached houses. The north side verandah has been enclosed. Most detailing is similar to the other houses. The Manager of John Darling Colliery lived in this house. (see image G - Doring Neg.493.18)

House No.6, at the north end of the colliery row. This was the home of the supervisor of all BHP's collieries in the area, & was different to all the other houses, although in general it used the same materials, and similar detailing to Nos.1, 3 & 4. It had a much smaller verandah, but appears to have had more floor space under the symmetrical projecting gables in front. The principal difference was the use of casement sashes in front. The original window hoods have been replaced. The unusual stepped front fence appears to be made with oxy-cut steel column sections (probably from the mine) supporting the ends of cast insitu concrete panels. (see image H - Doring Neg.493.16)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
1993: generally excellent
Date condition updated:03 May 08
Modifications and dates: 1993: Some of the houses have had additions made to them since they sold in 1990. In general, additions have been in harmony with the character & style of the houses, and do not detract from their heritage significance.
Further information: Former owner - BHP
Current use: Continuos use as domestic residences


Historical notes: HISTORICAL NOTES: John Darling Colliery was established by BHP in 1925.
The 1st coal was won at the end of 1927.
Soon the mine was one of the largest coal producers, with over 800 employees, & more than the usual number of senior employees who needed suitable housing near the mine.
5 houses were built in 1928, 1 in 1956.
They continued to be occupied by BHP men until c1990.
HERITAGE LISTINGS: "The Hunter's Heritage", Hunter R.E.P. 1989, Schedule 3 -
Items of Local Environmental Heritage.

Recommended management:

RECOMMENDATION - 2008: All 6 houses, and their new street names, should be identified so that the previous recordings/descriptions and photographs can be entered. This group of houses share in the State significance of the John Darling Colliery complex (BN-01) therefore should also be nominated for the State Heritage Register.


Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Statutory InstrumentNominate for State Heritage Register (SHR)13 May 08
Recommended ManagementDocument and prepare an archival record22 May 08


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Regional Environmental Plan     
Local Environmental PlanLake Macquarie LEP 20141810 Oct 14   
Local Environmental PlanLake Macquarie LEP 2004BN-0419 Mar 14   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
City of Lake Macquarie Heritage Study1993BN-04Suters Architects Snell, Dr J. Turner, C & MJ Doring Pty LtdDoring Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenNilsen, L. (ed)1985Lake Macquarie: Past and Present
WrittenSuters Architects Snell1991"John Darling Colliery Heritage Study"

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1910021

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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