• Seddonville

    The West Coast coalmining settlement of Seddonville, 50 kms north of Westport, was named in honour of the Liberal Premier Richard Seddon. It was also the site of an early experiment in state socialism – New Zealand's first state coal mine opened there in 1903.

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  • Page 2 – Coal is discovered

    After John Rochfort discovered fragments of bituminous coal in a river north of Westport in 1859, the search was on for accessible coal seams that could be mined.

  • Page 3 – Seddonville State Mine

    Premier Richard Seddon decided that the best way to challenge the coal companies was to establish government-owned mines that would provide cheaper coal as well as setting

  • Page 4 – Mining at Charming Creek

    The block of coal discovered in the headwaters of Charming Creek created interest after the closure of the state mine.

  • Page 5 – Hydraulic coal mining

    There are major advantages to using hydraulic mining for coal, including the lack of dust as well as minimising the risk of explosions and fires.

  • Page 6 – Decline of mining

    After 1956 there was a sharp decline in the demand for coal as many customers changed to oil.

  • Page 7 – Seddonville's rail heritage

    The Ngakawau-Seddonville branch line was built solely for the transport of coal from mines near Seddonville to Westport harbour, where it was then transported around New

  • Page 8 – Further information

    This web feature was written by Simon Nathan and produced by the team.