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Kurri Kurri had its beginning in 1902, when it became evident, that a new town was needed to service the rapidly expanding coal industry. In 1902 the Stanford Merthyr and Pelaw Main communities commenced agitating to seek a new government town. These residents wanted freehold land, not the leasehold handed out to them as employees of the two collieries, along with the unacceptable demands which accompanied their leases. Accordingly on 25th October 1902, the proclamation of the town, and suburban lands of Kurri Kurri, was published. The first lots were sold on 10th January 1903.
For many decades, Kurri Kurri was the heart of the coalfields. The work of miners is notoriously insecure and for a long time the town reflected the transient nature of this occupation. It was hard, dirty work and many widows and orphans stand testimony to its dangerous conditions. Explosions and fire at the Stanford Merthyr Mine in 1905 killed six men. Five lie buried in the Kurri Kurri Cemetery and the sixth was interned in Maitland. An official monument stands in the park at Stanford Merthyr, near the site of the disaster, whilst that in the cemetery is purely a substantial monumental headstone. There are no mines now in the immediate vicinity of the town. The last, the once famous Richmond Main, closed in 1967.
Kurri Kurri has a revitalised shopping area and several new subdivisions have been established, with many fine modern homes, contrasting but complementing the simple charm of cottages in the earlier sections of the town. With the coming of the Alcan Smelter, rapidly expanding clothing industries, as well as other smaller industries, mines and power stations further afield, the citizens of Kurri Kurri can face the future with confidence.
Information provided by Coalfield Heritage Group Inc.