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Kurri Kurri
City of Cessnock

New South Wales, Australia

Kurri Kurri is located in New South Wales
Kurri Kurri
Population: 5,644 [1]
Density: 1106.7/km² (2,866.3/sq mi)
Established: 1902
Postcode: 2327
Coordinates: 32°49′2.5″S 151°28′58.8″E / -32.817361, 151.483Coordinates: 32°49′2.5″S 151°28′58.8″E / -32.817361, 151.483
Elevation: 40 m (131 ft) Note1
Area: 5.1 km² (2.0 sq mi) Note2
Time zone:

 • Summer (DST)



LGA: City of Cessnock
Region: Hunter
County: Northumberland
Parish: Heddon
State District: Cessnock
Federal Division: Hunter
Localities around Kurri Kurri:
Weston, Loxford Loxford Heddon Greta
Weston Kurri Kurri Heddon Greta
Pelaw Main Pelaw Main, Stanford Merthyr Stanford Merthyr

Kurri Kurri is a small town in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia, in the Cessnock LGA. At the 2006 census its population was 5,644.[1] The combined population of Kurri Kurri and the adjoining suburbs of Stanford Merthyr, Pelaw Main and Weston was 10,428.

Kurri Kurri's name comes from the local Awabakal language where it has a meaning similar to "the beginning" or "the first".[2]

The town's economy today is largely based on the surrounding wineries now that the aluminum smelter closed in 2012.


Kurri Kurri was founded in 1902 to service the local Stanford Merthyr and Pelaw Main collieries and mining communities. The town was named by District Surveyor T. Smith who chose the name because he believed it meant 'hurry along' in a local dialect. The town and suburban land of Kurri was proclaimed on 25 October 1902 and the first lots in the new development were sold on 10 June 1903. By 1911 Kurri Kurri had a population of 5,885 residents.

The Kurri Kurri Hotel (1904) is one of several built during the era of mining prosperity in the early 20th century. It is an impressive three-story building featuring prominent verandas with cast-iron lacework. The Empire Tavern was also built during this period. Kurri Kurri has numerous small miners' cottages from the same period.


Mining at the South Maitland Coalfields began at East Greta in 1891, after an 1886 exploration by Sir Edgeworth David, a government geological surveyor, uncovered the potential of the Greta coal seam. More mines were opened in the early 1900s, supplanting those older pits at Newcastle where the Australian Agricultural Company enjoyed almost a monopoly. During this period there were a number of accidents including the death of six miners at the Stanford Merthyr Colliery in 1905, which is commemorated by a monument in the Kurri Kurri cemetery.

Richmond Main Colliery, also in the Kurri Kurri vicinity, was once the State's largest producer, at 3,400 tons per day, and which reputedly had the deepest shaft permitting access to two separate coal seams, the Scholey shaft, named after its founder, John Scholey. Following the serious slump in the coal industry Stanford Merthyr Colliery closed in 1957, Pelaw Main in 1962, and Richmond Main in 1967.[3]

The power station at Richmond Main Colliery, which provided the electricity for Kurri Kurri and surrounding districts, remained in operation for some years after the mine's closure, until the entire district was attached to the National Grid.


Kurri Kurri was served by the South Maitland Railway and originally had two passenger stations - one at Stanford Merthyr, and one on the main SMR line at North Kurri Kurri (opened in June 1904). A new red-brick station building and platform was built at Stanford Merthyr and opened in January 1909. It was renamed Kurri Kurri Station on 3 June 1922. However, with the closure of the SMR's branch line from Aberdare Junction to Stanford Merthyr, due to subsidence, North Kurri Kurri station was renamed Kurri Kurri in the mid-1930s. The station at Stanford Merthyr fell into disuse although the line from the colliery which passed through it was still in operation via the Richmond Vale Railway to Hexham. While passenger services on the South Maitland Railway have ceased, the line is still in use for coal haulage. A new bridge is to be constructed to relocate the railway line to allow construction of the Hunter Expressway.[4]

Local government[]

Until the creation of the local government area known as the City of Cessnock, Kurri Kurri was the centre of the Shire of Kearsley, which included most of the rural areas and villages around the township of Cessnock and part of the western suburbs of Maitland. From 1946 to 1949 the Shire was unique in Australia in having a majority of the councillors who were members of the Communist Party of Australia.

Civic competitions[]

In 1988 the town established a Tidy Town Committee under the stewardship of the Keep Australia Beautiful competition. The town achieved immediate success and in the space of 6 years took the best town in NSW in 1993 and was a finalist in the best town in Australia.

This was followed by the establishment of the Small Towns committee known as Towns with Heart. Their work has built on that undertaken by the Tidy Town committee.

Local art[]

It is now becoming internationally renowned for its murals with more than 40 murals painted around the town and its environs depicting the history of the region and also recent events.[5] Each year the town also hosts a Nostalgia Festival featuring rock 'n' roll dancing, hot rod and bike shows.[6]


Retired Newcastle Knights Rugby League player Andrew Johns spent his childhood in Kurri Kurri, before moving to Cessnock. He would later play in the Kurri Kurri Under-16's side, as Cessnock was unable to field a team. Kurri Kurri is also noted has having produced more Rugby League internationals than any other bush town in Australia.[7]

Notable people[]

  • John Crook (Australian politician)
  • Luke Ford, writer
  • Bill Hamilton (rugby league)
  • Paul Harragon, rugby league footballer
  • Mark Hughes (rugby league)
  • Bert James, politician
  • Richard Johnson (footballer), soccer
  • Ernest Llewellyn, violinist, violist
  • Eddie Lumsden, rugby league player
  • Greg McLaren, poet
  • George Neilly, politician
  • Sandy Pearson, Army Major General
  • Chad Reed, motocross and supercross racer
  • John Sattler, rugby league footballer
  • Richard Saunders (skeptic)
  • Adam Shields, Speedway rider
  • Jamie Stauffer, motorcycle racer
  • Casey Stoner, Grand Prix motorcycle racer
  • Reegan Tanner, rugby league footballer

See also[]

  • List of reduplicated Australian place names


  1. ^  The figure presented represents the average elevation as shown in 1:100000 map CESSNOCK 9132.
  2. ^  Area calculation is based on NSW GNB maps.


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Kurri Kurri - Bal (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  2. ^ Threlkeld, Lancelot (1892). An Australian language as spoken by the Awabakal, the people of Awaba, or lake Macquarie (near Newcastle, New South Wales): being an account of their language, traditions, and customs. Charles Potter. p. 221. 
  3. ^ "Kurri Kurri". Historical Towns Directory. Australian Heritage Magazine. Retrieved 2006-12-28. 
  4. ^ Tenders NSW Roads and Traffic Authority
  5. ^ "The Kurri Kurri Mural Project". Kurri Kurri Online. 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  6. ^ "Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival". Towns With Heart Incorporated. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  7. ^
  • Eardley, Gifford, H., The Railways of the South Maitland Coalfields, Australian Railway Historical Society, NSW Division, Sydney, 1969: many references therein.

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