Geocaching in Sydney - 13

25 July 2018 - Sea Cliff Bridge and Jetty Mine


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Welcome to Geocaching in Sydney, an irregular podcast about my geocaching adventures in the greater Sydney area. My name is Edwin, I play this game under the name of Team MavEtJu which includes my kids and everybody else who is with me at that moment.

Today's adventure was at Sea Cliff bridge near Coalcliff. There are two earth caches there, "Illawarra Escarpment Sea Cliffs" and "Jetty Mine" plus a traddie on Geocaching Australia one near the entrance of the old coal mine.

The Lawrence Hargrave Drive between Coalcliff and Clifton was closed in 2003 after numerous rock falls. To go from Coalcliff or Stanwell Park to the neighbouring Clifton, you had to take the Princes Highway via Bulli to Clifton, suddenly a trip of about 35 kilometers.

The Sea Cliff bridge has a length of 665 meters and a height of 40 meters above sea level. That is literally sea level as the pylons are close to standing in the water. Besides a two way road there is a bicycle and walking path, with two parking places for enjoying the view at the beginning and end of the bridge. When you walk over it you will see the waves crashing on the rocks below you, an impressive sight.

-- bridge -- -- lookdown --

There is a sign stating that you are not allowed to place locks on the bridge. The Love Locks are since 2005 a growing trend to place on bridges all over the world. The weight of a single lock isn't that much, but with thousands of them things might go different.

-- locks --

When you walk down you'll end up at the entrance of Jetty Mine, an original source of coal for the city of Sydney. The coal was discovered at Coalcliff in 1796 by a shipwrecked sailor, William Clarke, whose ship the "Sydney Cove" was wrecked at Preservation Island in Tasmania. A rescue party of 17 men set off to travel the 740 kilometres to Port Jackson as Sydney Harbour was called then but their longboat was wrecked near Point Hicks in Victoria and they had to continue on foot.

Only three of the rescue party made it back to Sydney and Clarke reported coal in the cliffs at Coalcliff - the second discovery of coal in Australia. The first coal discovery was made south of the present Newcastle in 1791. Soon after, George Bass offered to search for the coal outcrop and with two of the survivors he left Port Jackson on 5 August 1797. He was back in eight days with specimens of the coal and a report of its abundance around Coalcliff.

The lack of a suitable harbour prevented mining until 1877, nearly 80 years later, when the Jetty Mine was established which had three passages into the mine. A wooden jetty was built over a rock shelf to enable coal to be transported by ship. This jetty was destroyed by storms on several occasions.

The last collier to depart the Coalcliff Jetty Mine was in 1912. About this time a vertical shaft was sunk near the railway above the village of Coalcliff together with a coke works. By 1980, Coalcliff Colliery was the largest underground coal mine in Australia but closed in 1991. The Jetty Mine entrances were sealed in 1992.

To get to the entrance of the Jetty Mine you will need to climb about forty meters down.

-- normal trail -- -- plateau -- -- eroded path -- -- fence -- -- cage ladder --

After that scary walk down you are about four meters above the grumpy waves, smashing against the old rockwall. There is nothing left of the old jetty and the entrances of the mines have been concreted. A beautiful piece of graffiti at the wall shows a the train towards Coalcliff.

-- wall -- -- under bridge --

So much for for today's adventure. I had a DNF on the GCA container and as usual was clueless on the earth cache questions, but I had a good time!