Lithgow Blast Furnace operated from 1886 to 1928, producing the first iron and steel cast in Australia. Its ruins dominate one of the most interesting sites on the urban sections of the proposed Blue Trail. The interpretive and tourist safety infrastructure is currently being upgraded. Soon it should be possible to walk around, observing and photographing what remains of innovatory machinery and machinery housing that characterised that period of Australian industrial development.
Working conditions in the early 20th century were hot, unsafe and difficult. Industrial action led to a major confrontation at the Blast Furnace on 29 August 1911, which became known as the Lithgow Riot. Pictured below is the remains of works boss Charles Hoskins’ prized Renault car, wrecked by striking workers who resented him.
A nearby Uniting Church bears Hoskins’ name, while the small urban wetland next to the Blast Furnace is named after Robert Pillans, one of the union leaders and the first Labor Mayor of Lithgow.
In winter 2013, more than a dozen flame robins were observed congregating in the Blast Furnace ruins. Flame Robins typically inhabit some of NSW highest locations but in the winter gather in lower and more open areas.This site sets off the uniqueness and scenic grandeur of the Lithgow Valley.
© Don Morison