Joadja, New South Wales
New South Wales
It was a thriving mining town between 1870–1911. It was home for approximately 1,200 people, many of whom were skilled immigrants from Scotland. After managing for ten years using bullock teams for transport, a railway was allowed and was connected to the nearby town of Mittagong by a narrow gauge railway that terminated adjacent to the main Southern Railway line in Mittagong. The town existed to mine oil shale from which kerosene was extracted by the Australian Kerosene Oil and Mineral Co. The process was superseded by conventional kerosene production from oil and the oil shale mining became uneconomical. By 1911, the town had become deserted as inhabitants relocated in search of work. The property was auctioned off that year to a private buyer. The fruit orchard, which included 6,700 trees continued to operate until 1924, exporting fruit for local and interstate consumption.
Situated in a deep valley, the town had limited access by road, instead exporting shale via a steep railway (incline) out of the valley. The passage into Joadja has improved greatly since then, with the gravel access road maintained annually. The township is still recognisable, despite the state of its ruins. The sandstone Joadja School, The School of Arts, the mines, houses at Carrington Row, refinery and even the cemetery remain as a testament to the community that lived in the valley more than a century ago.
At one time owned by Pat Lee, the property was purchased by Mark Longobardi who was instrumental in getting the Joadja Creek Heritage Tours off the ground, and had ideas in the pipeline for a whisky distillery.
The property has recently been resold (2011), with the new owners (Valero and Elisa Jimenez) setting up a boutique whisky distillery and brewery as well as continuing conservation work of the township. Large parts of the valley have now been sub-divided and sold for hobby farms. The ruins of the retorts, refinery and houses are being stabilised. The Federal Government has recently awarded the new owners a Conservation Grant to assist with protecting the ruins and enhancing the overall experience. A Masterplan is being submitted to Wingecarribee Council with the view to bring Joadja back as a major tourism destination in the Southern Highlands.
- "Joadja Creek Railway" (PDF). Australasian Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- "Joadja kerosene oil shale mining and refining site". NSW Environment & Heritage. NSW Government. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
- Knapman, Leonie (1997), Joadja Creek : the shale oil town & its people 1870-1911 ([New ed.] ed.), Hale & Iremonger, ISBN 978-0-86806-644-8
- Knapman, Leonie; Hutton, Adrian; Australian Kerosene Oil & Mineral Company (1987), Australian Kerosene Oil & Mineral Company Limited, Joadja Creek, Southern Highlands, NSW, Oil Shale Ghost Towns, ISBN 978-0-646-34020-3
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