The History & Archaeology of Cadia Valley


Archaeological Sites

Cadia Village – archaeological investigations, 2002.

The main periods of prosperity for the Cadia Village community essentially mirrored the two boom periods of mining in the 1860s and then in the 1900s to 1920s. The village of the 1860s was very different from the village in the twentieth century.

From its humble beginnings in 1861, Cadia Village grew up around the Cadiangullong Store at the main crossing of the Creek. Ores from both the Cadiangullong Mine at East Cadia as well as the West Cadia Mines had to pass through this centre to reach the Copper Smelting Works. The road to Bathurst also commenced from this point. Near level land on the west side of the creek and gently sloping land on the east provided ideal sites for huts and buildings.

Although the centre of the Village remained on the creek, housing had spread thinly over most of this area during the 1860s. It was not until the new mines opened in 1905 that the centre moved uphill to Chilcott Street, where the denser settlement of the twentieth century was located. By this time the main workings were further north on Cadiangullong Creek, so it was only natural that the villagers wanted to be closer to their place of work, the main road to Orange or the railway at Springhill.

The population of the Village fell to unsustainable levels at the cessation of mining in 1928. When the Iron Duke iron ore quarries re-opened briefly in 1943-1945, supplementary accommodation had to be provided in a “Tent City”, as the village had dwindled almost to nothing.

After the war, the Village was abandoned and all buildings removed or destroyed. Although slight earthworks and artifact scatters revealed its former presence, the whole village reverted to paddocks. Old Cadia Road still follows the old alignment of Chilcott Street through the Village.

Mine exploration in the 1990s had earmarked the south-western portion of Cadia Village for goldmining as Cadia Hill Extended. Planning for archaeological investigation proceeded well in advance of mining, while the orebody was further assessed for its potential. The whole of the village site on the east side of Cadiangullong Creek was surveyed for archaeological remains in 2000-2001, including the site of Copper Smelter No. 1. The sites of buildings and other structures along the west bank of the creek had already been surveyed in 1997.

In late 2002 archaeological excavations of the south-western corner of the Village were completed in advance of mining in 2003. This area was the centre of the 1860s village.