The History & Archaeology of Cadia Valley


Cadia Village & Hinterland

Cadia Village, a brief description, 1861-1868


All of the known photographs of Cadia Village are dated to the twentieth century, the second mining boom for Cadia. For the first stage of village development in the 1860s we rely on historical documentation and archaeological evidence. This photograph was probably taken after 1914, since the Post Office is indicated on the right hand side of Chilcott Street.

One of the earliest descriptions of a settlement at Cadia is provided by the 1861 Inventory. It mentions houses for the Refiner, Captain, Carpenter, Engineer and Manager, as well as one double house and three single houses, with dimensions and valuations for most of them.

With the development of the mine, this small settlement soon grew into a sizeable village, as described by the Wandering Reporter in the Sydney Mail of 16 September 1865:

In the following year, Bailliere’s New South Wales Gazetteer of 1866 provided some additional details of the services provided by the Village:

With the closure of the mine, the sale notice, appearing in the Sydney Morning Herald of 16 May 1868, was terse in its description of housing and other facilities:

“1 Manager’s house, and a large number of miners’ houses… Besides which there are TWO HOTELS, sundry store-keepers’ houses, shops, and post-office on the property, and belonging to the proprietors.”

Yet Josiah Holman’s report of 1868 was a little more informative and the first to describe the public school:

“BUILDINGS. – These comprise a manager’s house 30 by 60 feet, upwards of 60 huts suitable for officers and workpeople’s residences, a few of the latter built of slabs with shingled roofs, the remainder of slabs and bark roofs, two hotels and three stores, chiefly the property of the company; also a public school standing on an acre of land belonging to the Government, and a chapel; the foregoing forming the building of an irregular township.”

Although the mine had closed, the Village lived on until the 1940s, serving the mining community through its ups and downs, as well as the surrounding agricultural and mining district.

These brief historical reports, mostly derived from newspapers and directories, reveal little about the Cadia community and who lived and worked at the mine. To fill out the human story we need to explore in more detail the historical and archaeological evidence.