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Kurri Kurri
City of Cessnock, New South Wales
Population 5,772 (2011 census)
 • Density 1,106.7/km2 (2,866/sq mi)
Established 1902
Postcode(s) 2327
Elevation 40 m (131 ft)
Area 5.1 km2 (2.0 sq mi)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
 • Summer (DST) AEDT (UTC+11)
LGA(s) City of Cessnock
Region Hunter
County Northumberland
Parish Heddon
State electorate(s) Cessnock
Federal Division(s) Paterson
Localities around Kurri Kurri:
Weston, Loxford Loxford Heddon Greta
Weston Kurri Kurri Heddon Greta
Pelaw Main Pelaw Main, Stanford Merthyr Stanford Merthyr

Kurri Kurri is a small town in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia, in the Cessnock LGA. In the 2011 census its population was 5,772. Kurri Kurri is the largest town in a group of towns and hamlets, including Stanford Merthyr, Pelaw Main, Weston and Abermain, for which the ABS publishes population estimates. The estimated population of Kurri Kurri - Weston was 17,241 as at June 2014.

Kurri Kurri's name comes from the local Awabakal language where it has a meaning similar to "the beginning" or "the first".

The town's economy today is largely based on the surrounding wineries now that the aluminium smelter closed in 2012.


Kurri Kurri was founded in 1902 to service the local Stanford Merthyr and Pelaw Main collieries and mining communities. The town was named by District Surveyor T. Smith who chose the name because he believed it meant 'hurry along' in a local dialect.

The Kurri Kurri Hotel (1904) is one of several built during the era of mining prosperity in the early 20th century. It is an impressive three-story building featuring prominent verandas with cast-iron lacework. The Empire Tavern was also built during this period. Kurri Kurri has numerous small miners' cottages from the same period.


Mining at the South Maitland Coalfields began at East Greta in 1891, after an 1886 exploration by Sir Edgeworth David, a government geological surveyor, uncovered the potential of the Greta coal seam. More mines were opened in the early 1900s, supplanting those older pits at Newcastle where the Australian Agricultural Company enjoyed almost a monopoly. During this period there were a number of accidents including the death of six miners at the Stanford Merthyr Colliery in 1905, which is commemorated by a monument in the Kurri Kurri cemetery.

Richmond Main Colliery, also in the Kurri Kurri vicinity, was once the State's largest producer, at 3,400 tons per day, and which reputedly had the deepest shaft permitting access to two separate coal seams, the Scholey shaft, named after its founder, John Scholey. Following the serious slump in the coal industry Stanford Merthyr Colliery closed in 1957, Pelaw Main in 1962, and Richmond Main in 1967.

The power station at Richmond Main Colliery, which provided the electricity for Kurri Kurri and surrounding districts, remained in operation for some years after the mine's closure, until the entire district was attached to the National Grid.

Civic competitions

In 1988 the town established a Tidy Town Committee under the stewardship of the Keep Australia Beautiful competition. The town achieved immediate success and in the space of 6 years took the best town in NSW in 1993 and was a finalist in the best town in Australia.

This was followed by the establishment of the Small Towns committee known as Towns with Heart.

Local art

It is now becoming internationally renowned for its murals with more than 55 murals painted around the town and its environs depicting the history of the region and also recent events. Each year the town also hosts a Nostalgia Festival featuring rock 'n' roll dancing, hot rod and bike shows.

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