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A historic stop at Cullen

It might have been a cold and grey morning in Cullen Bullen on Thursday, but it hardly seemed to matter as a lovely crowd of people, with warmth in their hearts, gathered to celebrated the Official Opening of the Cullen Bullen Tidy Town’s Skip Line Rest Area on the Castlereagh Highway.
The rest area has been beautifully rejuvenated to commemorate the Skip Line. It is now the home of a memorial wall, with a striking image of the interior of the old Invincible Colliery, a plaque with the history of Invincible Colliery, a little garden and most importantly, an original skip complete with coal and a miner’s helmet. There is also a table with chairs to encourage any weary travellers to stop, revive and survive. The skip was donated by Centennial Coal back in October 2011 and the accessories by Invincible Coal in November 2011, so it fantastic to see these historical items put pride of place for all to enjoy.
The skip line and the Invincible Colliery both have a long history in the area. According to the plaque the Tidy Towns Association has placed, the skip line was used to haul coal from the mine to the rail siding, passing by the school and under the Castlereagh Highway. It then crossed present day Portland Cullen Bullen Road to meet the Gantry over the railway line to the west of Cullen Bullen for transport. The skips held one tonne of coal each and were hand loaded by the miners and drawn to the main skip line by horses. It is wonderful to see this past remembered is such a way. The group gathered to commemorate the skip consisted of the Member for Bathurst the Honourable Paul Toole, our Mayor Maree Statham and the General Manager for Lithgow City Council Roger Bailey. Also in attendance were delegates from neighbouring Tidy Towns groups in Lithgow and Portland, a very good showing from the Boys in Blue from Chifley LAC and nearly all the children from Cullen Bullen Public school as well.
President for the Cullen Bullen Tidy Towns Association, Ray Blackley paid great respect to the history of the Skip Line that was established by the Invincible Colliery in February 1925. Ray thanked all who had contributed to not only the construction of the site but also those that had worked tirelessly in the background from the very beginning of the project’s inception. Support came from Delta Electricity, Lithgow City Council, Bathurst Member Paul Toole, Centennial Coal, Invincible Colliery, Baal Bone Colliery, Roads & Maritime Services, Blackley Enterprise, Mountain Signs, R&V Dobson Home Improvements, Wombat Hire, John Ferris Scrap Metal, Bathurst Welding Works and Cullen Bullen Public School.
Certainly all would agree that one of the guests of honour for the day was Mrs Maria Banks, whose husband Teddy Banks worked with the Invincible mine for many years. Maria has lived in Cullen Bullen with her family for over 90 years. Mrs Banks was given the great task of cutting the ceremonial cake at the delightful morning tea that was offered after the Official Opening.
Majory Worrington, the Publicity Officer from Cullen Bullen Tidy Towns Association said, “It was such a great idea and achievement for our group to be able to pay tribute to the miners that worked in the area. We’re also really proud with the attendance of not only our official guests but also our local community who are just so supportive”. Majory also commented that the hard working Tidy Towns members are looking forward to their next step in the project which is working on the walkway between the skip line site, the public bathrooms and the kids play area, allowing Cullen Bullen to be a terrific place to use as a pit stop on your next trip through to Mudgee.

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