The Broke Fordwich area lies within the Country of the Wonnarua People. The Wonnarua were distinguished from other Indigenous nations by their language, customs and laws.
Spiritual matters dominated the traditional Aboriginal lifestyle. Places associated with creation, as well as resting places of great ancestors were of great significance to the Wonnarua, and continue to hold that significance today. One such site is a large rock shelter at Milbrodale - Baiame Cave. Ceremonies were a major component of a rich cultural life of the Wonnarua. It is believed the last great Bora was held in Bulga in 1852 with as many as 500-600 Aboriginal people from various tribes as far as Mudgee and Goulburn.
Prior to mining, areas of cultural significance within our mining lease were identified by aboriginal groups and archaeologists. Grinding grooves and areas of artefact scatter were uncovered and identified as culturally significant.
An Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan, prepared in consultation with local aboriginal groups, helps us maintain and manage culturally significant areas.
We work closely with aboriginal groups to understand and preserve the cultural heritage of the area.
Situated on the Wollombi Brook, the Broke Fordwich district has a proud and diverse history. The first land allocations in the district included: 2,000 acres to Alexander Ritchie (1824); 4,200 acres to John Blaxland Snr (1825); 1,200 acres to Thomas Walker (1825). Both Ritchie and Walker were married to daughters of John Blaxland Snr. The first allocations in the then unnamed parishes of Milbrodale and Harrowby on the eastern side of the Wollombi Brook included: 1,200 acres to the Reverend Richard Hill (1825); 800 acres to Frederick Boucher (1824); 1,500 acres to John Tremayne Rodd (1825); and 300 acres to Robert Adamson Rodd (1825).
Charlton Road follows the original line of the Great North Road which diverged at Monkey Place Creek on John Blaxland Snr's land, across the Bulga Road to Warkworth. Under the supervision of Surveyor Peter Ogilivie, The Broke Warkworth branch was cleared by private contractors but built by convict gangs during 1834 and 1835. This stretch of Charlton Road has been extensively upgraded through its history.
Prior to mining, heritage items were identified in the Environmental Impact Statement. European heritage relics within the project area are managed in accordance with the relevant acts so that mining operations do not adversely impact on the condition of items of heritage value.
In 2012, the Bulga Complex published a book on the history of Broke Fordwich. The book was written by historian Anne Dunne in consultation with the local community. For more information about the book, contact Teegan.Hayward@glencore.com.au