Port Kembla, a suburb of Wollongong, is a seaport and one of Australia’s largest industrial complexes. Located almost 75 kilometers southwest of Sydney, it is one of Australia’s four major seaports. Like the Port of Newcastle, Port Kembla concentrates on the movement of raw materials for its industries.
In 1770, Captain James cook visited what is now Port Kembla. What is now Port Kembla’s inner harbor was later visited by explorers George Bass and Matthew Flinders. But Port Kembla did not have a natural harbor.
Photo by Adam.J.W.C.
The Mount Kembla Coal and Oil Company built a railroad from its mine to the coast so that it could ship coal. The company built a jetty on the coast and named it Port Kembla in 1883. A significant volume of coal was being exported from the Port Kembla jetty by the 1890s, and a plan for developing a deep water port there developed.
The Port Kembla Harbour Act was passed in 1898 establishing the port and funding construction of breakwaters. The two breakwaters that were built form the Outer Harbor today.
In the late 1920s, Hoskins Steelworks was located there, and the port began to develop. Many jetties were constructed for loading coal, and new jetties were added for the transport of steel and steel-manufacturing materials.
These large cargoes demanded bigger vessels, and a second construction era for Port Kembla in the 1970s with the addition of product berths and dredging a deeper harbor. Today, the port contains facilities to support the movement of coal, steel, grains, bulk liquids, oil, and a variety of products.