WE all read stories about the coal mines of the Bowen Basin and the future coal mines of the Galilee Basin.
But very few people realise the historic links between coal mining, Rockhampton and Central Queensland.
During the second half of the 19th century coal deposits were found locally at a number of locations from Stanwell, Waterpark Creek, the Styx River at Ogmore, Callide Creek near Biloela and Baralaba.
Then when the Blair Athol coal mine opened in the 1890s Rockhampton was firmly linked.
By the 1960s and 70s new coal mines were being opened across the Bowen Basin.
This saw towns like Blackwater grow from a population of 71 in 1961 to just short of 2000 in 1971 and by 2011 the population was over 5100.
Blackwater has six major open cut coal mines, one of which is one of Australia's largest.
BMA's Blackwater mine has coking coal reserves of 877 million tonnes, one of the largest coal reserves in the world and produces around 14 million tonnes of coking and thermal coal each year.
Blackwater mine was established by the Utah Development Company in 1967.
On August 31, 2008 the Blackwater international coal centre was officially opened.
The main purpose of this centre is to demonstrate the operations and history of Australia's coal mining through the centre's interactive museum.
The centre features three conference rooms, an auditorium, 3D cinema, award-winning landscaped gardens and a cafe.
To learn more about our fascinating link with coal mining and its history I would recommend visiting the international coal centre in Blackwater these school holidays.