Rothbury Riot Ninety Years Later

In 1929, industrial conflict erupted in the Hunter Valley coal industry. The economic pressures of the Great Depression hit the industry hard, pitting miners against mine owners, causing widespread community hardship and culminating in fatal violence on 16 December that year.

Artist Chris Fussell’s depiction of the Rothbury Riots. Painted at rear of 40 Mitchell Street, photographed in 2008.

To commemorate the anniversary of the Rothbury Riot, Cessnock Library will hold a free exhibition that explores the lead-up to the day – now known as the Rothbury Riot – and charts its enduring consequences.

The exhibition will run during Cessnock Library opening hours from Saturday 31 August until Friday 13 September 2019.

Cessnock Library will also host a talk on Jim Comerford, who was a young 15 year old pit boy at the Rothbury Riot.

Jim had a long and eventful, sometimes controversial life. He was a long time official in the Miners’ Federation: one of the strongest most militant unions. He was best known to the public for his writing of book reviews and stories of life on the coalfields over several decades for the Newcastle Herald.

Historian Barbara Heaton has taken on the task of writing his biography and she will be at Cessnock Library to tell us about the process of uncovering Jim’s life and the challenges this has revealed.

Library Services Co-ordinator, Rose-Marie Walters said “Jim Comerford: Working Class Warrior” describes the social history of the community and cultural life of the northern coalfields which was unmatched in its heyday.”

Come and hear Barbara Heaton’s stories at Cessnock Library on Thursday 12 September 5pm to 7pm. Bookings for the talk are essential and refreshments are provided.

 Book a place here..

Book online at under ‘Events & Bookings’ or by calling Cessnock Library on 4993 4399 or Kurri Kurri Library on 4937 1638.