Kurri Kurri owes its existence to the local coal mines. By 1902, mines such as Stanford Merthyr and Pelaw Main had opened and mine workers and their families moved nearby. The Delegate Board of the Newcastle Miners Union flagged a need for a township, and the Pelaw Main Miners’ Lodge led the local residents in applying for the ‘New Mining Township’. The name 'Kurri Kurri', local Aboriginal term for ‘hurry along’ was first used on 9 August 1902. (Centennial chronology of Kurri Kurri, 1902-2002. Queensland : Bookmen Publishers : Erinport Pty. Ltd., 2002)
Other mines such as the Hebburn collieries and Richmond Main appeared and, as the population grew, retail, post office, schools, hotels, hospital, banks and other services supported the mine workers and their families. Many of the mine workers originated in the North of England, and belonged to the Methodist Church, the first church to open in Kurri Kurri in 1904.