In 1824 the Australian Agricultural Company was formed and in 1828 this company was given a monopoly on coal mining in NSW. This denotes a shift from government control to private enterprise. The Australian Agricultural Company was granted 2000 acres of land in Newcastle. The company operated mines in Newcastle and Hamilton. The mines in the colony of NSW had started their spread from the ocean fringe to west and the Upper Hunter. These mines were worked by convicts and immigrants from England Wales and Scotland.
Although the Australian Agricultural Company was granted a monopoly on coal mining, other mines came into operation into existence before the monopoly was agreement was terminated in 1847. Reverend Lancelot Threlkeld and William Brooks operated mines at Lake Macquarie while John Eales, John Christian and James Brown operated mines at East Maitland.
With the Australian Agricultural Company monopoly at an end, mining developed in the majority of suburbs in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. Mines were established in Cessnock and surrounding Maitland and soon operated throughout the Hunter Valley.