100 Years of History at Coates Mitre 10
Coates Mitre 10 Home
& Trade Lithgow has come a long ways since its
humble beginnings in 1906. It started out as a small bush mill behind Charles Moores House at “Norman Lea” near Hampton. Charles Moore is the Great Great
Grandfather of Michael Coates, who is the present owner of the business.
The mill moved in 1909, to a small property called
“Ingleside” situated on the Jenolan Caves Road. The property was purchased by
George Coates when he married Emily Ivy Moore (the daughter of Charles Moore).
The mill operated on the site until
1917 when it was burnt out by a bush fire.
George moved the operation into Main
Street Lithgow after the fire and the business is still operating from the same
location 83 years on.
George Coates went into partnership with his brother Tom in
the early twenties. The business traded as “Coates Brothers”. Tragically,
Tom was killed in a horrific Mill accident in 1934.
Harold started full time work in the mill in 1932 at the
age of 15. He went on to complete his trade as a Carpenter and Joiner.
talks fondly of the early days through the depression years. His day would start
at 5Am when he would go down to fire up the boilers in the steam engine that
powered the saws.
In those days the logs were delivered by bullock drawn wagons
or via the rail system to Bowenfels. Most of the logging was done on the Newnes
During the War, the mill was considered an essential
service and the employees were not eligible to join the armed forces. The mill
was kept busy supplying materials for temporary housing for the Small Arms
Factory workers and for Factory extensions.
George retired in 1944 when Harold took
over the business.
In 1960 Harold’s son Ian started work.
Harold’s role in the business diminished when he was elected to State Parliament
During the 60’s as many as 43 people
were employed in the Joinery and Mill. In 1971, the saw milling operations
ceased and a new self-service hardware shop was built. This was one of the first
of its kind in Country NSW.
Over the next 25 years, Ian saw the
company through many changes in the Building Industry, including the
introduction of prefabricated Frames and Trusses, Aluminium Windows and
mass-produced doors and mouldings.
Michael and Lisa Coates have operated
the business since 1994. Michael is the fifth generation family member involved.
Coates Mitre 10 Home & Trade Lithgow currently employs 24
people and supplies a wide range of goods and services to the Lithgow District.
It is a very different business to the
one that started at “Norman Lea” 100 years ago. It will continue to change with
the times and will proudly continue to serve the Lithgow Community for many
generations to come.