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Coalcliff is a town on the coast of New South Wales, Australia, between Sydney and Wollongong. Together with Stanwell Park it belongs to the Little Bulli indentation of the northern Illawarra coast strip.HistoryIn 1796 William Clark and others trekking north to Port Jackson from the wrecked ship Sydney Cove noticed coal exposed at the cliffs there and made a fire from it, attracting rescuers, giving the area its name. George Bass was despatched to report on it and traced the deposit along the shore and inland. There was nowhere for ships to safely land though, so it was not until 1850 that it began to be excavated.Land grantsIn 1824 Matthew John Gibbons received a promised grant of one thousand acres from Governor Macquarie. The grant was known as 'Little Bullie' and later Stanwell Park. Gibbons was actually allocated one thousand and twenty acres from the top of Bald Hill to Judge's or Stony Creek in Coalcliff.Although the grant included Coalcliff Gibbons was unable to use it because of its inaccessibility. The land was promised to him in 1824 but it was not finally granted to him until 1833.Early residentsMatthew John GibbonsMatthew John Gibbons arrived in Australia in 1790 as a convict on the Second Fleet. He received a pardon and joined the NSW Regiment as a steward to Major Francis Grose, a member of the NSW (or "Rum") Corps. He married a free settler, Margaret Gordon. They had two children, Matthew and Elizabeth. The Gibbons family went back to England for a time but they returned in 1821. Gibbons worked in the civil service as a storekeeper to the Civil Engineer until 1832.
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