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The area in the Blue Mountains, now the city of Lithgow, was the centre of great developments in early travel routes west of Sydney. It started with the construction of the road connecting Sydney and Bathurst passing through the town in the 1830s and then, most significantly, the construction of the railway which cut directly through the town in the 1870s. These accessible transport routes made trade and industry in the area grow at a exponential rate and with the discovery of coal in the 1860s, was transforming in their ability to further the industrialisation of the town.
With the discovery of iron ore in Lithgow, steel mills and smelters were set up in the town and were quickly able to meet the demand of the railway to produce the iron rails necessary to continue the reach of the railway line across the ranges. Blessed with an abundance of natural resources, the mills and mines in Lithgow were in receipt of several key government contracts including the construction of an armaments factory in the early 1900s which would secure the economic profile of Lithgow for some time.
Whilst mining no longer accounts for significant industry in Lithgow, its abundance of coal deposits feeds the State's largest power station on the city’s outskirts, owned by Delta Electricity. With the skeletal ruins of its industrial past and the historic Zig Zag Railway line serving as tourist attractions rather than industry figureheads, Lithgow is more of a residential township with the town’s spectacular situation on the edge of heritage-listed national parkland, making it a favoured holiday destination for domestic and international tourists.