Ceremony marks 125 years since opening of West Moreton Colliery

CEREMONY: Andrew Vickers, Hugh Taylor and Wybe Geertsma, members of the Willis L Haenke Historical Foundation, commemorate the 125th anniversary of the West Moreton Colliery.
CEREMONY: Andrew Vickers, Hugh Taylor and Wybe Geertsma, members of the Willis L Haenke Historical Foundation, commemorate the 125th anniversary of the West Moreton Colliery. David Nielsen

IPSWICH people remembered the city's mining past at a ceremony to mark 125 years since the opening of the West Moreton Colliery.

Retired miners, mining families and other supporters joined members of the Willis L Haenke Foundation to celebrate the Blackstone site on Saturday.

Foundation trustee Hugh Taylor said the old mine was very special.

"There's a giant winder, the Jessie Brown Winder, on the site, as well as the original mine shaft," Mr Taylor said.

"The mine shaft went down in 1886 and opened in 1887.

"It's a very important part of Ipswich history, and Ipswich is where coal-mining started in Queensland."

Mr Taylor said the anniversary was a turning point for the mine.

"We're going to do some restoration work to refurbish the winder and tidy up the original shaft, and we'll eventually open the site to the public," Mr Taylor said.

"The winder is slowly being refurbished to get it back into shape - it won't run, but it will look like it did when the mine operated.

"We'll start by opening it at least one weekend a month."

Mr Taylor said the heritage site could expand its collection, depending on interest.

"We'll start with the original site, which will look true to the 1880s era, but we're looking to put in other mining artefacts from different periods, like machinery from the 1960s," he said.

"There's a lot of great old artefacts out there that aren't used any more.

"It will be a great site for people to learn about mining."

The aim of the Willis L Haenke Foundation is to promote an awareness of coal mining in the Ipswich region.

The West Moreton Colliery is at 10 Ella St, Blackstone.

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