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Work to start on "totally Ipswich project" honouring miners

BIG PLANS: Beres Evans (left) and John Walker (right) from the Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Memorial Trust and TP Turner managing director Robert Turner.announce the start of stage one of the mining memorial.
BIG PLANS: Beres Evans (left) and John Walker (right) from the Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Memorial Trust and TP Turner managing director Robert Turner.announce the start of stage one of the mining memorial. David Nielsen

IT'S truly going to be the miners' memorial that Ipswich built.

Proudly Ipswich builder TP Turner has signed a contact to build the first stage of the Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Memorial.

In 2008, a group of retired Ipswich miners came up with the idea to honour the lives of 185 people lost in mining accidents since 1843.

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A trust was created in 2011 to raise the estimated $850,000 to build a 20m bronze wall, which will bear the names of 185 miners who died in the coalfields since records were first kept in 1882.

Eventually, two cement pylons will stand in front of the bronze wall at Limestone Park.

Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Memorial Trust chairman Beres Evans was thrilled to have TP Turner as the stage one builder.

"It fits in the theme of what the Mayor wanted when we started this. He wanted it by miners, for miners; now we've got it built by Ipswich," Mr Evans said.

An artist impression of the Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Memorial. Photo: Contributed
An artist impression of the Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Memorial. Photo: Contributed Unknown

"It's a totally Ipswich project.

"This was the culmination of approximately six years of planning and fundraising which included not only the Trust, but the Trust Advisory Committee, a group of retired miners, and the five Ipswich Rotary Clubs."

He said the memorial wall would have the miners' names on it and lights to indicate the hardship under which the miners worked.

"This was one of the critical parts that we had to negotiate with Robert; to ensure that we had the lights," he said.

"The lights tell the story of the progress of mining from hand mining to semi-mechanisation to full mechanisation. That's how the story of mining is going to be told - through these lights.

"We have not lost the integrity of the memorial. That is intact and all the suggestions that have come from TP Turner have been embraced by our architect and we've now signed a contact."

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TP Turner managing director Robert Turner said the company put a proposal to the Miners Trust to be able to achieve the concept by changing the construction methods to make it more economical.

"We're bringing it back to a stage project. To me what the miners are trying to achieve - the key piece - is the memorial wall. That's what we've tried to achieve for the miners," Mr Turner said.

"It needs to be recognised, the influence that mining's had on Ipswich. It's been the backbone of the town. The mines are no longer here, the jobs are no longer here but the families are still here."

He said the arrival of the bronze was the biggest issue - at this stage it was about three months away from landing in Australia.

"It's engraving bronze and it's coming out of Europe," Mr Evans said. "If we didn't use engraving bronze, it could have been quicker but we would take away from the intent of the sombre, respectful area. "We took advice from the Australian War Memorial on whether it should be brass or bronze and bronze is very much seen as the thing for a memorial."

An artist impression of the Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Memorial. Photo: Contributed
An artist impression of the Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Memorial. Photo: Contributed Unknown

Mining tribute

  • The Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Memorial Trust is a community-based organisation, which includes representatives of the five Ipswich Rotary Clubs, of the coalmining community through the Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Committee, representatives of the major financial supporters, and the Ipswich City Council.
  • The memorial has been designed by architect Bureau Proberts, designers of Police Memorial in Canberra, and KAUST in Jeddah.

Purpose

  • To recognise in the period 1843 to the present, 185 men and boys lost their lives in the Ipswich Rosewood coalmines.
  • To recognise the part played by the Ipswich Rosewood coalminers in the development of the State of Queensland.
  • To recognise that since coalmining commenced in 1843, the Ipswich Rosewood Coalmines supplied fuel for the operations of the railways, industry, and power generation to Queensland as a whole and particularly south-east Queensland. In that period, those mines at times produced up to 56% of the State's coal output.
  • To recognise that a memorial is needed in Ipswich as today there is little evidence that a coal mining industry ever existed, let alone the price paid in human life to sustain that industry.

Topics:  ipswich rosewood coalminers memorial




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