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Families remember lost miners

Retired Ipswich miners from left, Lance Waldon, Eric Jones, Col Webb, Edris Llewellyn, Beres Evans and Allan Berlin attend the Miners Memorial Day Service at Collingwood Park.
Retired Ipswich miners from left, Lance Waldon, Eric Jones, Col Webb, Edris Llewellyn, Beres Evans and Allan Berlin attend the Miners Memorial Day Service at Collingwood Park. David Nielsen

ON THE 91st anniversary of the day when 75 men lost their lives in Queensland's worst mining disaster, the families of those who have lost loved ones in tragedies across the state gathered for the Miners Memorial Day Service at Redbank.

Since mining deaths were first recorded in Queensland in 1882, 1470 miners have lost their lives to explosions or accidents - the most significant in terms of loss of life being the disaster at Mt Mulligan on September 19, 1921.

Ipswich's long and proud history of coal mining hasn't come without its own tragedies. The worst was the Box Flat disaster of July 31, 1972, in which 17 men died.

Survivors of that terrible day were among about 200 on hand for the service at the Redbank and Collingwood Park Sports Complex yesterday morning.

Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union representative Greg Dalliston said it was important to remember that while it had been 18 years since Queensland's last major mining disaster, not a year had gone by without a fatal incident since 1882.

"Our mining legislation is written in the blood of those we are here to remember today, and the multinational mining companies, whose primary interest is in their profit margin, and their representatives, together with the Government, must not be allowed to change safety and health legislation that does not include the lessons of the past," Mr Dalliston said.

Joanne Ufer, who lost her then 25-year-old son Joshua in the Pike River mine disaster in New Zealand in November, 2010, said she had become passionate about workplace safety.

"The same thing can happen in Australia if we drop our standards," she said.

Topics:  anniversary, memorial, mining


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