Beres Evans reflects on a job well done
BERES Evans looked 10 years younger on Sunday.
The completion of stage two of the Ipswich-Rosewood Coalminers Memorial and the opening of a magnificent totality of the memorial was the culmination of nine years' work for the memorial trust's chairman and his committee members.
When the Rosewood and Ipswich stratigraphic columns were illuminated in Limestone Park on Sunday night, it was an historic moment in the history of Ipswich.
"We are recognising a great industry that we all worked in and it is long, long overdue," a proud Mr Evans said as he gazed up at the completed memorial.
"Everyone is just awestruck with the magnificence of the memorial and the columns in particular, and how they show the strata underground where the men worked in very hard conditions.
"Tonight is the completion of a nine-year journey."
The two columns were built by O'Connell Agencies of Ipswich, under the guidance of Kaitlyn Moore.
In his speech on opening night Mr Evans said it was decided the Ipswich column should represent the Ipswich district seams "from which the majority of the coal was won - in descending order the Aberdare, Bluff, Four Foot and Bergins seams".
"The height represents the 10m thickness of the Bluff seam where the aim was to extract the maximum height in safe working conditions," he said.
"This column height will demonstrate to visitors the anxiety created in mining coal underground in such conditions.
"With the same objectives in mind the Joynson, Boughen and Butler seams were the most worked in the Rosewood mines and were chosen to represent that district.
"The total height of the Rosewood column is 4m and (has) two parts.
"If you look at the Rosewood column, the bottom 1.2m is the average height of the Rosewood coal seam.
"That demonstrates the hardship endured by these miners in such a confined space.
"The top 2.8m represents the height worked in the largest measures.
"We believe that the illumination of the columns in this memorial will not only be a significant landmark in the city of Ipswich, but will be a place of reverence and remembrance, and a constant reminder of the hardships and dangers that the coal miners of Ipswich and Rosewood endured in their working lives.
"The columns will always be illuminated at night; from dusk until dawn."
There were 186 men and boys who lost their lives in Rosewood and Ipswich coalmines from 1858 until 1997, and they are all recorded on a memorial wall.
"I think it is a fitting way to remember those men, who built our state and colony," Mr Evans said.