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BOX FLAT: The disaster that shook Ipswich to the core

minea: The disastrous explosion that occurred at Box Flat Extended No. 5 tunnel, Swanbank, in the early hours of 31 July, 1972.

Photo: Picture Ipswich
minea: The disastrous explosion that occurred at Box Flat Extended No. 5 tunnel, Swanbank, in the early hours of 31 July, 1972. Photo: Picture Ipswich

THE SADDEST moment in the history of mining in Ipswich will be remembered today when the 45th anniversary of the Box Flat disaster is marked.

On July 31, 1972, the city was in mourning when 17 men were killed in an explosion at the Box Flat mine.

Clarence Edwin Wolski also died 14 months later as a result of the injuries he sustained from the blast.

It was the worst disaster in the city's history and today a service will be held at the Ipswich-Rosewood Coalminers Memorial at Limestone Park, a service which will continue to ensure the men who died are never forgotten.

Mining, along with the railways, employed numerous residents in the city of Ipswich and the disaster impacted many people - family, friends, colleagues and a community whose very existence owed so much to the mines and the hard work of those who toiled in them.

Acting Mayor Paul Tully will provide an address at today's service at 10.30am which will be attended by family members of those killed, community members and dignitaries.

The service will include a roll call and laying of floral tributes.

The survivors of the disaster have recalled their memories of the day in the QT in the past and how it changed them forever.

On the occasion of the 43rd anniversary, Allan Berlin reflected on a disaster that rocked him to the core.

He was part of the mines rescue team that was given the awful task of going deep into the tunnels to find the source of the smoke that was building prior to the massive explosion.

"I often wonder about the meaning of it all; why those men lost their lives, " Mr Berlin recalled at the time.

"I think of those families; the wives, mothers, brothers and children that were left to carry the burden."

Memorial details

What: Memorial for the 45th anniversary of the Box Flat disaster

Where: Ipswich-Rosewood Coalminers Memorial at Limestone Park

When: The service will be at 10.30am

Topics:  box flat box flat mine disaster memorial mining