Columns reveal coalminers' hardships
FUTURE generations are set to discover just how arduous and challenging coal mining could be in the Ipswich and Rosewood fields.
The two columns that will adorn the coalminers memorial in Limestone Park will be built later this year after two prototype representations of the columns were unveiled last week .
The prototypes are the handiwork of Ipswich business O'Connell Agencies who will also construct the final two columns under the guidance of owner Kaitlyn Moore.
Beres Evans, the chairman of the Ipswich-Rosewood Coalminers Memorial Trust, explained to the QT the significance of the columns and what they represent.
The Ipswich column is a geological stratification column of the Ipswich coal measures based around an actual core called NS258, while Rosewood's is NS84.
To understand what a core means, consider when an apple is cored and you pull it out.
In that sample is the makeup, or substance, of the apple.
It is the same with a core under the ground. That represents the makeup of the subterranean landscape and where the shale, sandstone, siltstone and coal is to be found and at what depths.
The Joynson, Boughen and Butler seams are all represented in the Rosewood column.
The 'plinth' at the bottom of the Rosewood column represents the average height of the coal seams in the Rosewood coalfields.
"Sitting on top of that we have the stratigraphic representation of a core called NS84," Mr Evans said.
"We selected these seams because they were the most mined seams in Rosewood.
"The Joynson family are still alive today as are the Boughen family.
"There is no plinth on the Ipswich column.
"The reason we put it on the Rosewood column was to demonstrate to future generations the hardship those men must have experienced shovelling the coal in that cramped height.
"The top seam (in the column) is the Joynson seam which was the most mined seam in Rosewood.
"Then we come down to the Boughen seam which was a lot thinner and then we come down to the Butler seam.
"So the three main seams in Rosewood will be shown in the columns."
The width of the Rosewood column will be 3.1m so that people who visit the memorial can get down low and move along in a crouched position to get an understanding of what being a coalminer was like.
"We are giving people the opportunity to see the height we could work in," Mr Evans said.
"The average height of a Rosewood mine was 1.2 to 1.3m so this coal plinth that the Rosewood column sits on shows how the men stopped down.
"They worked down to 18 inches high in Rosewood.
"They would take the coal out and they had to come along and had to what we call 'brush the floor' which means to lift the floor up so they could get the wagon in.
"We would work in roughly 3m high mines in Ipswich on average so we would walk around as free as a bird."
The Rosewood column will be 4.1m when completed while the Ipswich column will be higher at 10m.
"The Ipswich column is a geological stratification column of the Ipswich coal measures based around an actual core called NS258," Mr Evans said.
"We have copied that and (the column) will be 10m high and that is the highest seam we had in the West Moreton district.
"At the top of the 10m is shale, then the Aberdare seam and then we come down to Bluff and then to Four Feet and Burgins.
"When we finished at Box Flat (mine) we were down 450m and we were in the Bluff (seam), which was at the time the deepest coalmine in Australia."
The textures and colours on the concrete represent the siltstone, sandstone, shale and coal.
The Trust committee has been consulted during the process so that their recollections of the coalfields are matched, as far as is humanly possible in a replica at least, by the memorial columns.