Dinmore resident John Szollosi standing in the huge sinkhole that appeared in his backyard.
Dinmore resident John Szollosi standing in the huge sinkhole that appeared in his backyard. Sarah Harvey

Sinkhole leads to safety fears

A LONG-TIME Dinmore resident says she is worried for her neighbours after a massive sinkhole appeared in a man’s backyard.

Betty Bork, who has lived in the suburb for 45 years, said she was astounded to learn of the mine subsidence.

A 10-metre-wide by two-metre-deep hole appeared in the backyard of John Szollosis’s house in King Street.

The area is well-known for mine subsidence after large sinkholes forced the State Government to buy people’s homes in 2000.

Mrs Bork, who often acts as a spokeswoman for the suburb, said her memories of subsidence went back even further.

“In 1974 something similar happened, and in 2000 we had quite a string of them,” she said.

“I think that was worse than they let on because they didn’t want to panic people, but this one is the worst of all.

“It just shows it can happen any time. In 2000 there were three quite close together.

“You don’t know what’s under your feet.”

Mrs Bork said she wasn’t worried about her own property although she knew most of it was honeycombed with old mines.

“I’m in King Street, just off River Road,” she said.

“The ground changes; where we are there is sandstone, but I know there are tunnels under the house.

“For me it is a concern for the people down near the cattle yards. They could be in trouble.”

Councillor Trevor Nardi said last week he was anxious about residents’ welfare because the ground could give way at any time.

“With sinkholes, you could be walking on a crust with a hole 18 to 20 feet (5.5m to 6.1m) underneath, and if you went through, it could take a life,” Cr Nardi said.

“It’s a dangerous area to be in. It could happen again and people should not be accessing it.

“It’s an extremely dangerous area to be in and they should keep people away.”

A Mines and Energy spokesman said inspectors determined the subsidence was “most likely triggered by the heavy rainfall experienced in the area throughout December accessing Westfalen No. 2 Colliery, causing pillar failure”.



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