Duffy’s mining tourism plan poorly researched
I READ with interest that mayoral candidate Gary Duffy has a plan for Ipswich to have a mining tourism industry that will attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city each year.
While any proposal to bring people and jobs into Ipswich should be welcomed, I know from the experience I have as a person who has had close association to the Ipswich mining industry, that any such plan must have been poorly researched, a waste of money and would be undeliverable.
While this district was once a thriving mining centre, there would be little for visitors to see these days as there is only one working mine, an open cut located west of the city.
I suspect that Mr Duffy has not spoken to the proprietors of that mine because I could not imagine them welcoming thousands of visitors onto their mine site and mining lease.
There are no underground mines operating in this district and little if any relics to show where they have been.
However, there are presently a number of points of interest that do recall the past history of mining in this district.
The Ipswich Historical Society has a permanent Mines Rescue and Mining Industry Memorabilia display at their Cooneana base.
At Blackstone the Willis L Haenke Historical Foundation has purchased the site and is preserving the Jessie Brown Winding Engine, first used in 1887.
The Ipswich City Council has recently put a lot of resources into developing a Mining Heritage Trail centered on Blackstone Hill.
I am in constant contact with the organisations that have developed those attractions and I am not aware that Mr Duffy has discussed his plans with them.
The Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Memorial Trust, of which I am chairman, recently unveiled Stage 1 of the Memorial at Limestone Park, and are working towards raising funds for Stage 2.
We have been active for five years in building this project, and yet surprisingly we have never been approached by Mr Duffy with his plans for tourism.
Nor has he been a volunteer or a supporter. On the other hand Mayor Paul Pisasale has been the force behind the council being our major sponsor and supporter.
It seems when elections are in the air, reality goes out the window and pie in the sky schemes such as that proposed by Mr Duffy find their way into the media.
BERES EVANS Chairman Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Memorial Trust
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