FINE PROJECT: Beres Evans has reached an agreement with contractors to build the miner’s memorial.
FINE PROJECT: Beres Evans has reached an agreement with contractors to build the miner’s memorial. Claudia Baxter

Memorial for Box Flats mine disaster now close to reality

THE concept of the Ipswich-Rosewood Coalminers Memorial has moved one step closer to becoming a reality.

The memorial trust has given its in-principal support to an offer from Ipswich contractors TP Turner. Trust chairman Beres Evans said while some details of the contract were yet to be finalised, it was a great step in the right direction.

"We will have a meeting next Tuesday with TP Turner, the architect and the engineer, to discuss the final scope of the work," Mr Evans said. "There are some aspects of the final design that we will have to modify slightly to work within budget. I would like to think we could raise a bit more funding to put a few finishing touches on the memorial."

The trust was created at the end of 2011 in order to raise the estimated $850,000 needed to build a 20m bronze wall, which will bear the names of 185 miners who died in the coalfields since records were first kept in 1882.

Two cement pylons, representing the stratigraphic image of the Ipswich and Rosewood coalfields, will stand in front of the bronze wall at Limestone Park, near the intersection of Chermside and Griffith Rd.

Although the trust was able to secure significant contributions from Ipswich City Council, the State Government and New Hope Coal, the ultimate fundraising goal is still about $350,000 away.

Due to these challenges in raising the funds required, Mr Evans said the project had now been broken into two stages - stage one will be the bronze wall, and stage two the columns.

An artist's impression of the coalminers memorial
An artist's impression of the coalminers memorial Unknown

"We hope that by going ahead with stage one, we will be able to attract more funding to complete the project," Mr Evans said.

"We will be meeting with Federal Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane in Toowoomba on July 29 to see if the Federal Government can match Ipswich City Council's $200,000 contribution. If we are successful, stage two will become a reality."

The timing of the announcement couldn't be better for the group of retired miners who first came up with the idea in 2008.

July 31 marks the 42nd anniversary of the Box Flat disaster.

Mr Evans said the trust was grateful to Mayor Paul Pisasale and Ipswich City Council for their support throughout the campaign.

The story so far:

  • 2008: A group of retired Ipswich miners comes up with idea to honour the lives of 185 men and boys lost in mining accidents since 1843
  • 2010: Serious fundraising efforts begin, starting with $50,000 from the Mine Worker's Trust.
  • 2011: Upon hearing that retired miners want to put the memorial at Cooneana Homestead, Mayor Paul Pisasale instead suggests Limestone Park. Council commits $200,000 to the project (half up front and half after contract is finalised), while Willis L Haenke Historical Foundation pledges $25,000.
  • 2013: State Government pledges $100,000 to the project, subject to a contract being signed
  • 2014: In-principal agreement with contractor TP Turner


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