The launch of the Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Memorial recalled memories of lost mates for old miners like Digger Murphy (left).
The launch of the Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Memorial recalled memories of lost mates for old miners like Digger Murphy (left). David Nielsen

Memorial to honour victims

A MEMORIAL honouring all Ipswich and Rosewood coalminers who have lost their lives, will be erected at Limestone Park as a permanent tribute.

Stratigraphic columns will be the focal point of the memorial and they will represent the coal seams of Ipswich and Rosewood respectively.

Names of the individual coalminers who have died in the mines will be etched in the metal wall and illuminated by a circle that will light up at night. The circle will represent the helmet light that is so closely linked with the profession.

Ipswich Rosewood Coalminers Memorial Trust chairman Beres Evans said that the memorial had been instituted by a group of retired miners who still met weekly.

"We are very much involved with the Box Flat tragedy, where 17 coalminers lost their lives in 1972, but we realised that there is no memorial to the rest of the miners that lost their lives, so we set about to try and remedy that," he said.

"We checked the records and found out that there were 184 men that lost their lives in mines in the Ipswich West Moreton coalfields.

"That was between 1882 when records first commenced and the year 2000.

"We have no records from when mining first commenced in 1843 through to 1882, hence there are 39 years where we are unsure how many people lost their lives," Mr Evans said.

"Coalmining wasn't only vital to Ipswich, it was vital to the colony. Without coal the steamers didn't get fuel.

"Then there was the power station, wool mills and industry in general.

"So the Ipswich coalminers were very much a part of the development of our colony."

Digger Murphy, a former coal miner and legendary union representative, said coalminers were also "an economic necessity for the Ipswich community".

"We had 25 mines here and, at one stage, 2500 miners in Ipswich and Rosewood," he said.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said the city was built on the coalmining industry and that it was important to recognise the blood, sweat and tears of the coalminers and those who lost their lives.

"This will be a fitting tribute to the people who have given their lives," he said.

"When we started this project we wanted to build something that was more than a monument. We needed something spectacular and unique."

The New Hope Group donated $100,000 to the project at the launch on Tuesday.



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