Miners memorial on the rise
THE ETERNAL memorial to the 186 coalminers who lost their lives in Ipswich is a step closer to realisation after the unveiling of prototypes of the two columns that will adorn the monument at Limestone Park.
Key members of the Ipswich-Rosewood Coalminers Memorial Trust inspected the concrete prototypes which have been built by O'Connell Agencies in Ipswich using revolutionary technology.
The two columns - one for the Ipswich coalfield and one for Rosewood - reflect the stratigraphic projection, or 'core', of the makeup of the coalfields.
They also reflect the various seams of coal in the respective regions. The Ipswich column will be 10m tall and the Rosewood column 4.2m when they are put in place.
The prototypes are miniature versions of the final versions which will be constructed on site in November by O'Connell Agencies for the official opening on Sunday, December 4.
Kaitlyn Moore, the owner of the business, said she was extremely proud to play a key role in such an important project.
"After I heard the meaning behind the columns and what the Trust wanted to portray, I was very honoured to be a part of it to try and highlight the coalminers contribution to Ipswich," she said.
"So I am very proud to highlight my technology and reflect what they want to show.
"The challenge from a technical point of view was to produce solid concrete shapes without the traditional use of formwork."
The methods Ms Moore have used mean there will be no unsightly holes on the sides of the concrete.
She has come up with the colours and texture on the pillars to reflect the coal seams, siltstone and sandstone in harmony with the geological makeup under the ground.
"I have come up with the technology that gives us any type of shape in a column form...so it can meet an architect's specification" she said.
"Originally the concept was a pre-cast design, fabricated on the ground. They were going to assemble it and join it together with mastic sealants on the joiners, which would be quite unsightly from an architectural point of view. What I have come up with is revolutionary...so it can be cast in situ."
The final columns will have lighting strategically placed upon them so at night they will be illuminated in a stunning way.
Trust chairman Beres Evans was overjoyed by the prototypes and now confident his organisation's vision will be realised. The members of the Trust, most of whom were involved extensively in coalmining, have liaised closely with Ms Moore.
As Mr Evans touched the prototypes he was clearly moved at how the texture of the concrete that represents the coal matched up with his own memories of the coal once mined.
"When Kaitlyn said she could do this there were doubting Thomases who said it would be difficult," Mr Evans said
"But what she has done is very innovative. To calm our nerves she offered to do a prototype. What she has done is just mind boggling."
Organisations, including the CFMEU and Ipswich City Council have made significant financial contributions to the memorial.
Blair MP Shayne Neumann has also been able to secure recently a $20,000 grant.
Local rotary clubs have got behind the project to fund raise as well with Mayor Paul Pisasale delighted the memorial will now be opened on St Barbara's Day. St Barbara is the patron saint of miners.
"This has been a project going on for nine years," Cr Pisasale said.
"This city was built on mining but there was no memorial for miners ever. So this is a no-brainer."