Retired miner Beres Evans, Ipswich City Rotarian Paul Casos, Haenke Foundation representative Hugh Taylor, retired miner Colin King and Ipswich North Rotarian John Walker are all trustees of the Ipswich Memorial Coalminers Memorial which is planned for Limestone Park.
Retired miner Beres Evans, Ipswich City Rotarian Paul Casos, Haenke Foundation representative Hugh Taylor, retired miner Colin King and Ipswich North Rotarian John Walker are all trustees of the Ipswich Memorial Coalminers Memorial which is planned for Limestone Park. Claudia Baxter

Remember our miners

THE helmet lights worn by Ipswich miners in the region's pits will glow forever in Limestone Park when a memorial to those who have lost their lives underground is built.

The 185 miners known to have died digging for coal will be remembered on the Ipswich Rosewood Coal Miners Memorial at the corner of Griffith Rd and Chermside St as a lasting tribute to Ipswich's coal mining industry.

Former Box Flat general manager Beres Evans hopes the memorial will be unveiled on December 4, St Barbara's Day, the day of the patron saint of miners.

The memorial will feature two cement pylons, representing a stratigraphic image of the Ipswich and Rosewood coalfields, placed in front of a 20m bronze wall bearing the names of those miners lost.

Adjacent to their names a shining light representing the helmets they wore while underground will sombrely signify their efforts.

The yellow, blue and white lights will embody the candles, carbide and electric lights worn during the industry's 160-year history in Ipswich.

But first they need to raise $500,000 make it a reality.

A trust has been formed by Ipswich's five Rotary clubs in a bid to raise the necessary funds.

The trustees have raised $300,000 and have applied to casino community funds and written to several mining companies asking for contributions.

Mr Evans said it was time the city had a fitting tribute to the miners and the role they played in Queensland's economy.

"We were a coal-mining city and today you can go around the whole city and find nothing about coal mining," he said.

"When we think about what the Ipswich industry did for the Queensland economy, it should be recognised. Because we were working underground the city never got the recognition it should have.

"It's a fitting tribute to those men and boys who lost their lives."

The memorial was designed by architect Liam Proberts of the Bureau & Proberts firm, renowned for encapsulating emotion in memorials throughout the world.

After being approached by the trustee, Mr Proberts began to realise their visions in his design.

"It is such an integral part of the Ipswich and Queensland community from the 1850s," Mr Proberts said. "It's a really important part of Queensland's history.

"There needed to be a wall where these people needed to be remembered."

Mr Proberts said he learnt an immense amount about Ipswich's mining while speaking to the old miners and designing the memorial.

He said the memorial would be an education tool as the trustees had requested.

"The whole memorial is about conveying the message and keeping it alive is part of that."

Mayor Paul Pisasale said the concept would be a welcome addition to Ipswich and could lead to further monuments to the city's railway heritage.

"It's been driven by miners for miners," he said. "There is an RSL monument there as well and in the years to come the history of the railway could be remembered there," he said.

Despite it requiring a hefty sum of money, Cr Pisasale was confident enough contributors would come forward.

To donate money to the project and see artist impression go to coalminersmemorial.com.au.

DONORS TO DATE

  • Mine Workers Trust
  • Willis L Haenke Historical Foundation
  • New Hope Group
  • Moreton Geotechnical Services
  • Mr Daniel Feeney
  • Campbell Brothers Ltd
  • The AMWA Moura
  • Metro Coal Ltd
  • Ipswich City Council


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