The lives of the 26 Collinsville miners who have died since mining began in the area in 1919 are being commemorated in the northern Bowen Basin town today.
The annual Collinsville Miners Memorial Day ceremony will be held tonight in Collinsville.
Black Wednesday — 13 October 1954 — is a day of great significance for the people of Collinsville, according to Minister for Natural Resources Mines and Energy Stephen Robertson.
“A tragedy that day affected all the Collinsville community; disrupting many families and leaving none in the community untouched,” Robertson said.
The Collinsville disaster was the worst in Queensland since the 1921 Mount Mulligan disaster some 33 years earlier, and was to remain so for 18 years until an underground explosion at Box Flat near Ipswich on 31 July 1972.
“All mining deaths, no matter how long ago, have a lasting impact on the community,” Robertson said.
“I strongly support a mine worker’s fundamental right to a safe working environment, to go to work and return home safely at the end of a shift. Nothing is more important than that.
“We — industry, unions and government — will always remain vigilant about protecting the safety and health of our coal mine workers.”
In Collinsville to attend the event, Robertson said Collinsville has had a major influence on the union movement in Australia as well as the coal industry.
“Collinsville has much to be proud of in the history of Queensland’s coal industry and we must remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the development of the industry,” he said.