The Queensland Government will hold a Miners Memorial Day to commemorate the lives of more than 1450 miners who died in mining tragedies that touch on three different centuries of mining in Queensland.
Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said Miners Memorial Day would be held on the anniversary of the worst mining disaster in Queensland’s history.
On 19 September, 1921, 75 miners lost their lives in a coal dust explosion at Mount Mulligan in far north Queensland.
Minister Wilson said he was heartened by support from the Queensland Resources Council and the major mining unions, the CFMEU and the AWU, for a Miners Memorial Day.
“I’ve set up a steering committee with representatives from industry and the unions and I’m looking forward to working in partnership with them in organising the inaugural Miners Memorial Day,” he said.
“On this day, we will remember the Mulligan miners and we will remember the miners of Box Flat, Kianga, Collinsville and Moura, and all miners who have lost their lives since mining began in Queensland in the 1800s.
“Their deaths are a sad part of our collective history. And the history of workers, their struggle, and sadly the ultimate sacrifice of workers should never be forgotten.
“It’s important that we remember, so that when we hold it up to the light years later, we can tell our children of the sacrifices made by the men and women who worked in our mines.
“These tragic events are recorded, not just in flickering black and white newsreels, but in the memories of mining communities today. They’re mining people and they know what it’s like,” he said.
The Minister said Miners Memorial Day would pay tribute to all miners in all mines across the state.
“Mining has helped forge our strong economy. From the gold rush days of the 1800s, mining has become a multi-billion dollar industry that is powering the state.
“And while we enjoy the benefits of the resources boom, we should reflect on how we got here and at what price – that’s what Miners Memorial Day is all about.
“Miners Memorial Day will shine a light on the most important side of mining – the safety of the men and women who work in Queensland’s mines,” he said.