Mining Heritage

Oct 05, 2017
Big birthday bash for Blackwater coal mine

Big birthday bash for Blackwater coal mine

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) is celebrating 50 years of operations at Blackwater Mine, marking the milestone with a free community event at Blackwater Crushers Rugby League Fields on Saturday, October 7. The mine was established by the Utah Development Company, following the discovery of a coal deposit about 20km south of the township of Blackwater in 1962. The operation was originally m...

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Oct 03, 2017
Golden milestone for alumina giant

Golden milestone for alumina giant

A processing business dubbed ‘the giant that never sleeps’ celebrates 50 years of operation in 2017. Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL) opened in Gladstone in 1967, with the first shipment of alumina sailing from the wharf on June 9. An international consortium of Alcan Aluminium, Conzinc Rio Tinto (CRA), Pechiney and Kaiser Aluminium and Chemical Corporation was behind its establishment. The QAL ...

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Jul 16, 2017
A pioneer in open-cut coal mining

A pioneer in open-cut coal mining

Blair Athol coal mine is poised to enter a new chapter under its latest owners, TerraCom subsidiary Orion Mining. But its story has some age and the operation has a claim to fame as the first mine in Australia to adopt open-cut methods. The region’s coal was discovered by accident in 1864 on Robert McMaster’s grazing run, Blair Athol, says Clermont Historical Centre co-ordinator Deb Alvoen of Isaa...

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Dec 14, 2016
Miners Memorial Monument to be built in Redbank next year

Miners Memorial Monument to be built in Redbank next year

The sacrifices made by Queensland’s miners and their contribution to the State’s economy will be permanently honoured at new memorial in Redbank. Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said construction of Miners Memorial Monument would get under way in the new year. “I’m proud to announce the Palaszczuk Government will soon honour both metalliferous and coal mine workers who have ...

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Sep 19, 2016
Queensland remembers lost miners

Queensland remembers lost miners

Miners Memorial Day has been commemorated in Moranbah on the anniversary of Queensland’s worst mine disaster. More than 1500 people have lost their lives working in Queensland’s coal and metalliferous mines since the 19th century. The Mount Mulligan mine disaster occurred on September 19 1921 in Mount Mulligan, in Far North Queensland. A series of explosions in the local coal mine, audible a...

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Aug 24, 2016
Game in the name for early miners

Game in the name for early miners

Near the town of Ewan in Queensland there is a cluster of old mines named after fish.  Sardine, Groper, Tinfish Trevally, Barramundi, and Mackerel are just a few examples. The ironic thing about this is that Oakey Creek (the river that runs through the centre of this cluster) is not known for its good fishing, in fact it runs dry for most of the year. Mechanical engineer and Townsville-based histo...

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Aug 23, 2016
Gympie – the town that saved Queensland

Gympie – the town that saved Queensland

In 1867 one man’s search for personal fortune made the history books when he discovered 75 ounces of gold in the place that later became known as ‘the town that saved Queensland’. English prospector James Nash was travelling the bankrupt state of Queensland when he arrived at Gympie, 150km north of central Brisbane, and struck gold. Nash’s gold find sparked a gold rush which in turn saved Queensla...

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Aug 21, 2016
Flash of lightning gave birth to ‘The World’

Flash of lightning gave birth to ‘The World’

It was a flash of lightning on Christmas Eve 1871 that led to a young aboriginal boy named Jupiter discovering gold in Charters Towers. Jupiter was prospecting for gold with a group of men when a thunderstorm scared off the group’s horses. While searching for the startled animals Jupiter spotted a specimen of quartz studded with gold. The gold find was then reported to the mining warden of the tim...

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Aug 20, 2016
Annie seeks lost love on the goldfields

Annie seeks lost love on the goldfields

 A German-born woman turned into a ‘crazy cat lady’ when she followed her lover from England to the Aussie outback only to find that he had fallen in love with someone else. In the 1880’s Annie ‘Bags’ Ferdinand scrimped and saved so that she could travel to Australia in search of her lost love who had moved to the country in search of gold. Without money or mode of transportation Annie walked thro...

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Aug 16, 2016
How the EK Healy cup challenge began

How the EK Healy cup challenge began

When the Ipswich suburb of Booval lost its beloved Mills Cup to a rival mines rescue team from Collinsville, nobody realised it would be the beginning of a new competition that is now in its 45th year. Years ago a trophy named the Mills Cup was presented to the Booval mines rescue station by the local Mills family. Local mines rescue teams competed among themselves for the prize and as the competi...

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Aug 16, 2016
Dark day for mines rescue

Dark day for mines rescue

Throughout 100 years of rescues, the darkest day for the Queensland Mines Rescue Service (QMRS) was July 31, 1972. That was the day of the Box Flat mine disaster in which 17 men, including eight mines rescue workers, were killed. About 2.45am an underground explosion trapped 14 men, killed three men on the surface, and injured 10 others. “One of the mines had a spontaneous combustion which quickly...

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Aug 12, 2016
Flood of memories 100 years after Clermont disaster

Flood of memories 100 years after Clermont disaster

Clermont’s Gold and Coal Festival will have a significant historical focus this year as the community commemorates the devastating flood that killed more than 60 people 100 years ago. A floating lantern ceremony is planned next Friday evening (August 19) as part of the two-day festival, according to Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker. “Some 300 lanterns will be released onto Hoods Lagoon to c...

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Jul 20, 2016
Pit ponies a beloved part of Collinsville coal story

Pit ponies a beloved part of Collinsville coal story

At the heart of Collinsville’s mining history is the story of the town’s beloved pit ponies who worked alongside the underground miners, were at the centre of a union strike and even saved the life of one of the town’s locals. Former CFMEU Collinsville lodge president Mike Brunker tells of the day that his father ‘Sugar’ Ray Brunker escaped the 1954 mine disaster while he tended to one of the pit ...

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Jul 20, 2016
Memories of Mary Kathleen

Memories of Mary Kathleen

Between the years 1956-1963 and 1974-1983 Mary Kathleen was a bustling mining town and popular social spot.  Now all that remains is bitumen road and the concrete slabs where car ports once were. The once thriving uranium town, was founded by Clem Walton and Norm McConarchy in 1954 during a time when everyone was searching Queensland for the commodity. The ore was to be sent to Great Britain for t...

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Jul 20, 2016
Gem of a spot to stumble on a fortune

Gem of a spot to stumble on a fortune

A 14-year-old boy was walking behind the local post office on his way home from school when he discovered a hidden gem. It was 1979 in the Central Queensland gemfields and young Serli “Smiley” Nelson had just discovered what became known as the largest gem-quality sapphire in the world. The Centenary Sapphire, which weighed in at 2020 carats, was stolen in 1983 from an exhibition but was recovered...

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Jul 20, 2016
Lure for treasure seekers

Lure for treasure seekers

    Sapphires were first reported in the Sapphire gemfields by John Archibald Richardson in the 1870s. By 1890 commercial mining had begun in Retreat Creek in the present town of Sapphire. It was hard work in an isolated spot in harsh conditions with a lack of water. Mines were dug by hand using picks and shovels in open pits or trenches. The early miners also dug square sided shafts, wh...

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Jul 15, 2016
Moura commemorates coalfields disaster

Moura commemorates coalfields disaster

A memorial service will be held in Moura, Central Queensland, tomorrow (Saturday) to commemorate 12 miners killed on July 16, 1986 in an underground explosion at the Moura No.4 coal mine. CFMEU Mines and Energy Queensland District president Stephen Smyth, Queensland Mines and Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham and Chief Inspector of Coal Mines Russell Albury are among those expected to atte...

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Jul 13, 2016
US spy infiltrated Roma oil operation

US spy infiltrated Roma oil operation

  The year was 1924 when an undercover American geologist managed to weed his way onto an Australian oil drilling project on the outskirts of Roma with the intention of leaking information back to the United States. The year prior, The Lander Oil Company had landed on the scene and had set up the first search for oil outside of the Roma exclusion zone at ‘Tiger Scrub’ Orallo (50 km north of ...

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