Bid for miners memorial

Posted June 11, 2015

Moura Miners' Memorial_View01_Preliminary_1

A Moura community group is engaged in a last-ditch bid to raise enough funds to have a major miners’ memorial ready to mark the 40th anniversary of the Kianga disaster.
The $535,000 project will honour those killed in three mass disasters on the Moura-Kianga coalfields as well as individual miners killed in accidents since 1961.
Moura Community Progress group president John Walker said fundraising efforts had reaped about half that amount and that they needed to be able to put up the $450,000 required for construction before tenders could be called.
This meant the window was fast closing to have work started in time to have the new monument ready for the September 20 anniversary of the Kianga No. 1 Mine explosion which claimed 13 lives, he said.
The back-up plan is to officially open the new Gillespie St memorial in July next year to co-incide with the 30th anniversary of the Moura No. 4 underground disaster.
That underground disaster claimed 12 men, while another at Moura No. 2 in August 1994 killed 11.
With the individual miners who have lost their lives on the local coalfields, the latest being at Dawson mine in February, the memorial roll will total 50 names
Mr Walker’s father Ron is among those who will be listed - the father of four having died in an accident in the Moura No.2 underground mine in November 1979.
“My father was working underground when a rib came out of the roof sidewall and struck and killed him - so that’s probably where my passion comes to build something that remembers everyone, not just those lost in the disasters,” Mr Walker said.
Mr Walker said the monument was such a big project that the proponents had targeted large organisations such as mining companies, unions and government bodies for donations rather than the local community.
“In these tough times there’s only so much to go around and we didn’t want to drain all the money into our project and take it away from others like the local football club and swimming club,” he said.
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