Paying respect on Memorial Day

Published: 20 Sep 2017

Our Queensland and Northern Districts have recently held Memorial Days to pay respect to the workers who have lost their lives while working for coal.

One life lost at work is one too many, but in this industry the grim toll is high, numbering thousands.

Australia’s largest industrial disasters have been in coal mining – the largest and most well known being Bulli in 1887 (81) Mt Kembla in 1902 (96), Mt Mulligan in 1921 (75). Over one hundred years later the impact of these tragedies is still felt and serve as a sorrowful reminder of the dangers of coal mining. We may have counted fewer mass fatalities in the later part of the twentieth century and the early twenty first century, but the impact is no less.

Every death at work represents an irreplaceable loss for family, friends and community.

General Secretary Andrew Vickers addressed the Northern District Memorial Day and remarked that those who lost their lives toiling to extract coal from the earth were doing nothing more than trying to make a decent living for themselves, their families and their communities. None of them asked to or wanted to die in that pursuit.

Furthermore, Andrew Vickers said,

“We must all strive to ensure that not one of them died in vain. We must continue to be vigilant in our approach to work in the mines. We must continue to argue, lobby and fight to improve the laws and rules that govern work in our mines.”

“We must also seek to ensure that when a worker is killed in a coal mine, or in any other workplace for that matter, if an employer has not provided a safe place of work…then serious penalties should and must be applied.”

Mourn the dead, and fight like hell for the living.


Laying wreaths at the Northern District Memorial Wall


Attending the Queensland Memorial Day