Moura recalls own tragedies

THE thoughts of many in the Central Queensland town of Moura are with the families of the 29 miners trapped underground in a New Zealand coal mine, a community representative said yesterday.

Twenty-four New Zealanders, two Australians, two Britons and one South African have been out of contact with mine management since an explosion late on Friday at the Pike River mine on New Zealand's west coast.

Yesterday, Banana Shire Council deputy mayor and Moura resident Maureen Clancy said people in the town were keeping a close watch on the New Zealand situation, praying for those trapped.

“It's certainly a very hot topic of conversation in the town,” Cr Clancy said.

Moura has its own tragic past, with three mining disasters in the district in the past 35 years, costing 36 lives.

The first occurred at Kianga Mine on September 20, 1975, when 13 miners died from an explosion which was found to have been initiated by spontaneous ombustion.

The mine was sealed and the bodies of the men were never recovered.

The second occurred on July 16, 1986 at Moura No 4 Mine when 12 miners died from an explosion thought to have been initiated by one of two possible sources, namely frictional ignition or a flame safety lamp.

The bodies of the miners, in this case, were recovered.

The third of the disasters occurred on August 7, 1994 at Moura No 2 Mine.

On this occasion 11 miners died as a result of an explosion.

Cr Clancy said no one who had been in the town during these disasters would ever forget.

She said a number of memorials had been erected throughout the town.

Tragic history

Moura's mining disasters:

Thirteen men were killed at Kianga on September 20, 1975. The Kianga Memorial Centre on McArthur Street was built in memory of those lost in the explosion.

The bronze miner statue in Bicentenary Park on the Dawson Highway is a memorial to the 12 men who died on July 16, 1986 in No. 4 underground mine;

On August 7, 1994, 11 men were lost in an explosion at the No. 2 pit. A 50metre Moura Miners Memorial Pool was built to remember these men.

All underground mining ceased at Moura after the disasters, the last of which prompted a major re-write of Queensland mining safety legislation.

Source: The History of Moura

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