News

Box Flat mine memories burn deep still

Roz Tait, with great-granddaughter Rogue Hatfield, lays flowers in memory of her father Maurice Tait.
Roz Tait, with great-granddaughter Rogue Hatfield, lays flowers in memory of her father Maurice Tait.

FOR some, that awful low boom that blasted half of Ipswich out of bed early in the morning on July 31, 1972, is still as vivid today as it was 42 years ago.

The city's worst mining disaster came at an enormous cost, with 17 men killed and the surviving workers and mines rescue men left to deal with the trauma of losing good mates.

Families were torn apart forever.

The bodies of dads, brothers, sons or uncles had to be buried with the exploded mine, never to be seen again.

It will remain a tragedy that Ipswich will not forget - and for good reason.

The Box Flat memorial on Swanbank Rd has remained the main gathering place for the grieving families of the men lost on that fateful day.

A group of about 20 people gathered for a service commemorating the 42nd anniversary of the disaster last Thursday.

Among the crowd was Lance Waldon, 76, one of the men who could be considered very lucky to have survived the blast.

In the moments leading up to the explosion, Mr Waldon was at the mouth of the tunnel, filling sandbags with two other men in an attempt to seal off oxygen to a fire that had been burning since the day before.

"I could hear it coming - there was this noise," Mr Waldon said.

"All I saw was a big yellow tunnel full of flames - I can still see it now.

"Before we could run we were picking ourselves up off the ground. I remember reaching for my helmet."

Although the power of the explosion sent his body careening many metres through the air, Mr Waldon was not seriously hurt, and was actually asked to go back to the mine site later the same day - a request he was less than happy to receive. The anniversary was an emotional time for Margaret Cobbin, the niece of Box Flat casualty Ken Cobbin.

Ms Cobbin said the loss of her uncle made her family worry a lot about her dad, Ray, who also worked in the mines.

"Dad used to say it was scary to work in the mines after Box Flat," she said.

"I was always worried for him."

A group of former miners is leading the campaign to build a memorial to all the 186 people killed in Ipswich mining tragedies since 1882.

The memorial will be built in Limestone Park.

It is waiting on further funding arrangements and some further negotiations with the building contractor.

Topics:  memorial service


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Marine flares responsible for hospital evacuation

Boonah hospital

Bomb squad confirms contents of suspicious package at hospital

Zookeeper who punched kangaroo gets death threats

The man and the kangaroo stood toe-to-toe before he threw a right-hand punch. Image: Steven Stubenrauch/Facebook.

Police called to property after threats made by animal activists

Teachers warned off of wearing pro-refugee t-shirts

Education Minister has stern warning for teachers getting political

Local Partners

Brad Pitt bids to keep custody battle private

Brad Pitt will go to court to keep his custody battle private

Sia has split from her husband

Sia has split from her husband Erik Anders Lang.

Amy Schumer thanks Barbie trolls for hateful comments

Amy Schumer is in the lead role for the new Barbie movie

Shannen Doherty's husband is suing for destroyed sex life

Shannen Doherty's husband is suing her former manager

Azealia Banks' battery case against Russell Crowe dropped

Russell Crowe will not be charged with battery

Mel Gibson named Best Director at AACTA Awards

Mel Gibson poses in the media room after winning the AACTA Award for Best Direction for Hacksaw Ridge.

HIS wartime drama Hacksaw Ridge sweeps 6th annual awards in Sydney.

Ipswich City Properties asset portfolio retains its value

Ipswich City Council Administration Building, South Street, Ipswich. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times

New website launched by Ipswich City Council

INSIDE STORY: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Couple's desperate $550K price drop to sell Gladstone home

Brian Headley and Kirstene Staib are selling their Kin Kora mansion for $750,000.

TELL tale sign of Gladstone's property market.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!