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.

QLD: Gunmen on the run, shots fired

Police are searching for a white Nissan Patrol seen leaving the area at the time of the incident.

The incident occurred at about 10am on Spencer St

Ipswich CBD: Police tell 1000 to move on

Police staffing levels in the mall is high. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

'Undesirables' targeted in Ipswich CBD police blitz

Offender won't see his newborn until Christmas Day

BEHIND BARS: A man is facing another lengthy stint away from his family after breaching his parole.

Father missed out on family time while in jail, court heard

Latest deals and offers

QLD: Gunmen on the run, shots fired

Police are investigating after shots were fired outside a house at Redbank today.

Ipswich CBD: Police tell 1000 to move on

Police staffing levels in the mall is high. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

'Undesirables' targeted in Ipswich CBD police blitz

Offender won't see his newborn until Christmas Day

BEHIND BARS: A man is facing another lengthy stint away from his family after breaching his parole.

Father missed out on family time while in jail, court heard

Dumb act forces council to chop down 100-year-old trees

DEAD WOOD: Trees of more than 100 years of age have been poisoned at Queens Park. The council is offering a $4000 reward for information leading to the culprits.

Vandals poison century-old trees at Queens Park

Accused murderer asks not to sit in dock with co-accused

Ipswich Police Station and Courthouse. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times

Four accused to appear in court in person

Kidnapper accused denied bail

Redbank Plains man, 30 in custody on kidnapping charge

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

Blac Chyna sued after car injured 2 women

Blac Chyna is being sued after her friend crashed into another car

Bachelor Richie gives bacon-loving Noni the boot

Noni Janur features on this season of The Bachelor.

TOOWOOMBA swimwear designer still single but focusing on her career.

Chris Hemsworth surprises kids at hospital as Thor

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston surprised children at hospital

MOVIE REVIEW: War Dogs tells a fascinating true story

Miles Teller and Jonah Hill in a scene from the movie War Dogs.

DARKLY funny film examines the business side of the war on terror.

Marvel-ous: Thor actors visit sick kids at Lady Cilento

Stars of Thor: Ragnarok dropped in on patients at the hospital

Folk singer looking forward to her Gympie Muster debut

Alternative country folk singer Fanny Lumsden will perform at the Gympie Muster.

FANNY Lumsden to serenade new fans with her country hall-style show.

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Coast building approvals at seven-year high: report

The the 2015/16 Development Indicators Annual Highlights Report documents local development activity that took place during the last financial year.

New report shows increasing development on the Sunshine Coast

Top honours for Mackay and Whitsunday builders

The Kerrisdale Gardens property from Paynter Dixon Queensland which won them Project of the Year.

Mackay and Whitsunday builders awarded top honours last night.

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.