The 2023 Moranbah Miners’ Memorial took place on November 10 at the Moranbah Town Square. The ceremony was a heartfelt tribute to all the miners who have lost their lives in the region.
The memorial stands as a powerful symbol of the community’s unity and resilience, while also highlighting the risky nature of mining. It brings to light the enduring grief in Moranbah, as deep as the coal seams beneath the town.
The event organisers created a beautiful and respectful space to honour not only those who never returned home from the mines, but also those lost on the roads, in work camps, and from coal-related diseases.
The event also provided sincere support to the families and friends of the lost miners, paying respect to all coal miners, both past and present, and recognising the sacrifices of Mines Rescue members, medical workers, emergency services and first responders.
“The Moranbah Miners’ Memorial is an important reminder of what we do and who we are as a community. It brings us together each year in a collective act of care and support and reminds us of the human cost and sacrifice of a powerful global industry,” said MMC Committee Member and Deputy Mayor Kelly Vea Vea.
Scott Leggett, President of the MMC reinforced this message.
“I’m proud to have been the President of the Moranbah Miners’ Memorial Committee since it began in 2019. We are a passionate group of volunteers that represent miners and their families through the union movement and on local council.
“For me the Moranbah Miners’ Memorial is about not forgetting. It’s about giving the families somewhere to come and be surrounded by people who understand what they’ve gone through and what they’ve lost.”
Concurrently with the memorial, the Coalface Cinema Experience was launched, aimed at bringing the realities of the mining industry closer to the community.
Since the start of the Goonyella Mine in 1971, the Isaac Region has grown to be a major resource area, contributing greatly to Australia’s steel-making coal output and Queensland’s coal royalties. The Coalface Cinema Experience sought to close the gap between the industry and the public, helping people understand the massive scale of mining operations.
The exhibition included a display of miners’ lamps made for the Moranbah School Miners’ Lamp Competition. This is run each year with the exhibition as a way to incorporate local kids in an act of community care and support. The intent of the competition is to ensure conversations are happening at home and in schools about the Moranbah Miners’ Memorial and what it means to be part of a mining community.
The Coalface Cinema Experience, a collaborative project between 4RFM and the Moranbah Miners’ Memorial Committee, was realised thanks to the creative efforts of the team at Tropical Exposure and the generous contributions of various supporters. It highlighted the core values of the mining community – resilience, unity, and the importance of remembering, while also acting as a gesture of community care, offering support to those who have lost loved ones in the industry.
As Moranbah reflects on these events, they remind us of the sacrifices made in the mining industry and the strength of the community that backs it. The 2023 Moranbah Miners’ Memorial and the Coalface Cinema Experience not only honour those lost, but also strengthen the bonds within the community.