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Moura coal shovelling @ The Coalface

The Moura Coal & Country Festival is coming up, and it’s your chance to try your hand at one of the most iconic parts of the weekend – the Queensland Coal Shovelling and Roof Bolting State Titles.

If you’re planning on joining the thousands of people who will be flocking to Moura on August 16-17 to enjoy a weekend of family fun and entertainment, why not also get down and dirty and try your hand at shovelling coal.

Event Organiser Kendall Townsend said the coal shovelling event has been a part of the festival since it began 51 years ago.

“The event is about more than having people come along to have fun in a friendly competition, it’s about keeping a piece of mining history alive.

“Back in the day, the job of a coal miner was hard. They got paid for how many carts they could fill with coal each day. These days it’s a lot easier with most miners driving a truck or a digger, but we shouldn’t forget what it was like before mechanisation.”

The coal shovelling competition is open to anyone with divisions for juniors, women and men. How does it work? Well, teams of two compete using one shovel between them and swapping over every twenty seconds or so. Except for the juniors, competitors use an old banjo shovel which can hold around 20kg of coal, which is the same as what coal miners would have used back in the day.

“For each division we also use different sized skips so we can have kids as young as 7 or 8 competing, shovelling the coal into a 250kg skip. For the men’s, women’s and open events, where they need to shovel a half tonne of coal, we use the same trolleys that were once used in underground mines.”

Moura coal shovelling @ The Coalface

For the serious competitors, winning the singles open event is the goal.

“We use scales so once the competitor has shovelled the 500kg into the trolley a buzzer will sound. If you can do it in under 40 seconds, then you are definitely in with a shot.”

Kendall said that while it is challenging it’s also a lot of fun. You need a reasonable level of fitness, but not as much strength as you would think as technique plays a big part. He would know, having competed for the last 25 years and taking home a couple of wins in the process.

Speaking of winning, Quarry Mining’s Queensland Manager Kevin Royal took home the win in the roof bolting competition last year. Quarry Mining have been sponsors of the event for the last ten years and Kevin also happens to be the event organiser of the roof bolting competition… yes we know what you are thinking but Kevin and his teammate won fair and square.

The roof bolting competition involves teams of two using roof bolters to drill two bolts up into concrete blocks, simulating bolting in an underground mine. Unlike coal shovelling, experience is crucial, so almost all participants have an underground mining background.

“I’ve been bolting for around 30 years so I know very well that these are dangerous pieces of equipment if not operated correctly, but if you’re keen to give it a go and worried you might be a little rusty our team will give you a run down and make sure you are good to go. It really is a lot of fun,” said Kevin.

Moura coal shovelling @ The Coalface

The Moura Coal & Country Festival is on the August 16 -17 and there’s plenty to see and do even if you’re not planning on entering the competitions. But with a total of $12,000 prize money up for grabs and with winners of both the coal shovelling and roof bolting competitions being eligible to progress to the world championships, perhaps it’s time to pick up a shovel!

If you want to get involved call Kendall on 0407 157 954 or Kevin on 0402 467 743 To find out more about the Moura Coal & Country Festival head to: https://www.mouracoalandcountryfestival.com/

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