Remembering our Fallen Miners

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On September 10, the MEU Northern Mining & NSW Energy District will be holding its 26th Annual Memorial Day Service to honour our fallen miners.

Held on the second Sunday every September at the Jim Comerford Memorial Wall, the memorial is an opportunity for the community to come together to pay their respects to all mineworkers who have died as a result of coal mining accidents.

The Jim Comerford Memorial Wall was opened in 1996 by the then Prime Minister Paul Keating and was named after one of the Union’s most respected leaders Jim Comerford. It bears the name of 1,793 men, women and boys who lost their lives on the job in the Northern Districts coalfields since 1801.

The names tell a story about the history of coal mining in our District and the human toll it has taken. The youngest name on the wall is nine-year-old William France, killed at Pacific Colliery, and the eldest is 80-year-old William Howes, killed at Abermain Colliery.

The significance of the day is twofold, not only is it a way to remember and pay tribute to loved ones, but it also emphasises the importance of constant vigilance in making safety the number one priority in our industry. For all those named, there are many more who have suffered life-changing injuries. It is an unfortunate reality that most of the safety measures in place in today’s coal mines were introduced in the wake of disasters and tragedies.

Members of Parliament and Local Government, mineworkers, union delegates and industry representatives will join family members of those who have lost their lives and lay hundreds of floral tributes along the wall in remembrance.

All members of the community are welcome to attend Memorial Day and experience the moving ceremony where wreaths are laid, bagpipes play, and the miners’ lamp is lit to keep the flame of memory alive.

The Memorial Wall offers a place of solace and remembrance, not just on Memorial Day but all year round. At any time of year, it is open to family and community members as a place of contemplation, comfort and commitment to ensuring safety in our industry is continuously improved.

26th Annual Memorial Day Service
Sunday 10th September at 10.30am
Jim Comerford Memorial Wall
Federation House, 67A Aberdare Road, Cessnock
For more information call 1300 712 791

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