Project will bring mining stories from our past to life

Project stakeholders: Aurelia Metals’ Environment & Social Responsibility staff Sara Waak and Laura Barnes, The Great Cobar Museum’s curator Kay Stingemore, musician and sound recording technician Shane Josephson and Peel Mining Site Manager Tony Cleeton at the Cobar Miners Memorial on Friday.

A $6,000 project to bring mining stories from our past to life has received the financial support of Peel Mining, Aurelia Metals and Cobar Shire Council.

A sound system was recently installed at the Cobar Miners Memorial to play recorded information, stories and songs about our mining history.

Chair of the Cobar Miners Memorial build committee Barry Knight said it was great to have the support of Cobar Shire and the mines to further improve the facility.

“We have so much information about our mining history, and we can’t put it all on the walls,” Barry said.

“We thought it would be good to put in a sound system to play audio stories and also some songs that have been written by Shane Josephson and the Cobar High School choir specifically for the memorial.

“They’ll play on a continuous loop when the facility is open during the day,” Barry explained.

In addition to writing and recording songs, Barry said Shane has also provided technical advice and was on hand when Scott Wilkinson from Alderwood in Cobden, Victoria, recently installed the Australian made speakers.

“They’re weatherproof and have been installed in a cage where they’ll be protected,” Barry said.

“Shane’s also doing the MP3 story recordings with Kay Stingemore from the museum.”

Barry believes the installation of the sound system will enhance the memorial’s ability to attract visitors.

“It may hold them in town a bit longer and it may also encourage them to visit the museum to find out more information,” he said.

“I believe it’s not only going to benefit visitors, but also for education purposes and it  may also be of some consolation to people who have lost someone in the mines.”

Museum curator Kay Stingemore said she was pleased to have the opportunity to share more stories about our miners, their families and the community.

“I feel that it adds layer and depth to the experience of the Miners Memorial as well as bringing forward more of the actual stories and being an opportunity to tell them.

“And we can do it in a way that adds to what we’ve already got, so people get to hear more of the stories and more detail of the stories and it also means it adds to our accessibility here.

“We might have people who find it hard to look at photographs and read stories on a wall but then they get something out of listening to a story which is a really different experience.

“For every single one of those 171 names on that board, there’s probably at least two stories for each of them and a lot of those names are interconnected so I hope that I’m going to be able to, by telling stories, point out some of those interconnections and also point out that from the very, very first death, (which happened in 1884) until now, people have not forgotten.

“It still matters to people. It still resonates today with the people and that’s why its important and that’s why it matters,” she said.

Peak Gold Mine’s Environment & Social Responsibility Officer, Laura Barnes praised the work initiated by Barry and said Aurelia Metals was proud to be part of the project.

“Community projects, like this, add value to Cobar and its history,” Laura said.

Shane praised the respect and empathy Barry has shown for our lost miners, their families, friends and co-workers.

“Barry has created a place for all to visit to remember loved ones and remind us of the need to continue to work toward safety and look out for one another,” Shane said.