Miners Memorial calling for names

The Cobar Miners Memorial Committee is calling for names of people who worked at local mines that were victims of dust diseases to be honoured as part of the Miners Memorial.

The committee has been working with Cobar Museum staff to collate not only a list of miners who lost their lives in mine accidents, but also a list of workers who succumbed to various dust diseases such as silicosis, miner’s complaint, phthisis, tuberculosis etc.

To date they have compiled a list of 170 names dating back to 1870 (when mining started in Cobar) of people who were killed in the mines.

Museum curator, Kay Stingemore has been working on the project.

“I have been doing the research through our cemetery folders and related information (death certificates),” Mrs Stingemore explained.

“I have also been using the newspapers, which often reported on the cause of death.

“Otherwise we are using family reports and there will be a provision to add more in the future,” she said.

Miners Memorial Committee chairman Barry Knight said they also have a list of almost 30 names of people who lost their lives to the silent killers, dust diseases.

“While we were able to get the names who those who died or were killed in the mines from the mines department, newspapers and government reports, we’re relying on the public to give us the names of those who died of dust diseases,” Mr Knight said.

Their list dates from 1905 to 1983.

He said a recent social media post calling for names has brought forward a few more in the last couple of weeks to add to the list.

“There will be a walkway up over the top of the memorial to honour those who lost their lives to mining related illnesses,” Mr Knight said.

“We are thinking we might have a separate plaque for each person,” he said.

Mr Knight said they will also make allowances after the memorial has been built to include more names as they come to light.

“We haven’t actually sorted out all the nuts and bolts of it as yet,” Mr Knight said.

“We are still selling pavers for the pathway entrance.

“We’ve sold a lot of pavers to people who used to live in Cobar, including people who have been researching their family trees and have found they had relatives who lived in Cobar.

“You don’t have to have lost somebody in the mines to buy a paver, they are just a token donation to help get the memorial built.”

He said sales of the pavers will however be closing soon, now they have enough funding to make a start on the project.