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Remembering the Collinsville Mine disaster

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ON OCTOBER 13, 1954, a gas outburst hit the number one tunnel at Collinsville State Mine.

Seven men were killed.

When news of the disaster hit, all businesses and schools were closed and more than 2,000 people attended the funeral.

Today, the Miners Memorial Day committee honours those seven men with an annual commemorative event, the Collinsville Miners Memorial Day.

The annual Collinsville Miners Memorial Day was held on Thursday, October 13, 2022, as a means of honouring the 26 miners who have lost their life working at the Collinsville mine.

The Memorial Day was initiated in 1997 by the Collinsville Lodge of Retired Miners.

It is held annually on the anniversary day of the State Mine Disaster, on October 13, 1954, when seven underground miners died in a spontaneous outburst of carbon dioxide, which was estimated to release 950,000 cubic meters of deadly gas.

The seven men were: Alex Parkinson, Arthur Shrubsole, Frederick Ernest Walker, Henry Peterson, Herbert Ruff, James Reid Logan and Peter Miller.

The ceremony was held at the Miners Statue, which is situated within a Memorial Rose Garden adjacent to the United Mine Workers Club.

“The day went really well, we had a good crowd, some who travelled from really far away to show tribute,” president of the Miners’ Memorial Day committee Brett Murphy said.

“It was sad to start with but a happy end when everyone got together.”

Mr Murphy said the day served as a way for families from near and far to reconnect.

“People from Mount Mulligan came down to show their respects for every miner that’s passed away from all different areas,” Mr Murphy said.

“Collinsville has split and gone in so many different directions over the years so those people who have set up their lives in other towns have come back to Collinsville for this to celebrate the memorial.”

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