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Miners Memorial Service remembers the fallen

It’s been 120 years since two young men, Leopold Campbell and Thomas Jordan, tragically lost their lives on the Line of Lode in the early hours of Wednesday October 8, 1902.

Aged just 21 and 19 years old, they remain buried where they perished in a rock fall all those years ago and are just two of the 800 miners who have died at work since mining began at the Hill.

Although the annual Miner’s Memorial Service service was unable to be held at its traditional home at the Line of Lode, due to ongoing works there, there were still several hundred people at the Trades Hall where it was held on Saturday Morning.

PICTURES: NOEL FISHER

Broken Hill has lost sons, fathers, brothers and grandfathers during its long history of mining.

This doesn’t include all those that have perished from work-related diseases, such as dust on the lungs, brought on by the conditions the men were subject to as they toiled daily to provide for their families.

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With the Barrier Industrial Union (BIU) band playing to welcome guests to the occasion Christine Adams, Master of Ceremonies and one of the event organisers, said it was appropriate that the CFMEU (Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union) and BHCC (Broken Hill City Council) have agreed that on October 8 each year they would assemble and honour all those that had died in our local mines.

Broken Hill Mayor, Tom Kennedy, said that although the day marked the day that Leopold Campbell and Thomas Jordan were killed on the Line of Lode, it ass ultimately a day to remember all those who ‘sacrificed’ their lives on the city’s many mines.

“And I use the word ‘sacrifice’ for a reason,” said the Mayor.

“People working on the mines gave up an extraordinary amount to provide us with the quality of life we all enjoy today here in the city.

“We should also remember those who were injured and incapacitated on the mine, died from ill health due to the conditions, and the families who had to struggle through the death and injury of loved ones.

“Although this is a day of mourning, it’s important we also take time to celebrate the efforts of our past miners, and all they have contributed to Broken Hill,” Mayor Kennedy said.

Guest Speaker, Greg Byers, returned to the town of his birth to give a fitting tribute to all those, including members of his family, that have worked to build the town and community of Broken Hill.

Mr Byers is now the Corporate Services Manager at Walker Corporation Pty Ltd in Sydney.

“My father worked underground in the South mine for 33 years before commencing work in this building [Trades Hall].

“His father, John Byers, also worked the South Broken Hill mine where he was awarded the Royal Humane Society medal for bravery in 1909 for saving people underground following a rock fall.

“We gather under the black flag, which was traditionally flown above the Trades Hall, in conjunction with a siren when a fatality occurred in the mines.

“In the days before instantaneous communication we can only imagine the minutes and perhaps hours of fearful anxiety experienced by the inhabitants until the dreadful details were known.

“I believe there are three words that sum up the history and spirit of the town, Courage, Perseverance and Endurance,” said Mr Byers.

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