Ipswich Miners Memorial

Coal Mining commenced in Ipswich in 1843 on the bank of the Brisbane River at Redbank. This was the first coal mine in Queensland, as we know Qld today, as in 1843 Ipswich was still part of the Colony of New South Wales.

The Ipswich mining district flourished with discovery of coal seams in the North Ipswich, Bundamba, Swanbank and Walloon Rosewood areas.

This was a significant industry that provided work and income for thousands of families and helped develop the community.

Along with this came accidents and in some cases tragedies ………..

But what the Ipswich Rosewood region developed from these events were improvements in work conditions and most importantly safety procedures for Qld Mines. It is from the sacrifices of those men and boys that mining safety has continued through the ages to develop and improve.

The Ipswich Rosewood Coal Mining Memorial is a tribute to this significant Industry and as such can be said to be an Industry Memorial as well as a Miners memorial.

The Memorial is structured around St Barbara, the Patron Saint of the Miners. St Barbara’s Day is celebrated on 4th of December each year and a Memorial Service has been held at the Memorial each year since its initial construction in 2015.

Records have shown that 186 men and Boys have lost their lives in the Ipswich Rosewood Coal Mines since official records commenced, in 1882, to current times.

This number alone makes the Ipswich Rosewood Region significant as it holds the highest record of fatalities than any other coalfield in Queensland.

The worst single year on record being 1972 which includes 17 from the Box Flat Disaster alone.

Therefore it is so important that we remember them and Thank them for the sacrifices they made, the records they created and the development of improving safety procedures.  Our past is so important to remember so that we do not reinvent the same accidents or tragedies. 

Celebrating at the Memorial Service on Friday 4 December 2020 was 90 year old Mr John Lambert. John worked in the Ipswich mining industry al of his working life and was at work on the surface of the mine the night of the Box Flat Disaster.

Absent on this occasion was Mr Lance Waldon who unfortunately passed away on 25 August 2020. Lance’s birthday was also 4 December and would have been 83 on the day. Lance was also on the surface of the mine at the time of the Box Flat explosion. Lance is credited as being the instigator of the concept for the Ipswich Rosewood Coal Miners Memorial. His comments and dedication along with the retired Miners consultative committee assisted the 5 Trust Members that led to the development of the Ipswich Rosewood Coal Miners Memorial ……. For which we are all eternally grateful .

Hugh Taylor 


Ipswich Historical Society