Gretley Colliery 1996

14/11/1996 - Gretley Colliery - Inrush

On 14 November 1996 employees of The Newcastle Wallsend Coal Company Pty Limited, awere engaged in work on the night shift at the company's mine, the Gretley Colliery. Four men of a team of eight were in the process of developing a roadway (known as C heading) in an area of the mine called 50/51 panel, operating a continuous mining machine. The remaining four members of the team were in a crib room a little distance away.

Suddenly, with tremendous force, water rushed into the heading from a hole in the face made by the continuous miner. That machine, weighing between 35 and 50 tonnes, was swept some 17.5 metres back down the heading where it jammed against the sides. The four men were engulfed by the water, swept away and drowned. The remaining team members survived the disaster by reason of being in the crib room, which itself was flooded.

The water came from the long-abandoned old workings of the Young Wallsend Colliery. The workings of the old mine were full of water. Moreover, the water extended to the surface by means of the mine shafts, thereby providing what is known as a head of water. This head of water had the effect of significantly increasing the water pressure.

This accident claimed the lives of 4 people, these were: Damon Murray, Edward Samuel Batterham, John Michael Hunter, Mark Kenneth Kaiser


  • Research on Plans
  • Storage of Records
  • Prevention of Inrush
  • Mining approvals process
  • Colliery Abandonment Plan
  • Investigations
  • Prosecutions
  • Consideration of Prosecution