Peter Daniel 1991

11/06/1991 - Smacker's Knob Mine - Fall

At some time between 3rd and 13th June 1991, Peter Carl Daniel, who was working alone in a shallow opencut at the Smacker's Knob opal mine some 33 km south of Kynuna, sustained fatal injuries when buried under a fall of ground. Injuries included a depressed fracture of the skull, broken neck, broken left arm and broken ribs. Medical evidence indicates that death probably occurred on 10th or 11th June.

The section of the mine being worked consisted of a bench cut along the side of a sandstone hill following the outcrop of the opal horizon. At the time of the accident, deceased was either examining or digging out with hand tools a thin band of opal direct at the base of the face which was approximately three metres high.

This accident claimed the life of Peter Carl Daniel


When surface benching into the opal horizon, the sandstone overburden should first be stripped back to a stable angle before extracting the opal dirt. Gouging out the opal band beneath unstable faces is extremely dangerous.

An adequate clear space should be maintained at all times between the toe of an advancing bench face and overburden waste dumps to ensure a clear unobstructed retreat in the event of a rockfall at the face.

Details of this significant incident should be disseminated to mine operators throughout the Winton-Kynuna opal fields.