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Key era in WA’s mining history captured in new Collie memorial

Collie’s rich industrial history has been etched in steel for a new community project that has been more than two years in the making.

On May 14 South32 Worsley Alumina and the Collie Retired Mineworkers’ Association officially unveiled 25 life-size figurines of mineworkers and a coal cart created for the Wallsend Mine Memorial.

The display at the revitalised historical site pays tribute to the town’s strong coal-mining heritage.

Support from South32 Worsley Alumina allowed the group to buy sheet metal and in-kind labour to laser cut, paint and install the 25 life-size figures.

The project began more than two years ago when the Collie Retired Mineworkers’ Association began cleaning up the original Wallsend mine and ventilation shaft, near the East End Bridge.

The group installed a memorial plaque in November 2020 to commemorate the historical Wallsend Mine, which operated in the town from November 1898 to December 1910.

Collie Retired Mineworkers’ Association president Ron Guilfoyle said the support from South32 meant the town’s Wallsend era could be preserved.

“We are a small group of retired miners and a not-for-profit club,” Mr Guilfoyle said.

“The Collie Retired Mineworkers’ Association’s Wallsend Mine Project was developed to preserve the history of Collie Coal Mining for our future generations, so they can appreciate what their ancestors’ working conditions were like.”

Next up, the group will begin refurbishing and painting the Dragline – an old walking machine built in 1949 – thought to be the only one of its kind in Australia.

Once restored, the Dragline will be relocated into the Collie town centre to add to the town’s historical displays of mining history.

South32 Worsley Alumina operations vice president Erwin Schaufler said he was proud the company had been able to help deliver the valuable heritage project.

“They’ve done an exceptional job in helping bring a historic site back to life with the cut-out miners and supplying visual imagery at one of the original coal mines in Collie,” Mr Schaufler said.

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