Thursday, 5 June 2014

Mining Brats unite...

Mining brats unite
I have been watching the fledgling engineers as they are rushing their final projects this week for handing in and I am wondering how many will be working soon.
There are many and varied mines in Australia and overseas and the minerals and how they are mined are also varied. Safety is the first priority and I always send them a wish to a long and healthy life working in mining and on mine sites.
Mining brats like myself have usually had opportunities to ‘go down the mine’ in different situations.
Visiting with dignitaries – I have a friend who went down a gold mine on the Golden Mile in Kalgoorlie with Red and Alan Bond. He was the office person escort in the group and was excited to show them around (even though he didn’t work there). Mr Bond went on to great highs and lows in the financial area, but we still remember him as the man responsible for joining the mines together on the Golden Mile into one company. We’ve had Dukes, and Princes and Queens visit, though I’m not sure ‘her maj’ went down the mine while she was here.
Visiting with Dad or these days either Parent. Many of us managed to ‘go underground’ and visit in this way. The see where they work and what they did. “Bring your child to work day”, sort of..
You would get dressed in the “two big’ overalls and the hardhat with lamp and huge boots.
Tours – It has been a practice recently, if safe, to take tourists to the bottom of the pit or other at working mines, especially in our area. We all heard an hilarious tale of an older couple who had driven onto a lease, via a haul road and down a pit, with their caravan and could not get out as the walls were too steep to tow the van. Needless to say the Security on that day were asked questions.
I have been underground in a Gold mine on the Golden Mile, a nickel mine east of there and a copper /tin mine in Tasmania’s west. Both the nickel and the gold mine were shafts and had what amounts to a cage lift for access, always scary. The mine in Tasmania was a ‘decline’ and you could drive down the mine in vehicles. The areas underground are tight airless spaces with vehicles, miners and big bits of machinery, seemingly sucking more of the available air from the surrounds.
There are many funny and slightly scary tales told by the miners, like the one who could pull enough ore in the morning to sleep between shift boss visits in the afternoon, and still be a ‘gun miner’. The images of smaller utes crushed by the large trucks, because they parked in the wrong place and the cab on the truck was too high to see the ute. Or the one where they throw the teabags up into the rockbolted mesh in the roof of the ‘crib room’ underground. This was a competition to see if it stuck there. I have an image in this post of the ‘t bags’.
I admire anyone who can do this as work for any period of time. Miners, Engineers, Trades and all the other related jobs that make up this workforce, I salute you and your families and ‘brats’.
@kalgrl (Mining brat and Librarian)


  1. I thought they were autumn leaves when I first saw them - and I guess they are! There is a fancy Canberra hotel that has a similar experiment, but it involves leaving cheeseburgers on the rafters. What is the attraction of these odd food competitions?