Location: West Coast, New Zealand
Surnames/tags: Mining_Disasters New Zealand Disasters
History and Circumstances
- Date: 3 Dec 1926
- Location: Greymouth, West Coast
- Victims: 9 deaths
- Cause: Explosion/fire
At 3.10am on Friday 03 December 1926, a disastrous explosion occurred at the coal mine at Dobson, a small town on the banks of the Grey River in the South Island of New Zealand.
From newspaper reports - The explosion developed terrible force, wrecked the telegraph and telephone wires in the vicinity, and threw debris a distance of a quarter of a mile. Some truck wheels were hurled clean out of the mouth of the mine.
Most of the men were comparatively new arrivals in the district. Apparently there were five men engaged at the face when the explosion occurred, while three were trucking. The Dobson mine is known to be rather gaseous.
Owing to the breakage of the wires the first news of the disaster had to be brought to Greymouth by car. As soon as it was known word was immediately sent to the Blackball Mine of the State colliery. Rescue apparatus was brought from Runanga, and a number of men were summoned from Blackball to assist in the work of rescue.
The fan of the mine was re-started at 4.30 a.m., and soon after a number of men descended the shaft in order to attempt a rescue. They succeeded in rescuing Ashton and Lindsay, who were at once sent to the Greymouth Hospital, and recovered the bodies of Richards and Hunter.
EXPLOSION HEARD SIX MILES AWAY.
Later information shows that two explosions occurred, the first being the greater and being heard at Runanga, six miles away. Much surface damage was done. Heavy colliery wheels were blown 400 yards away, and a 20-ton concrete block at the mine entrance was shifted a few yards, while houses at Dobson had their roofs pierced and their windows broken by falling debris. The cause of the explosion is unknown, and it is believed never will be ascertained.
'They are gone but not forgotten and should be found, honored and remembered.'
|Ashton, Eric||23||1903||Miner||Unmarried. Formerly of Ashburton|
|Black, Thomas||43||1883||Miner||A recent arrival from Scotland. Married - leaves a wife and three children. His wife is still an inmate of the nursing home in Greymouth, twins, having been born a few days ago. Mrs Black was Miss Ford|
|Brammer, Ernest||42||1884||Miner||Native of Lancashire, England. Married - no family|
|Hunter, Robert||25||1901||Winchman||Unmarried. Formerly of Huntly|
|Lindsay, John||45||1881||Miner||Unmarried. Born Scotland. Died of injuries at the Grey Hospital|
|Marshall, James Mccullock||45||1881||Miner||Born Scotland. Married with two children. Arrived New Zealand in 1926.|
|Noakes, Herbert Alfred||47||1879||Miner||Married - no family. He was a native of Australia. Formerly of Reefton|
|Pardington, Edward||39||1887||Miner||Unmarried. Native of Lancashire, England. Came to the West Coast from Huntly|
|Richards, James||47||1879||Deputy||Of Taylorville. Unmarried. Father and uncle lost their lives in the Brunner mine disaster and two brothers were killed in the war|
Three miners were above ground at the time as they had come up for "crib" (supper). It was the first time they had come out for fully a fortnight. They were W CHETWYN, Tom NIMMO and Jack SMEATON. Mr A ROBERTSON, the engine-driver, was the only other man on duty at the surface at the time.
Rescue Effort & Rescuers
The rescuers were headed by Mr J HUGHES, mine manager, and included Messrs Jack SMEATON, B WATKINS, T ALLEN, A HILL, A EDWARDS, J BELL, BULLOCK, BELL, HANLON, COSGROVE, TAIT, GLEN, DANDO, CREAGH, and F WILLIAMS (Mayor of Brunner).
Museums & Memorials
|Coal Miners Memorial, Greymouth, Photo by Tim Tyson|
Greymouth memorial "In memory of those lost in coal mining incidents within the West Coast Inspection District" - unveiled by His Worship the Mayor Tony Kokshoorn on 19 January 2013 on the anniversary of the 1967 Strongman Mine disaster.
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