July 16. Moura No.4 mine explosion, 12 lives lost.
Qld Mines Rescue’s largest operation with 23 teams going active during the rescue attempt and recovery.
Photo above is a safety lamp starting a methane explosion in an experiment conducted by SIMTARS after the Moura No.4 explosion.
Insert: the actual lamp believed to have started the No.4 explosion (found under shuttle-car by Chris Glazbrook and his team from Blackwater Mines Rescue Station during the investigation).
Following is a brief overview of the rescue teams activities, to show the magnitude of this kind of operation and the undaunted efforts of these mines rescue individuals. Their efforts will never be forgotten and each and every one of them shall be shown the respect they deserve as they have certainly earned it (full details are available in the report kept in the QMRS head-office).
Letter presented to the rescue service after the operation.
In late 1988 a recommendation to the minister “That the state should become one locality for the purpose of mines rescue” was accepted.
January 1 this became a reality and all staff became employees of the state committee under the terms of their past employers.
1989 E.K Healy cup winning team from Collinsville
1990 E.K Healy cup with long standing rescue member Gary Dixon who is also a sponsor of many rescue competitions.
July 27 a new head-office building was opened in Dysart by Minister Mcgrady.
August 7, Moura No.2 mine explosion, 11 lives lost.
Although not deployed, the Mines Rescue Brigade were involved in various aspects of the incident after the explosion. The inquiry identified a number of issues related to mines rescue that it wished to mention as a means for leading to improvement of effectiveness of the vital service and these were:
Moura No.2 sealing portal by dozer
Moura No.2 sealing
Moura No.2 fan after explosion
Moura No.2 1994
It is further recommended that funds to be made available through the Queensland Government in order to obtain such a system, such that equipment for the Inertisation of a coal mine or parts of a mine, with appropriately trained people and operating systems, be readily available for use in Queensland coal mines. This equipment should be maintained and operated by the Queensland Mines Rescue Service in a central location such that it can service all mines in Queensland on a fee-for-service basis."
Recommendations of the Queensland Mines Rescue Brigade Committee "Vision 2000", (developed to investigate the expansion of the Mines Rescue Service in Queensland), saw the development of the Queensland Mines Rescue Brigade (QMRB) into the Queensland Mines Rescue Service (QMRS) as a separate body with a separate and independent position as the Queensland Mines Rescue Service.
The minister for mines and energy, Tom Gilmore and the previous minister Tony Mcgrady, both support this proposal. This now requires parliamentary process, a constitution, and legal development of the business unit with its own charter. Funding of core business activities will remain, with fee-for-service for non-core activities.
Booval station members 1997
Saw the introduction of the Matt Best trophy for the best captain at the E.K Healy cup competition. The trophy is in honour of Matt Best a strong supporter and member of the Rescue Service.
Winners of the trophy up to 2008
Below is a poem written in memory of Matt by Chris Rawlings
The shift has long since finished and another day is gone
It’s the time I pause to contemplate all the tasks left undone
And all the people we have met, who’ve helped us on our way,
Who, maybe in their efforts, has saved us for this day.
I remember those who’ve seen the smoke arising from the mine
The pools of sadness in the eyes of those who wait and pine
For loved ones, whom they can’t embrace and share a cheer
But all they have are memories, deep feelings and a tear.
Yes, mining is a savage beast, when challenged in daring ways,
It can bite when you least expect it and change your future days
If you treat it with disdain, it can cause you great despair
And rip your very being and leave your soul threadbare.
There are, however, those who learn from the lessons of the earth
Who were borne to help their fellow man and did so from their birth
Who lived to educate their mates, often not in traditional ways
To work within the rules of the game that nature often plays.
There is one in particular whose achievements come to mind,
A man of great commitment, more courage would be hard to find.
He chose as his life’s objective to improve the miner’s ways
To make the workplace safer for all their working days.
For safe mining was his life and no offence he would endure
From those who would cut corners or not listen to the cure.
The bosses and the workers, they were treated all the same
For danger has no friends when you want to play its game.
In the quiet times to come, his work will be remembered
But who can fill the shoes of one whose life was so intended
To keep us on the straight and narrow, to ensure we did it right
To be certain that the laws of nature are known and held in tight.
For he’s the one who is in my mind, as I sip that final beer
I wonder who will look after us and take away our fear
And who will keep us from the edge, who will take on the quest
And follow in the footsteps, of the one and only Matt Best.
Following a recommendation from the Moura No. 2 inquiry task group 5, the GAG 3-A jet Inertisation system was purchased by the Queensland Government and presented to the Mines Rescue Service to operate, maintain and train personnel for an emergency response to Queensland mines.
April 7 to 18. The unit was tested at Collinsville and a comprehensive report was tabled by SIMTARS.
Gag set up and running underground at Collinsville
Members of assessment team including SIMTARS, Mr. Stewart Bell second from the left
The test fire housing and monitoring equipment set up underground at Collinsville
First modular system was assembled on site. Photo: running at Moranbah North in 2002
First operation was Blair-Athol 2000
Second was at Love Ridge U.S.A, April 2003
Fire Underground. Southland N.S.W Dec 2003
The Gag has now developed into a mobile system with its own prime-mover and fuel supply
The first test of the new configuration was at Newlands South in 2005. Inertisation of total mine prior to seal up
Training at Moranbah North 2008
Mr. Wayne W Hartley was appointed QMRS State Manager. Wayne was recruited from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service where he held the position of CEO, Director and Chief Commissioner for five years. This was a strategic move by the Board to inject Wayne’s political and managerial skills to the service and make major changes to the way the service was run. Wayne completed his apprenticeship at the Mount Morgan mine and worked with BHP at Peak Downs before joining the fire service.
Major reforms came by way of changes to staff position descriptions and appointing operational managers. Flattening the organisational structure, included applying functional management, reviewing the financial system and administrative practices. The Board supported the reforms including the funding reforms to meet service requirements moving forward. These reforms also resulted in:
This was the biggest reform to operations since the introduction of the BG174 in 1963. Wayne is currently the longest serving state manager.
The Drager BG4 was adopted as the new breathing apparatus of choice for the service after an exhaustive testing process in conjunction with N.S.W Mines Rescue Service. The suit gives the wearer a positive pressure in the mask and cooler air to breath; these are some of the safety features which lead to its selection.
For the suit to be implemented a spare parts system needed to be in place. Some $2.5 million had to be raised and all 250 rescue personnel needed to be trained.
In July the process began at Blackwater and Dysart stations and by September all personnel were trained with the suits put into service in October 2004.
May 2004, North Goonyella Queensland’s first team to train in BG4 prior to leaving for international competition
Queensland’s first block release with BG4.
With the changing districts of rescue stations the need to consolidate the competitions became apparent when the E.K. Healy cup competition struggled to get enough competing teams. So the “Queensland Mines Rescue Memorial Cup” competition was introduced. This allowed all teams (except the top four from the E.K Healey the year before) to contest for a top four finish that qualifies them for the E.K. Healey of that year. This meant the E.K. always has eight teams and is truly a contest to find the four best teams in Queensland to represent the state at the national competition. The new cup stands as a memorial to all those rescue members and miners who have lost their lives and incorporates all memorial trophies such as the Everett-Partridge, Neil Marshall 87 - 04, Whitfield-Wood 82 - 91.
Winners of the Memorial cup to 2008 were:
Other trophies competed for over the years were, The Pratap cup, Cruice shield, Mills cup, Howard Jones cup, and no doubt there’s some others we haven’t found yet.
Southern Colliery with the George Carbine shield
Tony Whitfield, of the Whitfield-Wood trophy, on left, standing on the outburst at Leichhardt colliery in 1978. A young Des Smith on far right. Tony was killed in a roof fall at Laleham colliery in March 1982 along with J. Wood and R. Burrows
September. The new Dysart Training Centre was completed and commissioned. It has two training rooms with state-of-the-art audio and visual aids, a first-aid room, library and amenities.
"The level 1 exercises have proven a useful tool for testing a mine's and Mines Rescue emergency response by physically calling out teams and giving them a task to perform in a simulated emergency underground." A level 1 exercise is conducted annually and rotated amongst with mines.
Team briefing before heading underground at a level 1 exercise
And finally our very own pin up boy Lindsay Creighton makes “Ralph Magazine”.