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27 April 2008

Collingwood Park mine collapse sparks old memories

Yesterday's collapse of a disused coal mine below a residential area in Duncan Street at Collingwood Park would not surprise old timers in the area.

Last week was the 80th anniversary of a major mine explosion on St Georges Day 23 April 1928 when an early morning mine explosion saw three miners tragically killed beneath what is now Redbank Plaza .

Redbank Plaza is one kilometre northeast of yesterday's subsidence in Duncan Street.


Town Planning map of Collingwood Park
showing a large area of the suburb affected
by former underground coal mining.

MAP LEGEND:

Grey area is the 'mining influence constrained area' which
includes the 'angle of draw' from the actual underground workings.

Purple line denotes the 'area affected by underground workings'
(ie the boundary of the actual workings) .

Green line denotes the 'surface disturbance' which includes open
cut workings and spoil heaps and other surface mining activities.



When the Redbank Plaza opened in September 1985, the $20 million project needed $6 million of foundations to fill the former coal mining void beneath the building.

Shortly after the opening of Redbank Plaza, a major mine collapse in Lawrie Drive Collingwood Park, 800 metres from yesterday's mine cave-in, saw houses evacuated and several of them condemned, with property owners forced out of their homes.

The nearby Westfalen Coal Mine, at the western end of Duncan Street, ceased operations in 1987. The remnants of its operations - and a myriad of earlier mine shafts and tunnels - have created a honeycomb of abandoned tunnels beneath Collingwood Park and Redbank.

The RSPCA, which is planning to relocate from Fairfield to Redbank, has encountered significant old mine workings beneath its preferred new site on the former Redbank Rifle Range.

The Queensland Government's rapid response to the latest mine collapse is commendable.

The Redbank/Collingwood Park area was the site of Queensland's first coal mine in 1843 with all coal mining to cease permanently in Ipswich in 2009.

It is extremely rare for these old mine workings to cause surface subsidence but residents should be aware of the possibility.



Redbank Plaza, Collingwood Drive Redbank -
scene of an horrific coal mine explosion on
St George's Day 23 April 1928
when three miners were killed.


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