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Miners’ Memorial $9m funding bid

Saturday, 22nd February, 2020

The Miners’ Memorial site could see an interpretative tour with display machinery developed if a joint council and Crown Lands funding bid is approved by the state government. The Miners’ Memorial site could see an interpretative tour with display machinery developed if a joint council and Crown Lands funding bid is approved by the state government.

By Callum Marshall

The Miners’ Memorial site could feature a mining interpretative tour with display machinery if a joint $9.2m funding bid by Crown Lands and City Council is approved by the state government.

A spokesperson for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment - Crown Lands said the department was looking to maintain and enhance the site. 

“The Line of Lode Miner’s Memorial is an iconic symbol for both Broken Hill and the mining industry,” said the spokesperson.

“The memorial is located within the Line of Lode Crown reserve, managed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment - Crown Lands.

“The Department is maintaining and enhancing the site for tourists, the community and on behalf of the families of the more than 800 people who have lost their lives since mining commenced in Broken Hill.”

The funding application, said the spokesperson, was submitted in June last year under the NSW Government’s Growing Local Economies Program to develop a mining interpretative tour.

“The application, if successful, would involve a mining tour that would display machinery across the site and feature an interactive and educational experience showcasing the history of Broken Hill mining,” said the spokesperson.

Local Robert Johnson, who was involved in local mining for most of his life and is now a mining historian, said the current plan sounded similar to what the Line of Lode committee had planned several decades ago.

“That was the original concept with the cafe - when the Line of Lode were involved before they went bust,” he said.

“There was about $8m or something that came from the government but nothing ever happened, unfortunately.

“The concept was to have the machinery and have a hall at the back of that.

“The first Mining and Minerals Museum was on the Kintore site and that’s where we designed it. That was way back in the 90s.”

Mr Johnson said if the funding bid was approved he’d like to see the full concept put in place - not just the machinery but the history of the local mining fraternity and different types of mining as well.

Similar to how the GeoCentre had compiled all the relevant history but on a slightly bigger scale, he said.

“When we did the Mining and Minerals Museum we were writing storylines in terms of the whole aspect of the actual mining shafts, identifying them, what they were, the open-cuts and the history of how they came about.” he said.

“Timbering, then progression to open stopes, and to the mobile miner that was sitting and rusting away for the latest sort of (technology.)

“Then I guess to the remnant mining that’s going on now. 

“A storyline of significant events that have occurred in Broken Hill.

“The social history is very important as well in terms of the strikes.”

Putting all of that into place would be a great way of recognising local mining within Broken Hill, said Mr Johnson.

“The whole concept would be good because mining’s getting left in Broken Hill,” he said

“It’s more the arts, and that’s what’s drawing people in as the mines now are not sort of connected to the city as much as they were before in my era. 

“There was so many people involved in the mines and in the community who were on the mines.

“Most of them were locals but the mining people now are not that many local people, particularly the engineers and that type of thing who were there before.

“I think it would be a great thing if it’s handled properly.”

The Crown Lands spokesperson said more than $392,000 in work had already been allocated to the Line of Lode site since 2018/19 for other initiatives. 

Those initiatives, they said, included stabilising the cafe building and installing solar panels there, installing CCTV cameras, paving and line marking the carpark and installing directional and interpretative signs at the site.

A design for a water supply system to provide secure potable water supply to the cafe, for future infrastructure (if built), and to support firefighters in the event of fire was also part of the work, said the spokesperson.

“New tourism signage will soon be installed at the site, and tourism direction signs to the reserve are also planned to be installed throughout Broken Hill with a development application submitted to Broken Hill City Council,” they said.

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