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Mystery shaft

Saturday, 25th July, 2015

A photo of the North No.1 headframe in the centre of the photo, and looking north No.2 steel headframe behind the chimney stack. This was supposed to be taken in 1940 but it appears to be older than that, says Ross Howse. A photo of the North No.1 headframe in the centre of the photo, and looking north No.2 steel headframe behind the chimney stack. This was supposed to be taken in 1940 but it appears to be older than that, says Ross Howse.

A headframe in an old mine photo supplied to the BDT earlier this week could be Marsh shaft, according to a former mine employee.

Most people who’ve contacted the BDT agree that the 1930s photo was of mine managers and staff in front of the former North Mine No.1 Office Block, but opinion has been divided about the identity of the shaft in the background.

Former North Mine worker Ross Howse wrote to the BDT on Thursday night and supplied some more photographs, after Robin Edgecumbe earlier in the week suggested the shaft was North’s No.1.

“Mr Edgecumbe’s letter in the paper regarding the mystery photo is spot on and appears to be No.1 office block North mine,” Mr Howse told the BDT.

“We collected our pays from those offices up until mid 1960s but the picture showing the headframe at the far end is not No. 1 shaft at the North Mine,” he said.

Mr Howse supplied two photos, one of the car park, changehouse and No.1 headframe in the 1950s, and the other of No.1 headframe in 1940 or earlier.

“I think the shaft in the mystery photo is Marsh shaft which is in the foreground ... looking from the office you would be looking south along the Menindee Road side of the offices as Marsh shaft was between Junction and No.1.

“Maybe there are some real old-timers out there who can put pen to paper to give us another aspect.”

In yesterday’s BDT, former chairman of the Broken Hill Historical society Brian Anderson said he did not believe the headframe in the mystery photo was No.1, but he could not offer a name for it.

But local soccer legend and former North Mine worker Ray Sartori has backed up Mr Edgecumbe’s claim it was No.1.

“I used to go up there to pick up my pay when I was working afternoon shifts,” he said. “I worked on the No.2.”

Mr Sartori would watch the miners come up out of the No.1 shaft when he went to the mine during school holidays in 1937.

He produced two magnificent photographs from the 1930s of the day and afternoon shift workers at North’s No.1.

His father Tony - who arrived in Broken Hill in 1924 - appears in both photos.

“I can recognise about 16 or 17 of the men, but not their names,” said Mr Sartori, who also worked for three years at the mine as a diamond driller.

At one stage, he worked about seven miles out of town on the North Mine Globe Lease and his offsider was none other than former BIC president Shorty O’Neil, until the union chief was moved into town closer to the mine.

Bob Hart, brother of famous painter Pro Hart, replaced Shorty on the job as Mr Sartori’s offsider.

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