A memorial service will be held on Friday 22 March, 1.30pm, at Bulli Anglican Church to remember the miners killed in the Bulli Mine Disaster in 1887.
The services will be followed by wreath laying at the memorial monument.
One hundred and thirty two years ago, the explosion took the lives of 81 men and boys and to this day, remains the second-worst industrial disaster in Australia’s history- behind the Mt Kembla disaster 15 years later.
Descendants and relatives of the victims will attend the ceremony, to remember the event that had such an enormous impact on what was then a small mining village.
The majority of victims were buried in the old St Augustine’s graveyard, with some of the gravestone still resting at the rear of the church.
A booklet has been written about the explosion and its profound effect on the local community. Reprinting the booklet was funded by the Miners’ Trust which is associated with the miner’s union now known as the CFMMEU.
Copies of the booklet can be purchased from Destination Wollongong outlets in Wollongong and at Bulli Tops for $2 per copy.
The actual anniversary is on Saturday 23 March, however the ceremony will be held on Friday so school children can attend.
A quote from Book 2 on the History of Coal Mining in the Illawarra reads:
“On 23rd March 1887 an explosion in the Hill End district of the western area of the mine resulted in the death of 81 men and boys. Whilst it was found that few were killed by the actual explosion, most lost their lives in the act of escaping from the poisonous carbon monoxide gas generated as a result of the explosion.
“The findings of the Royal Commission set up to investigate this dreadful incident found that an accumulation of gas present in a heading in the Hill End district had in all probability been ignited by the open flame from an overcharged explosive shot placed in the coalface. This gas explosion propagated a coal dust explosion that travelled towards the surface seeking fresh air and creating great damage and death of persons in its path.”
Image thanks to Black Diamond Heritage Centre