Mount Mulligan mine disaster

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The cable drums, blown 50 feet (15 m) from their foundations

The Mount Mulligan mine disaster occurred on 19 September 1921 in Mount Mulligan, Far North Queensland, Australia. A series of explosions in the local coal mine, audible as much as 30 km away, rocked the close-knit township. [1]

Seventy-five workers were killed by the disaster which is the third worst coal mining accident in Australia in terms of human lives lost. Four of the dead had been at the mouth of the pit at the time of the explosion. Only eleven of the bodies were found. The disaster affected people in cities and towns all over the country. The mine, which was new at the time of the accident, was widely considered safe and had no previous indications of gas leaks. The miners hence worked using open flame lights instead of safety lamps. [2]

Public inquiry[edit]

A Royal Commission into the accident confirmed that the disaster was caused by the detonation of a fire damp. The investigation found that explosives were used, stored, distributed and carried underground in a careless manner. It was also determined that the lack of appropriate means to render the coal dust safe in the mine was a violation of law.


The mine was reopened a year after the disaster. In 1923 the Queensland government bought it from the operators. It was in operation until 1957, although it was heavily subsidised after the war. The mine's final demise occurred with the completion of the Tully Falls hydro electricity scheme. Soon after, the town was sold and most of the buildings were removed. [3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barwick, John (1999). Australia's worst disasters: mining disasters. Port Melbourne, Victoria: Heinemann Library. p. 14. ISBN 1-86391-886-8. 
  2. ^ The Australian Journal of Emergency Management Vol 18. No.3 August 2003.
  3. ^ Mount Mulligan history

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 15°51′00″S 144°52′01″E / 15.85°S 144.867°E / -15.85; 144.867