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Italian GoldminersPrint Page Print this page

26-July-2016
26-July-2016

Photographs supplied by Erich Nussbaumer

Memorial stone which honours the plight of Italian Goldminers.

At the 1904 Royal Commission into Non-British Labour, union leaders such as the Great Fingall’s Edward Heitman, testified that Italian miners on contract were particularly careless about working in dust and fumes and that they worked in areas where Australian workers would not. A further Royal Commission in 1905 reported on the ventilation and sanitation of mines, concluding that both were inadequate.

It was dust rather than fumes from explosives that was the deadliest, particularly at the Great Fingall near Day Dawn outside Cue. Its mechanical drills had no dust inhibiting water sprays, with the brittle dust from the quartz ore being freely breathed. Most of the hard rock miners were Italian contractors, keen to meet their daily targets.

When the 1911 Royal Commission on Miners’ Lung Diseases was convened, the testimony was heartbreaking . 85 deaths of Italians were reported to be indisputably associated with dangerous underground air conditions. It was a tragedy not only because of the young age at which most had died, but because of the impact the deaths had on families and friends, the grief sometimes encompassing entire villages.

Location

Address:Great Northern Highway, Cue Cemetery, Cue, 6640
State:WA
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -27.436189
Long: 117.891029
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Disaster
Sub-Theme:Industrial

Dedication

Approx. Monument Dedication Date:October-1991
Front Inscription
                             IN HONOUR OF THE
ITALIAN MINERS OF THE EARLY 1900`S
MANY YOUNG AND BRAVE ITALIAN TRAVELLED OVER 20,000KM TO THIS NEW COUNTRY. LEAVING FAMILIES AND LOVED ONES IN SEARCH OF WEALTH PROSPERITY AND BETTER LIVING STANDARDS. 
UNFORTUNATELY MOST WERE UNABLE TO FULFIL THESE DREAMS AND PERISHED IN THE HARSH AND AND PRIMITIVE CONDITIONS. 
SINCERE THANKS TO THE COMMUNITY OF THIS REGION FOR THEIR UNDERSTANDING AND HOSPITALITY. 
CUE OCTOBER 1991
W.A.ITALIAN COMMUNITY
Source: MA
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