Bulli Mine DisastersPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams

A memorial erected by the Governent of New South Wales commemorates those who lost their lives in the Bulli Mine disaster of 1887. The names of those who were killed in the 1965 disaster were added to the memorial at a later date. 

At 2.30pm on Wednesday, March 23rd, 1887, an explosion in the mine blew out of the tunnel mouth carrying with it an unconscious boy, Herbert Cope. Eighty one bodies were recovered and subsequently buried at St. Augustine’s Church of England, with eight at Fairy Meadow Roman Catholic cemetery (Corrimal), some at Woonona churchyard and the unidentified at Bulli. Although oil flame safety lamps were in use at the time, it apparently was common practice to remove the safety gauze from around the flame to permit more light from the lamp as this was the miners' only light source. The special commission and jury was quite scathing in its findings blaming both the miners and management for their attitude towards safety. The sole survivor, Herbert Cope, died in 1952, aged 84.

On November 9th, 1965, four miners suffocated when a pocket of gas ignited in a panel, several hundred yards from the main shaft. Their bodies were recovered at 6pm, about nine hours after the blast. Three men survived the blast.

The anniversary of the terrible Bulli disaster has come round, and in commemoration of that sad event, the monument erected by the Government, is to be formally unveiled tomorrow. Sorrowful are the memories of that day of death in this district and that being so, there can be no doubt that very large numbers of persons from all parts of Illawarra will attend the solemn ceremony about to take place tomorrow. Our kind-hearted Governor (Lord Carrington) readily complied with the request to unveil the monument, and, therefore, will be present to perform that formal duty. The hour for the unveiling is fixed at 2 o'clock, when it is expected that his Excellency will have arrived. As previously stated, the day is proclaimed a public holiday throughout the district, and altogether the people of this locality will, in the main, observe the occasion as such in sad remembrance of the Bulli disaster of a year ago, with its eighty one human victims, leaving more than twice that number of widows, orphans, and other sufferers. 
Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW), 22 March 1888.



Address:Park Road, Bulli Park, Bulli, 2516
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.333335
Long: 150.915333
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Disaster
Approx. Event Start Date:1887
Approx. Event End Date:1965


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 23rd March, 1888
Front Inscription

[ Names ]

Erected By The
Government Of New South Wales 
To The Memory Of The Men Who Perished In The Disastrous Explosion At The Bulli Colliery On The 23rd March 1887
And Whose Names Are Recorded On This Obelisk.

Left Side Inscription

[ Names ]

Back Inscription

[ Names ]

Victims of the Bulli Disaster
9th November 1965.


Right Side Inscription

[ Names ]

Inscription in Proximity

          This Plaque Was Erected By
The Wardens, Parish Council And The Parishioners
           Bulli Anglican Church
As An Expression Of Appreciation For The Excellent Attention
         Extended By All Participants In The
"Bulli Mine Disaster Memorial Garden Cemetery And Columbarium"
                Restoration Project  1994

[ Names ]

The Project Was Part Of The L.E.A.P. Training Programme
(Landcare And Environment Action Program)
              Financed By D.E.E.T.
(Department Employment, Education & Training)
      Managed By Wollongong City Council

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au