Bellbird Mine DisasterPrint Page Print this page

The honour roll erected by the Royal Humane Shipwreck Relief and Humane Society of New South Wales commemorates the heroism displayed at the Bellbird Mine disaster. It depicts the allegorical female figure of Hope sheltering a distressed kneeling female child in tattered clothes and with an Anchor beneath. The figure holds a laurel wreath in her outstretched hand centred on a lifebuoy. Below the female figure of Hope are the 90 names involved in the disaster. 

In September 1923, explosions and fires underground killed 20 men and their horses. Another man, John Brown, the manager at Aberdare, died in the rescue attempt. Working conditions at the time were very poor. The unionised workforce had pressed for central rescue stations in the mines but their pleas were ignored. Some did not even have safety lamps.

The honour roll and memorial tablet, erected in the vestibule of the Cessnock School of Arts, was unveiled and the presentation of certificates of merit to those who took part in the rescue work on the afternoon of the Bellbird disaster took place at Cessnock on Saturday afternoon, in the presence of' a large attendance. Mr J. Brown, Administrator of the Cessnock Shire, presided, and there were present Mr. M. Charlton, M.H.R., Messrs. J. Baddeley, and O'Hearn, Ms.L.A., Captain S. G. Green, chairman, Captain R. C. Guest, hon. treasurer, Captain Fergus Cumming, and Mr. H. S. P. Storey, of the Royal Shipwreck and Humane Society, and a large number of colliery managers and mining officials. Mr. Baddeley briefly reviewed the sad happening's on that fateful afternoon, and referred to the difficulty of restraining the men from re-entering the mine when the conference of exports decided that nothing further could be done. He then removed the Union Jack, which had been drawn across the face of the honour roll. 

He then handed framed certificates to those whose names appear on the honour roll, the two exceptions being J. Brown and V. Moodie, who died in their attempts to rescue their comrades. Their certificates were presented to their widows. 
The Maitland Daily Mercury (NSW), 16 March 1925. 




Address:62 - 78 Vincent Street, Cessnock City Council, Cessnock, 2325
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.835188
Long: 151.356371
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Honour Roll
Monument Theme:Disaster
Actual Event Start Date:01-September-1923
Actual Event End Date:01-September-1923
Monument Manufacturer:Royal Humane Shipwreck Relief and Humane Society NSW


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 14th March, 1925
Front Inscription

Royal Humane Shipwreck Relief & Humane Society of NSW

In recognition of heroism displayed at the Bellbird Mine Disaster

1st September 1923

Brown J .    Moodie J.

Special Mention
Gallager W.  Hughes W.  Jones C.G.
Marshall G.    Mathieson J.  McCluskey P.
Noble G.        Inspector Lewis J.R

Certificates of Merit 
[ Names ]


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