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The Importance of Remembering Miners and The Cobar Miners’ Memorial Project

It’s easy to think that the good old days of mining and the tight-knit communities that built up around the mines are well and truly behind us. But my recent interview with Barry Knight on the Full Production podcast opened my eyes to a different perspective.

This lifelong resident of Cobar in far west New South Wales is the passionate heart behind the Cobar Miners’ Memorial project. As the name suggests, the project is about remembering those who lost their lives working the mines in and around Cobar during the town’s long and illustrious mining history.

But beyond this, the project has proven to be a great community builder along the way. It really goes to prove that communities make communities, and the mines are just supporting players.

A Place For Remembrance and Reflection

The beauty of this idea is that it gives real and tangible recognition to those who have lost their lives in mining accidents. It’s recognition that can be far too rare in the industry.

As part of this, it provides a place for families, friends and colleagues to remember these people and the sacrifice they’ve made in a fitting setting.

Beyond this, it’s a poignant reminder to the industry in general that we work in a tough and sometimes dangerous business, and the risks should never be ignored or underestimated. And those who have suffered should never be forgotten.

A Place To Build Community Around a Shared History

The process of creating and building the memorial has had even greater beneficial effects on the Cobar community.

Like a lot of mining communities, changing work practices in the industry, like difficult working hours and FIFO staffing, for example, have taken much of the lifeblood out of Cobar. You just need to look at the dwindling membership of sports clubs, which used to be a social mainstay in towns like Cobar, to see the effects.

But now the memorial project has given the community a reason to gather and support each other. Not to mention the pride it brings back to the industry and those who work in it. As miners, it’s a project that really deserves our support and respect.  

If you want to know more about the Cobar Miners’ Memorial project, have a listen to the episode of the Full Production podcast where I speak to Barry Knight. It’ll give you a great perspective on why he’s so passionate about it and how it’s benefiting the Cobar community. You can also get in touch on the Cobar Miners’ Memorial Facebook page.

Listen to my entire conversation with Barry here.