Compared to other jobs, mining is one of the most dangerous occupations in Australia. Mine safety is consequently a major concern for workers, unions, employers and governments.
Risks in underground coal mining include roof or wall collapse (what miners call a ‘fall of ground’), the build up of toxic gases, or explosive concentrations of coal dust. Since the middle of the nineteenth century, miners have worn or carried equipment to protect them from, or alert them to, these dangers.
In 1999 th...
Miners call this a 'helmet' or a 'pit helmet'. Helmets protect the wearer from bumping their head on the roof or from small falls of stone or coal. Helmets also hold the lamp that is the miner's light source. This helmet has a metal clip at the front to hold the lamp, and a leather and press-stud clasp to guide the cord that supplies electricity to the lamp from a battery carried on the miner's belt.
This helmet has a sticker with the number '1' on it. John Turner, Acting manager at the Cooranbong Colliery, has informed us in correspondence dated 6 July 2000 that this helmet had been used by a mines rescue team: 'The numbers are used to designate each team member to allow the team leader to communicate with them'.
The helmet also has two Cooranbong Colliery stickers on it. Stickers like these are a valued part of mining culture, and are exchanged by miners across the world.