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Long wait over: Moura Miners' Memorial set to begin construction

LONG TIME COMING: An artist's impression of how the Moura Miners' Memorial will look from Gillespie St.
LONG TIME COMING: An artist's impression of how the Moura Miners' Memorial will look from Gillespie St. Contributed

BANANA Shire Council has secured $120,000 in funding for the Moura Miners' Memorial, making up the shortfall that has seen the emotionally-charged project languish in the planning stage for several years.

The memorial will be a permanent testimony to the victims of Moura's major mining disasters over the years, including the explosions at Kianga Mine in 1975, the Moura No. 4 mine in 1986 and Moura No. 2 in 1994.

The structure will consist of a domed roof over a central sculpture of three miners' helmets.

Visitors will enter the memorial through a mine shaft-style entrance, on which the names of those lost will be listed.

REMEMBERING THOSE LOST: The inside of the memorial will feature points of light for each miner lost.
REMEMBERING THOSE LOST: The inside of the memorial will feature points of light for each miner lost. Contributed

John Walker, president of Moura Community Progress and a driving force behind the memorial, said the mayor had let the committee know of the decision early last week.

"It was very exciting news,” he said.

"We've been working on this for over three years now, it's been long work.

"Trying to find $550,000, give or take, is a pretty hard ask. Having the council well and truly on board has been a huge help to us and got us over the line.

"The unions have also been very supportive, both at the state and national level.”

Colin Sleep, who lost his father in the Moura No. 4 explosion in 1986, thanked the community members who initiated the process as well as the council and the various organisations, companies and unions that had pledged funding for the project.

Mr Sleep said the effect on his family when his father didn't return home from work had been dramatic.

"(It) is something you don't ever really get over,” he said.

"There are seven kids in the family and we were all deeply affected by it, as was my mother.”

"(The memorial) will be a place where the families, community and visitors are able to reflect and acknowledge those lost workers.”

Funding was secured by the council as part of the State Government's Works for Queensland program, which saw Banana Shire granted $1.73m to be allocated to projects which would spur local job creation.

The memorial is one of nine projects which will be funded by grants from the program.

Division 5 councillor Brooke Leo said having the memorial in Moura meant visitors to the area could understand a piece of the town's history.

"Those lives lost will not be forgotten in our community,” she said.

"It's essentially shovel ready, the design looks amazing and it's going to be a very moving, emotional and important space.

"My role is to represent my community and by supporting the funding for this project, well, I've listened to the things that are important.”

The Works for Queensland funding requires projects to be completed by the end of November, meaning construction on the roughly 16 to 20-week project will need to begin in May or June.

A second stage of the project, a museum dedicated to Moura's mining history, has also been planned.

ALWAYS REMEMBERED: Maurice McPherson with a picture of son Scott, who died in the Moura No. 4 disaster, at a memorial service for the victims last year.
ALWAYS REMEMBERED: Maurice McPherson with a picture of son Scott, who died in the Moura No. 4 disaster, at a memorial service for the victims last year. Andrew Thorpe

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