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Tears of Mount Mulligan

This poem was written by Billie Pelling, the daughter of Ellen Hutton whose first husband was killed in the Mount Mulligan mine disaster of 1921. Tears of Mount Mulligan was read at the 2013 miners memorial day held in Townsville.

It was just an ordinary day
The working week was underway
What happened next was a tragedy
That no-one possible could foresee.

September the nineteenth, nineteen twenty one
Day shift at the mine had just begun
When the blast that blew the mine sky high
Left loved ones no time to say good-bye.

Seventy five men perished that day
And the mine manager was heard to say
To the families, sad and bereft
'Go on home... there's no-one left'.

The tears they flowed as they left that place
Their dreaded futures now to face
Wives and children, families, too
How would they ever see this through?

Men they came from far and near
Their arms and purposes made clear
No matter what they had to face
They'd not leave their mates in that cold, dark place.

From Monday to Friday they toiled away
Retrieving the bodies, day by day
Seventy-four of them were found
Sadly, for them, one left underground.

What an effort, such a feat
One that would be hard to beat
Heroes, each and every one
No rest till their job was done.

Miners work, as they understand
Always, with danger, goes hand in hand
So may we wish and hope and pray
As their industry gets safer day by day.

Mount Mulligan town, of course has gone
But the legend still lives on and on
In the hearts and the minds of those who wept
May the spirit of those miners be always kept.

Dedicated to miners... past, present and future


Last updated: 4 August 2015

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines is an economic development agency that enables the productive and responsible use of our natural resources – water, land, mineral and energy resources – to generate wealth and prosperity for current and future generations of Queenslanders.

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