Mount Kembla inhabits a significant place in the mining history of New South Wales due to uncertainty that occurred in the past. The past of mount Kembla is associated with the infamous explosion that takes the lives of ninety six residents in 1902.
The mountain is situated in about eleven kilometers west of Wollongong and spreads to southern part of Farnborough Heights. Figtree is located in the east while mount Keira is located to the north. In 1770, the mountain was discovered by Captain James Cook who referred to the mountain as “a round hill”, due to the fact that the top of the mountain looks like a hat. The village near the mountain came into existence in 1817, first settled by George Molle. The original settlement extended in the early 1850, and the first church was established in 1858 by the Church of England. Violet Hill was the first school in the region which was established in 1859 and later was developed and named Mount Kembla.
Mount Kembla is being recognized as being the origin of the first kerosene to be mined in Australia. The mine was situated near the American Creek on the premises which was owned by John Graham. Graham remained the owner of the land after the mining was established in 1865. The oil production was of high quality to the extent it won two prices; Melbourne Inter-colonial Exhibition and the Paris International Exhibition between 1866 and 1868. In 1874, the Mount Kembla Coal and Kerosene Company acquired the company from Graham’s Pioneer Kerosene Oil Works.
However, mount Kemlba mine was struck by a vilest peace-time disaster which has never happened in Australia. The incident occurred in colliery neighboring village at around 2pm 1902 July 31st. the explosion was discovered to be caused by the ignition of coal dust and gas by flames that was applied as torches in the mining activities at the mine. It was reported that ninety six workers lost their lives in the explosion. However, there were survivors who were rescued by hundreds of people living near the area.
The explosion left one hundred and twenty children fatherless and thirty three wives were left widowed. However after an investigation it was discovered that the Mine was both dusty and gassy. It was alleged that William Nelson and the Meurant brothers died from suffocation due to carbon monoxide that was produced as a result of explosion of fire damp burned by exposed lights in the mine. The explosion was enhanced by the series of coal dust.
The Royal Commission set to investigate the matter concluded that the disaster was as a result of gas and coal dust and the theory were supported by earlier coroner’s jury. The Mine’s official were not the most probable to blame for the explosion but the naked lights as the part of the technology used in that period. It would be recommended that if the covered lights and torches were used, it could help to save the lives of ninety six people who perished in the explosion.
The official and miners could have known the significance of good ventilation and the importance of the efficient gas blender systems through the goafed regions and old workings. There could be the use of stone-dust and effective methods of atomized water sprinklers on all facilities that generate the coal dust disasters.
Mount Kembla Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, retrieved on 12 April 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Kembla#Mining_Disaster