The North Lyell disaster

Posted: August 25, 2012 in Uncategorized
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At about 10.45am on Saturday, October 12, 1912, smoke wafted through the underground workings of the North Lyell copper mine, on Tasmania’s remote West Coast.

The North Lyell mine was owned and operated by the powerful Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company, a business whose revenue often outstripped the entire state of Tasmania.

The mine was 1100ft deep, and nearly 200 men were at work when the fumes began to fill the lower levels.

Many managed to escape, but 50 men were trapped at the 1000ft level of the mine, gasping for air in a remote cavern, or ‘stope’.

The operation to rescue them became a national media sensation — many of those trapped were miners from fields in Victoria, South Australia and NSW.

The disaster claimed 42 lives.


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