This article was published in Benalla’s ‘The North Eastern Ensign’ more than eighty years ago. The extract reported on the death of a worker at the Yallourn mine in 1927.
The tragedy received coverage in numerous newspapers of that time; and the man’s death again underlines the ever-present dangers faced by all workers in the mining industry. An unusual aspect of the sad tale at Yallourn was the role played by the local school children in assisting the recovery workers at the scene of the disaster.
Note: Australia’s worst mining accident occurred at a coal mine twenty five years before the following incident at Yallourn. In 1902, a gas explosion in a mine at Port Kembla (NSW) killed 96 people.
July 8th 1927 The North Eastern Ensign ( Benalla) Page: 2


A trucker at the open cut, Yallourn, was trapped in a tunnel by a fall of earth early on Wednesday morning and killed. In the hope of reaching him alive, 200 of his mates dug feverishly for four hours. They removed hundreds of tons of earth and timber before the body was recovered.
While the men worked the women made coffee for them. School children, released by their schoolmaster, were taken to the scene and carried refreshments to the men.

1. Further research into this industrial death suggested that the miner, who died in the landslide, may have been a 43 year-old worker named W. Grace.
2. The other workers mentioned in the subsequent reports of the accident were the McLelland brothers. It is believed that they noticed the first signs of slippage and shouted warnings of the impending danger to nearby workers.
3. Another source stated that it was the first accident of that kind in the Electricity Commission’s mine at Yallourn.
4. It should be remembered that in those days the 200 men, involved in trying to save their fellow worker, would have used hand tools for removing the many tons of fallen rock and earth.
5. The ‘The North Eastern Ensign’ was the only newspaper to report that the children, from the nearby school, assisted the rescuers at the mine site.

The above article from ‘The North Eastern Ensign’ has been faithfully reproduced. The only changes to the original copy are the font style, font size and spacing so as to enhance the article for purposes of posting on the Virtual Yallourn website.