Australia’s Worst Mine Disasters

In Health & Safety

With the mining industry as large as Australia’s, it should come as no surprise that we have a vast history of accidents, varying in size. Here are the worst mining disasters in Australian history.


  • The worst mining disaster in the history of Australia occurred in 1902 at Mount Kembla mine and claimed the lives of 96 miners. The incident was the result of an explosion.


  • 81 miners were killed in the 1887 gas explosion in the Bulli Mine. The loss of life left 150 children fatherless and around 50 women were suddenly widows.


  • In 1921 a coal dust explosion in the brand new Mount Mulligan Mine caused the death of at least 75 workers. From the time of the accident to the recovery of the 75th body a full five months had passed.


  • An underground explosion at Kianga Mine in 1975 claimed 13 lives. The bodies were never recovered as the mine was immediately sealed.


  • The same mine experienced another disaster, claiming 12 lives, in 1986. This, too, was due to an underground explosion.


  • At the number two mine in Moura in 1994, an explosion trapped 11 miners. Unfortunately, another explosion occurred thwarting the attempts of a rescue and the mine was sealed, leaving the bodies undiscovered.


  • A mine that had been abandoned 80 years previously became a tragedy for four men who were mining near Newcastle in 1996.


  • In 1999 four miners were killed at Northparkes mine due to a wind-blast.


  • The 2006 Beaconsfield Mine disaster resulted in one death, however, it could have been much worse. 14 miners escaped immediately and two remained trapped until they were rescued 14 days later.

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