A family owned mine operator in Central Queensland welcomed the spouses and children of workers, some of whom could one day become the next generation of miners.
More than 800 family members of employees attended Fitzroy Australia Resources’ Family Open Days on September 14 and 21 at the Carborough Downs Underground Coal Mine, 159km southwest of Mackay.
Honorary recruits waste no time
This was the first time the mine had opened to people not working directly for the industry. Children wasted no time in trying on high visibility gear, which was embroidered with their names, and getting behind the wheel of some stationary machinery.
Other children tried some one-on-one training in how to use a fire hose, wear a hard hat with illumination underground in a drift runner, touring the warehouse and coal handling plant, or just playing inside the tyres of a dump truck.
Overseas family attended
Fitzroy confirmed most of the family members came from Queensland and New South Wales. Some came from as far as New Zealand.
“As a family business, it was an incredibly proud moment to acknowledge and thank the unsung heroes of our industry: The wives, husbands, parents, partners and families of the Fitzroy team who support us and the demands of the industry we love,” Fitzroy Australia Resources chief executive officer Grant Polwarth said in a public statement. “Without their support and belief in us, none of this would be possible.”
Polwarth admits it is unusual for a mine operator to invite family members of the workers to the work site but believes there is no reason why they should not be welcomed once in a while.
“It started with asking the question, why not? Why can’t we host our families at the mine? Why can’t we take children underground?” he said. “After all, they are the reason we do this.”
There were a variety of activities to keep everyone entertained including jumping castles, fairy floss, popcorn and a colouring-in competition.