More than 180 people attended a memorial service in Cooke Park on Sunday to mark 20 years since the tragic air blast event at CMOC-Northparkes Mines that claimed the lives of four men.
Ross Bodkin, Michael House, Stuart Osman and Colin Lloyd-Jones were killed when millions of tonnes of ore and earth suddenly collapsed, leading to the catastrophic air blast.
Family members, employees past and present, local Councillors and community members joined together in Cooke Park to stop and remember the four men.
Manager Operations Rob Cunningham, who was an underground team leader at the time of the air blast, shared his memories from the day including a poem dedicated to the four men. “This event is a black day in the history of Northparkes that is never forgotten – this day reshaped the way we approach safety, mine designs and critical control monitoring.”
“I am personally driven every day to prevent the past and be better tomorrow. Please spare a thought for all the family and friends that were impacted by this tragedy. Our thoughts and wishes are with you. I am sorry that these four good men never made it back to their families 20 years ago,” said Rob.
Northparkes Managing Director Hubert Lehman said: “To all the families whose lives will never be the same as a result of the air blast, we think of you every day. All four men were exceptional people who had so much to offer but never returned home from work that day. We will continue to remember these men every year and share what we learnt from that day to help prevent it from ever happening again.”
The ceremony concluded with family members unveiling a chair dedicated in memory of Ross, Michael, Stuart and Colin.
The chair will be installed at Bushman’s Hill Reserve next to the existing memorial rock.