Miner’s Strike Memorial Light Tower

Agri, Mining and Industry

This Light Tower pays tribute to the historic Preston 55-Day sit-in.

The extraordinary story and inspiring story of the sit-in is little known. In early March 1983 the RW Miller Preston Extended Colliery sacked 83 of its 106 mineworkers with no warning. They called it ‘Black Wednesday’.

Sixteen miners began a ‘sit-in’ strike in the underground mine, although two had to return to the surface for urgent medical and family reasons. They stayed underground for 55 days – a record for Australian sit-in strikes. The Preston 14 came to the surface to a heroes’ welcome. Hundreds of miners and their families cheered and clapped as the men emerged.

Their action persuaded the NSW Government to take action on the orderly development of the coal industry and the retention of coal jobs through the restructure of the Joint Coal Board. Fifty-three of the sacked workers got their jobs back.

During the final days of the strike, the Miners Federation’s Northern District Board of Management held its meeting underground, for the first time in Federation history.

The meeting was a tribute to the workers, their families and the Curlewis and Gunnedah communities. The Preston Sit-In Miners were fighting not just for their own jobs, but for the future of their towns as well.



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