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Coal mining continued

In 1949 Western Collieries Ltd was formed to develop coal east and southeast of Collie for use on the Western Australian Goldfields. Underground mining was still the method used for extracting gold. The following sequence of images illustrates the experience of working as an underground miner. The use of pit horses to haul men and coal to the surface continued in Western Australia until the 1940s.
Employment in the coal industry peaked in 1955 with nearly 1,400 miners working in the Collie Basin. During this period the price of coal remained high, with productivity low and the industry unable to meet demand. In an effort to reduce prices the State government awarded the contract for the supply of coal to Griffin Collieries and Western Collieries in 1960.

The long-term supplier of coal - Amalgamated Collieries ceased operations not long after and surrendered its lease. Its closure saw hundreds of coal miners retrenched - almost half of the work force - which resulted in the mass exodus of them and their families from Collie.

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