HISTORY 2017-05-19T10:35:39+00:00
History of Queensland Mines Rescue Service

History of Queensland Mines Rescue Service

The first mines rescue brigade was formed on the Ipswich coal fields in 1909 with the first permanent mines rescue station being built there in 1923. As the mining industry expanded throughout the state, further brigades were formed and stations built at Collinsville, Blackwater, Moura and Dysart.

The state was separated into three divisions – Southern, Central & Northern; each with a separate management committee responsible for providing a rescue capability to the mines in its area.

Funding was provided on a one third share basis between the coal mining companies, the Department of Mines and the Queensland Workers Compensation Board (now Workcover Queensland).

In 1989 the three division system was combined into the Queensland Mines Rescue Brigade with the intent of standardising mines rescue equipment and procedures.

In 1996 the government announced its intention to withdraw mines rescue funding and on the 1st Jan 1998 existing legislation was repealed and Queensland Mines Rescue Service Ltd was formed.


The interactive timeline below presents the full history of QMRS.

The Edward Medal

medal1Queensland Government Mining Journal February 1908:

“A dispatch has been received by his Excellency the Governor from the secretary of state for the colonies, intimating that his majesty the King, has been pleased to institute a medal to be called the ‘Edward Medal’ for courage in saving or attempting to save a life in mines or quarries within his majesties domains. The act in respect of which the bestowal is recommended must have been performed in or about a mine or quarry either above or below ground. His Excellency the Governor is requested to forward to the colonial office any instances that may be brought under his notice of exceptional courage of the nature indicated”.

Four Australians have received this Medal: Michael Lyons and John Shields, Mt Morgan Gold Mine, 4th Nov 1908; Joseph Davies, Bendigo Gold Mine, 16th July 1909; Frank Duller, Mt Morgan Gold Mine, 12th July 1918.

Mines Rescue Brigade Established

rescuebrigadeWith the steady expansion of the coal mining industry on the West Moreton field just after the turn of the century, the opening up of new pits and the need for improved safety in the mines, the Queensland Department of Mines initiated a move in November 1909, for the establishment of a Mines Rescue Brigade. The Department suggested that 3 miners from each mine be trained in first-aid and rescue methods and the government offered to provide a small subsidy.

Q.A.T.B. Hospital Ipswich

hospitalQ.A.T.B. Hospital, Corner Downs & Flint St North Ipswich in 1912. Workers pose with a ambulance litter and sulky. The litter was pulled to the patient by the sulky, usually pulled by a white horse. The litter was then pushed to the hospital by hand. A lantern would hang from the litter at night. On nearing the hospital, a bearer would blow a whistle and a wardsman would open the gates.