Hustlers Reserve Mining Accident Memorial in Bendigo
“Erected to acknowledge the contribution to Bendigo of the 100s of widows who lost their husbands through mining accidents and miner’s pthisis while working in an industry that changed Bendigo from a mining town to a beautiful city left without any means of support for themselves or their children. They were responsible for bringing up many first class citizens. Many of the above had a Cornish heritage and many were residents of Long Gully. Bendigo and District Cornish Association and Long Gully History Group”
I came across Hustler’s Reserve in Hustler’s Road Bendigo after reading an article in the local paper, that made me interested enough to jump in the car and find the reserve to find out more. Hustlers Reserve is the site of a mining accident which occurred on 02 May 1914, killing all seven miners who were on the thirteenth level at the time of the explosion. This is the worst mining accident to occur in Bendigo. However 880 miners have been killed in Bendigo. This figure really shocked me. I live in Bendigo but none of my family or ancestors ever lived here so my historical knowledge of the area is quite scant.
At the Hustler’s memorial site, there is a Widow’s Monument which is shown above, to remember all those men who lost their lives in mining accidents and pthisis which is an illness which took the lives of many who worked down in the mines.
I found Hustlers Reserve to be a beautiful quiet reserve, but to me it was quite confronting, even though I was pleased that this memorial site does exist. I did feel confronted that I wasn’t aware of this accident and also was unaware that so many lost their lives in Bendigo to mining. There are seven memorial stones in memory of each miner who died. The plaque in the centre lists the names of each miner. Reading the names really made me aware of the shock and sadness that the families left behind must have felt.
The site is currently being revegetated by volunteers who are planning to plant box-ironbark trees as a living memorial. Next year marks the 100 year anniversary of this mine disaster and a series of activities are currently being organised to mark the occasion and to ensure that the community is involved.
At left is Hunters Hill as it was in 1890. Today it is a sparsely vegetated almost empty reserve in a quiet housing area.
WILLIAM CROWTHER BLAIR, married
ROBERT THOMAS, married
GEORGE FORSETER, married
WILLIAM RYAN, married
JOHN HENRY CAMPBELL , married
LESLIE MARTIN, single
FREDERICK CHINN, single