Image 'Heroes of the mine', c1912

TLF ID R2928

This is the cover of a booklet of sheet music containing the song 'Heroes of the mine' and showing photographs from the Mount Lyell mine disaster.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset shows sheet music that was sold to help raise funds for the Mount Lyell Disaster Relief Fund - on 12 October 1912 fire broke out in the Mount Lyell Mine in Tasmania; 42 men lost their lives and are buried side by side in the Queenstown cemetery, many in unmarked graves; it is not known what started the fire, but one man's revenge for the death of a brother, or action by a political activist have both been suggested.
  • It shows a man being helped from the scene - it is not clear whether he was a miner or a rescuer; 25 rescuers were awarded Australia's highest award for civilian bravery, the Clarke Medal; they battled flames and toxic fumes in the mine.
  • It shows the crowd of men and women waiting at the entrance to the mine; one man is shaking the hand of another, possibly a survivor.
  • It acknowledges the Lawrence Wright Music Company of London, which published the song on which 'Heroes of the mine' is based - 'Don't go down in the mine, Dad', in which a tearful child begs his father not to go down the mine because he dreamed that the mine was on fire and people were dying; the father, unable to resist his child's plea, doesn't go down the mine, and is saved while 'a score of brave men' lose their lives in the fire as their womenfolk wait helplessly on the surface.
  • It was published by Allan and Company, the Australian music publishing business established in Collins Street, Melbourne, in 1863; George Leavis Allan was a gold miner before founding the company, and might have given his support to this fundraising activity more willingly as a result.
  • It has the number 465, giving an indication of the volume of music sheets published by Allen and Company up to 1912 - songs were written and published about topics ranging from the everyday to significant national events; before the advent of radio, television and computers, most people would sing and play musical instruments and welcomed new songs to their repertoire.

Other details

  • Content provider
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: National Library of Australia
  • Remarks: Reproduced courtesy of National Library of Australia
  • Author
  • Organisation: Allan and Company
  • Remarks: publisher
  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 30 Aug 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
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  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Library of Australia, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements