27 years since Gretley Colliery disaster at Wallsend

It’s been 27 years since one of the Hunter’s worst mining accidents.

On November 14 1996, four men – 48-year-old Edward Batterham, 36-year-old John Hunter, 30-year-old Mark Kaiser and 19-year-old Damon Murray – were working in the Gretley Colliery at Wallsend, developing a roadway and operating a continuous machine, when a hole was made in the face.

From then an enormous rush of water made its way into the mine, engulfing the four men, sweeping them away, where they ultimately drowned.

A later inquiry into the accident found the water came from an abandoned mine, which according to the approved maps at the time, was more than 100 metres away. It was found during the inquiry that they were inaccurate.

Following the disaster, the state government introduced new guidelines which are still in use today.

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