Brothers Murray and Brett Rogers honour their lost dad Lenard Rogers, who died along with 17 others as a result of the Box Flat disaster.
Brothers Murray and Brett Rogers honour their lost dad Lenard Rogers, who died along with 17 others as a result of the Box Flat disaster.

Ipswich honours heroes of Box Flat

ALMOST half a century has passed since 18 men lost their lives as a result of Ipswich’s worst mining disaster.

Yet for family and friends of those men who were killed, memories of that horrendous morning live on.

The Box Flat explosion on July 31, 1972 resulted in many changes and improvements in mine safety, a point often raised to give context to the heartbreak still felt by those wives, children, brothers and sisters left behind.

Muriel Rasmussen, who lost her husband Brian in the blast, took the opportunity to make an impromptu speech at Friday’s commemoration at the Box Flat Memorial at Swanbank.

She recalled the day before the explosion, and how she had made a big score in bowls and couldn’t wait to tell Brian all about it.

The last she spoke to him on the phone, he told her “things were starting to look a bit better” out at the mine, which at that time had a dangerous fire burning underground that crews were trying to bring under control.

When she was woken by the sound of a massive blast early the next morning, she knew her husband’s fate.

Brothers Murray and Brett Rogers were also at the service, honouring their long lost dad Lenard.

Lenard Rogers died in the blast aged 40, his sons only 13 and 9 respectively at the time.

“A policeman came to the door a few hours later – maybe 8am – and broke the news,” Murray recalled.

“Mum kept in touch with that policeman for years after – right up until he died I believe.”