About Hamilton McMillan (Miner)


McMILLAN, Hamilton J Miner 25/05/1907 Cumberland GM Norseman, W. A. Aust. Decapitated. From the SOUTHERN NEWS. PERTH, May 24.”A shocking fatality occurred at the Cumberland mine, Norseman, yesterday morning, when a miner named Hamilton John McMillan was instantaneously killed under terrible circumstances. It appears that he was going down the main shaft in a skip, with his head hanging out. His body was crushed beyond recognition between the timbering and the edge of the skip.”The Norseman Times P2 28 May 1907 The remains of the late Hamilton John McMillan, who was killed at the Cumberland mine on Thursday morning last, was interred at the local cemetery on Saturday afternoon. The management of the mine had given their employees a day off in order that they might pay their last respects to their departed comrade, and the large majority of the workmen assembled at the graveside. Punctually at 1.30 the hearse left the hospital, followed by the deceased’s sister and her husband, who had journeyed from Coolgardie, and a large number of vehicles, the cortege being preceded by the members of the local branch of the Amalgamated Miners Association. On arrival at the cemetery the sad procession wended it’s way to the Methodist portion of the grounds, where the Rev. E. A. Pearce read an impressive burial service, after which that gentleman said a few very touching and appropriate words in reference to the awfully sudden demise of their departed comrade.Norseman Times P2 28 May 1907 The adjourned enquiry into the late accident in the Cumberland shaft, by which Hamilton John McMillan, a miner, lost his life, was continued today (Tuesday), before L. L. Crockett, Esqr., coroner, and a jury of three, viz., Messrs. Francis R. Crabbe (foreman), William Gibson, and E. M. Christie. James Kerr, said he was a driver working the winder on the Cumber land. Was on shift on Thursday, started at 7 30 a.m. Knocks were given for No. 1 level; got a further signal, and lowered the skip to No. 2 level; then got 3 knocks to lower the skip, and lowered it down to about 30ft past No. 3 level. Signals then came to haul; back to No. 3 level. Raised the skip about 18 inches at the ordinary pace. Felt a check at about 18 inches from the level. The engine was going so slowly that the check was sufficient to stop her. Almost instantaneously 2 knocks were given, to lower. Allowed the skip to drop back 3ft or 4ft. Immediately the accident signal was given, and 6 and 1 knocks came to raise the skip to the surface. Saw the skip leave the surface that morning. Saw one man in it; behind him I thought I saw another man. Did not see his face or notice him getting in. O. Strongman, sworn, said that he was working as braceman on the Cumberland, and started to work at 7.30 a.m. The skip left the surface that morning, 23 inst., at 7.35. There were two men in the skip, R. McLean and McMillan. The signal was given to lower to No. 1 level. I then went into the blacksmith’s shop. I heard signal 2 to lower ; afterwards heard 3 more knocks. Then heard 1 knock ; then accident signal: Saw the deceased brought up with two other men, and assisted to carry him. McMillan–appeared to be dead. It was about 20 minutes to 8 o’clock. Cross examined by the Foreman: Was not aware of any instructions having been given as to men going down in the skip. By Inspector Crabbe : It is not customary to go down in the skip. C. Brearley, sworn, said he was a miner working at the Cumberland, and went to work at 7.30. I walked down the ladder way to No. 2 level, and waited for the skip. When the skip arrived, McMillan and another man were in it. I did not notice anyone leaving the skip. I then got into the skip. Don’t know who knocked to lower; it went down about 30ft past No. 3 level. Saw someone on the level. McMillan called out to them to stop the skip, and it was then, brought back to the plat, the usual landing place. Did not know then who knocked. We were all standing up in the skip when going back to No. 3 level. We saw that McMillan’s head was caught by a piece of timber. He (Brearley) called to S. M. Stevens to knock the skip down. McMillan was standing with his head to the back of the skid, and his head was hanging over the back. Then lifted him into the skip; he appeared to be dead. The accident signal was given, and one to hoist to the surface, which was done. The skip was stopped at No. 1 level; don’t know by whom. When we got to the surface we got the body out. Examined by Inspector Crabbe : Have been working in the mine for two years. Have seen a notice that men should not travel in the skip. By the Foreman: There was no light on the skip. Robert McLean practically corroborated Brearley’s evidence. By the Foreman: No one in particular is deputed to signal ;anyone can knock. There is no difference in the signals between a skip of ore and a skip of men. To Mr. Carr: Have never been ordered not to ride in the skip, but have seen a notice posted to that effect. Samuel Stevens, sworn, said : I am a miner working in the Cumberland, and was working at No. 3 level on the 23rd. Saw the skip passing with three men in it. They called out to me as they passed to stop her. I signalled to stop her. I called out to them that I was bringing the skip back, and it came back in the usual way. I saw McMillan’s head was caught under the plat he was standing up in the skip, and I heard something crack. I then signalled to lower, and afterwards signalled for an accident. (The evidence of this witness agreed with that already given.) By the Inspector : There is no special signal to discriminate between men on skip of ore. For travelling in the skip there are no recognized special signals to which the driver would pay attention. By the Foreman : I gave the signals to lower, and also to hoist without reference to men being in the skip. To Inspector Crabb: I have never received any instructions as to not riding in the skip. James Sutherland, underground manager, said he was working on the Cumberland. Gave McMillan his candle, but did not see him go down. On hearing the accident signal he ran down the ladder way to No. 1 level. I stopped the skip, and got on the bridle and came up. I then went to the office and saw the manager, who sent for the doctor and the police. Have warned the men about riding on the skip, but rarely. P.C McKinley said that on the 23rd he received a message from the Cumberland, and got there at 8.30 a m. Saw the body of McMillan, who was dead. Had the body removed to the morgue, and summoned the jury, who visited and identified the body. They then visited the scene of the accident. G. Dalgieish, the manager, under cross-examination, said that he had repeatedly warned the men about riding in the skip, but they seemed to think there was no danger. The Coroner addressed the jury, and pointed out that the evidence showed very plainly the cause of death, and asked them to give their verdict in accordance with the facts. After a short retirement the Jury delivered the following verdict.:- “That Hamilton John McMillan came to his death on the 23rd inst. at the Cumberland mine by result of an accident at the 300ft level, and therat no blame is attached to anyone.” We further desire to add a rider “That proper precautions be taken by the management to allow men to travel by the skip, and that the full code of signals be recognized.”

 Halbert, James Kalgoorlie miner's memorial wall Written
Hamilton McMillan, James Halbert and Owen Owens’ names appear on the Miner’s Memorial Wall at Kalgoorlie.

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