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Historic Mining Occupation Descriptions for the Miners Memorial Project – Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

By W. Scott Wilson, President,  Eastern Goldfields Historical Society 8th February 2013

An underground miner who digs out (shovels) broken ore or mullock from the work face.
(in more modern times a Bogger can also describe a powered wheeled or track vehicle used for this purpose. So someone operating this machine can be referred to as a Bogger or Bogger Driver)
Engaged in the mines workshops operating a powered lathe, making metal components and assembling.
A Platman is someone who handles/transfers the ore and any equipment etc, that needs to be loaded or unloaded at the shaft at that particular level (the Plat). A Plat is a shaft landing erected on a mine level where the Skip and or Cage stops to load people, ore or equipment. (A Plat is also referred to as Insets in the USA or Stations in Sth Africa)
One who chemically tests for the quantity or value of minerals in ore.
Someone who works on and maintains the operation of the Mill (the ore crushing and mineral extraction plant). Would generally be considered a labouring job. (Modern; also called a Process Operator or Mill Operator)
While this job could have different meanings above and below ground – in an underground situation it would refer to someone who provides and places the required supports throughout the mine workings. (Such as the various types of roof and wall supports, plats, shafts, drives, ore passes etc -wherever timber was required.)
Tribute Miner:
Someone who works in designated areas of a mine via an agreement with the mine owners for their own private gain. Dependent upon the agreement reached between them, the mine owners would receive a tribute payment from the Miner for the amount of gold or mineral won.
In underground mining a Sampler takes the rock samples as required or directed by the mines geologists. This would require the careful selection or breaking out and measurement of rock from the face of ore drives, tunnels, crosscuts etc to ascertain the grade of ore, or to highlight areas of interest during exploration work.
Someone who puts parts of machinery together and supplies and fixes various fittings or fixtures required underground.
Pit Technician:
A more modern term defining someone who works in an open cut as a Sampler or otherwise assisting geologists or working under the direction of qualified pit personnel.
A person in charge of the cage or skip as it moves up and down the shaft, overseeing its loading and unloading at various levels. Generally a Skip carries rock while the Cage carries people and equipment.
Someone in charge of the kibble, skip or cage at the mouth (top) of the shaft.
As per Bogger.
A Winze is a small shaft or a pass sunk from an underground level. A Winzeman would be someone who specialised in the operation of the Winze, as per a Platman.
In machinery terms, the Cracker was a large jaw crusher that broke down large pieces of rock to smaller more manageable pieces of rock. In early less developed mines this job was done manually (also with explosives) This job title would refer to someone who oversaw the breaking down of large pieces of ore or mullock. (also can be referred to as ‘Crusher Operator’)
A worker who maintains machine drive belts. This position would have been carried out within the Mill and other surface mining infrastructure and would have been rare underground.
Someone who worked with mercury in the Battery or Mill to extract the gold after it had been freed from the ore.
An employee who tended the mines pumps. Predominately removing water from underground workings or otherwise tending the pumps that serviced the Mill.
Alluvial digger:
(Digger, dryblower, prospector etc) Someone who searches for and mines for Alluvial gold as opposed to Reef or Lode gold. Alluvial gold in Western Australia, was predominantly worked by treating the loose surface soils to extract nuggets and or gold dust. However, gold bearing ‘deep leads’ (old river beds and alluvial channels that over time became buried under many feet of overburden) had to be mined by shaft sinking and driving underground.
This description refers to a workman who laid rail tracks for the ore trucks to transport the ore and mullock through the mine.
Someone who ‘bars down’ unsafe rock by prodding and scaling loose hanging rock. Their main job was to make the area safe for mine personnel following a blast during development work or mining of ore underground.
This position deals with greasing of machinery and equipment. A Labourer (also ‘Oiler’).
Pass Runner:
A Pass or Ore Pass was a steep Raise (or Rise) used for tipping broken rock between levels. It is probable this job involved ensuring the free movement of this rock through the ‘Pass’
An operator of a hand operated underground boring machine (rockdrill) used to make holes for explosives. The term Popper Machine referred to an early pneumatic drilling machine.
Published works:
Bojesen F.W., Small Scale Underground Mining, Hesperian Press, 2003
Austen, Tom, The Entombed Miner, St George books, 1987
Thomas, L.J., An Introduction to Mining, Revised Edition, Methuen of Australia, 1973
Webb, M.J & A., Golden Destiny, City of Kalgoorlie Boulder, 1993
Verbal discussions:
Mr Gerry Lamont and Mr Lindsay Stockdale

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