Buffs dig up mining past

A NEW layer of Bendigo’s mining history will be revealed for the first time soon.

Bendigo Hospital's old mortuary is being spruced up for its first public exhibition in May, which will commemorate the centenary of the Hustlers Mine Disaster in Bendigo.

Display to mark 1914 blast

Seven miners were killed in the underground explosion on May 2, 1914.

Hustlers Lost Miners Centenary Committee member Jan Monro said it was the worst mining disaster in the history of the Bendigo Goldfields.

The miners’ bodies were brought in a horse-and-cart ambulance to the old mortuary on Stewart Street, an historic building recognised as a striking example of an Italianate mortuary with no comparable examples in Victoria.

The mortuary's May 4 exhibition, Life and Death on the Bendigo Goldfields, will feature memorabilia from 1914.

Photos, medical instruments and stories will create a snapshot of life in medicine and mining in Bendigo 100 years ago.

Ms Monro and Bendigo Health librarian Angela Gallagher have spent a year gathering the items.

The two history buffs are thrilled Bendigo Hospital saved the relics and that they will finally get a public airing.

“We have enjoyed sorting through so many wonderful pieces in the collection,” Ms Monro said.

"Among the items we have discovered is a German-made brass bronchoscope, which is a very old surgical instrument, about 50 centimetres long.

 “This instrument is significant as it was probably used at the turn of the century to diagnose miners phthisis, a terminal lung disease common in miners exposed to underground dust.”

Ms Monro said over the history of underground mining in Bendigo, more than 880 miners had died and many more had died from miner’s phithisis.

The Life and Death on the Bendigo Goldfields exhibition is on 4 May from 2pm to 4pm.

http://youtu.be/roTJYFWSPfw

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