Jim's song,
The Fields of Eldorado

is now available on CD
in our General Store

Above the Creek Bed

NEW CD

Jim Low
Above the Creek Bed

with Chloe and Jason Roweth

SONG LYRICS

Read the lyrics in our music section

 

READER COMMENTS

Thank you for this wonderful site.
Also for another example of the ongoing courage and mateship of miners everywhere.
- Irene Liddle
  May 16th, 2006

Liked Jim’s song on Eldorado - very solid.
I collected a song from the original disaster - it is on my site under Jack Mays/Jim Champion in the Australian Folklore Unit section (people recorded prior to 2004). It is a tragic tale. The song was recorded on my first Larrikin Record (Man of the Earth) LRF001 and was sung (I think) by Phyl Lobl and Tony Suttor.
- Warren Fahey
  May 17th, 2006

As a child I lived in Eldorado in the 50’s. I have never forgotten and never will.This is a nice site and the McEvoy mine accident was a strong subject during my childhood. It is nice to see these men remembered with feeling and reverence. I have never lost my love and feeling for this beautiful place.I still have a wonderful part of my mums family living there.
- Garry Ward
   August 14th, 2007


 

THE ELDORADO MINING DISASTER

© Jim Low

Share

From the second half of the nineteenth century, mining operations began in the Eldorado Valley, in northern Victoria. Because of the depth of the wash dirt and therefore the necessity to sink shafts, groups of miners formed companies to work the area for gold and tin.

Eldorado The site of the McEvoy Mine in Eldorado

The Eldorado region was considered a dangerous area to mine. There was an excess of underground water and the ground was generally unstable.Just before 4.00 am on Saturday 20 July 1895, tragedy struck the McEvoy Company. (The Company had been foundered by James McEvoy and Michael O'Neill in 1859.)Nineteen miners were underground at the time of the accident.Joseph Ferguson, aged 25, was pushing a truck out of the mine. He soon was unable to push it any further as nearly a metre of soft mud flowed along the tunnel floor. Rather than leave the mine immediately, he decided to warn his workmates of the danger.

"I will call my mates before I go," he later was to recollect saying. (From an interview in the Wangaratta Advertiser, 24 July 1895.) This involved returning about 30 metres. His cousin Richard Madew followed to help in the rescue bid. After calling the miners to him, Joseph advised them to "go steady, and keep your lights." He confessed to them that their chances of getting out were slim but "at least we can make a try". The slush had risen to Joseph's neck when he finally made it out after the others.

Memorial

Memorial to the miners who lost their lives in the McEvoy Mine disaster of 1895

For his actions Joseph Ferguson was awarded the Royal Humane Society's silver medal. The Department of Mines awarded him a certificate in recognition of his "bravery and presence of mind". Years later this framed certificate was found at the Tamworth tip.

Eldorado graves

The mass grave in the Eldorado Cemetery


 



etc