February 17, 2020
Forty five years ago this week, the mineworkers at Nymboida Colliery in our Northern District began a work-in at the mine that marked a historic turning point for the workers and the Miners Federation.
In February 1975, the mine owner had given one week’s notice and declared bankruptcy. The workers refused to accept the sack and the loss of their entitlements and so they dug in and continued to work the mine.
With the Union, at the time lead by the formidable Bill Chapman, the workers made a successful takeover of the mine. Over the next four years Nymboida provided income and covered all of their entitlements.
Nymboida proved that a trade union could profitably operate a mine where a private company failed.
After the closure of Nymboida the Federation acquired a replacement lease for a new Hunter Valley coal mine known as United Collieries.
From that venture was born the Mineworkers Trust. Funds from the royalties of coal sales from United have for decades funded countless projects in local communities, hospitals, sporting groups and schools as well as the annual scholarship program.
Known as ‘the mine the workers ran’, the story of Nymboida has been celebrated in books and in 2010, a film, ‘Last Stand at Nymboida’ recorded the unique and extraordinary story that our Union holds proud.
Watch the trailer for Last Stand at Nymboida