The Transcendence of Disaster: Mt Kembla, 31st July 1902
When I was posted to Wollongong as a first-year out teacher in 1969 I had never heard of the Mt. Kembla mining disaster even though it’s identity, as the greatest land disaster in Australia’s history, should have given it some status beyond Wollongong itself. Despite my involvement in Trade Union and Labor Party politics in subsequent years I had still not heard of it until its seventy-fifth anniversary in 1977. Around that time articles began to appear in the Mercury based on an inter-disciplinary study, conducted by Wollongong University, of the disaster and the way in which the people of the village at the time, Wollongong and Australia as a whole, responded to and coped with this traumatic event.