Minute's silence to be observed in Greymouth on Thursday to mark 1967 Strongman Mine disaster

Accompanied by a clergyman, mourners leave the mass grave of the 19 miners killed in the Strongman Mine disaster on January 19, 1967. Photo / New Zealand Herald archive
Accompanied by a clergyman, mourners leave the mass grave of the 19 miners killed in the Strongman Mine disaster on January 19, 1967. Photo / New Zealand Herald archive

A minute's silence will be observed in Greymouth on Thursday to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Strongman Mine disaster which claimed 19 lives.

The Last Post will also sound on Saturday at the memorial at Nine Mile, on the Coast Road, as part of the commemorations and reunion, with 200 people registered to attend, largely family members, surviving rescue team members, former colleagues and others associated with the mine.

Two services will be held in Greymouth, organised by the 50th commemoration committee and Greymouth Churches Ministers Group.

On Thursday a small informal service will be held at the mass gravesite at the Karoro Lawn Cemetery.

The Strongman Mine disaster memorial in the Karoro cemetery in Greymouth. Photo / File
The Strongman Mine disaster memorial in the Karoro cemetery in Greymouth. Photo / File

The service will be officiated by the Anglican Archdeacon Robin Kingston and will include a minute's silence at 10.04am, the time of the explosion. A wreath will be laid by Mayor Tony Kokshoorn.

An official commemoration service, closed to the public, will be held at the Strongman Mine site, north of Rapahoe, on Saturday morning. It will be officiated by representatives from the Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Churches in Greymouth and include wreath laying by the families and official delegation.

The service will close following the sounding of the Last Post for those miners killed who were also armed services personnel.

For many family members this will be their first opportunity to visit the mine site itself since the explosion 50 years ago. Access to the mine site has been granted by Solid Energy, and those attending will travel in four buses from the reunion headquarters, the Runanga Workingmen's Club.

- Greymouth Star

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