Jamie Lonsdale

ORIGINALLY nicknamed “cow”, this week’s longwall larrikin now carries the tag of “peppered steak” after a windblast incident threw him 30 metres and left him with an abundance of small black marks on his back.
Jamie Lonsdale Jamie Lonsdale Jamie Lonsdale Jamie Lonsdale Jamie Lonsdale

Jamie Lonsdale

Angie Tomlinson

“The windblast event was horrific. I was on the boot end and had my back to the goaf - all of a sudden air was rushing past, it felt like I was being hit in the back of the head with a shovel continuously. It just picked me up and threw me down the belt road and had no control of where I was going. Death was a MAJOR concern” – so goes Jamie Lonsdale ‘s recollections on a windblast incident at West Wallsend.

Jamie started out at the BHP apprentice training centre as a fitter before going to Stockton Borehole in 1982. From their he moved to Teralba in 1988 where he spent a year before going to his current longwall – West Wallsend.

In his spare time Jamie likes taking his two boys and two girls fishing as well as his mates - “game fishing or game to fish with me?”

ILN:What is your earliest mining memory?

JL: On my first week at the pit when I came from the BHP apprentice training centre I was up in “O” panel with a tradesman when I noticed a crack opening up above us – the next day it fell in on the miner.

ILN: What made you choose mining as a career?

JL: Fourth generation miner, and second family in at John Darling in 1912.

ILN: What was your favourite job in a coal mine?

JL: Watching and helping get the coal out.

ILN: What was your least favourite job?

JL: Getting into small spaces at the back of chocks on repair work.

ILN: Who, or what, has most influenced your mining career?

JL: Many characters over my time in the industry, however my current deputy John Tyczynski, I hold a lot of respect for.

ILN: What do you consider your best mining achievement?

JL: Going home alive and being accepted into Mines Rescue.

ILN: What do you see as being the greatest mining development during your career?

JL: The mono rail being added to the longwall and 3D longwall monitoring at Westy (West Wallsend)

ILN: Do you hold any mining records?

JL: Nil, only the ones with my workmates where we get record tonnages out.

ILN: Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?

JL: Not doing my deputies or undermanagers ticket.

ILN: What was your most embarrassing moment in a coal mine?

JL: Being nicknamed the “COW”

ILN: What was your scariest time in a coal mine?

JL: Windblast on LW 27 at Westy and being buried when I was a third-year apprentice at Stockton Borehole.

ILN: What is your worst memory of coal mining?

JL: My involvement with getting first aid to Col Jones and getting to the paramedics (he cut his own arm off to get out of an over turned Eimco).

ILN: Do you think that the day of the fully automated remotely operated face is near?


I think it will be 10 years away yet, but it will always need fitters as it will always break down.

ILN: What major improvements would you like to see on longwall operations?

JL: Less dust!