As the world plunged into the Industrial Revolution, coal become a highly sought after commodity for the powering of steam engines. The first coal discovered in Australia was in 1791 and by 1801 Australia’s first commercial coal mine was in operation.
At the turn of the century the safety of miners underground was the responsibility of the mine owner and the miner themselves. Safety equipment was primitive and often not used at all. It was only after several mine disasters that the Australian government began to regulate the industry and introduce safety measures. As a result of this new awareness, the first Queensland Mines Rescue Brigade was formed in 1910.