Cobar Miners Memorial
stephen pearse architect
The memorial commemorating those who have died in the local Cobar mines and those who have died from mining related diseases, is located within the Cobar Miners Heritage Park. The new memorial forms a central focus as part of a collection of artefacts and memorials on the Barrier Highway entry to the Cobar township. A three-hour drive west of Dubbo, Cobar with its harsh variable temperatures and red dirt is on the edge of the big outback.
While modest in size, the entry scale is manipulated by simple forms and vertical steel blades of the entry portal. Its underground setting providing both sustainable outcomes and preserving the important green park land.
The design provides a single room of 60m2 under the earth mound. Visible from the highway and arranged on the site to capture the pedestrian entry from the carpark, the new building conveys symbolic references to the mining industry through simple form and material, respects the site with its earth and landscaped roof and provides paved forecourt for more formal gatherings of family and community on memorial service days.
The memorial embraces you on entry to the park, with its tough in-situ concrete walls and the focus, the large steel plate entry portal. A minimal abstract expression of the mine head. Steel rusting, bolted, and braced both dramatic and curious to the passer-by. A steel spike piercing through the roof as a snorkel to the sky provides a natural vent for the space.
Within the underground chamber, the stories are told, and the victims memorialised in the symbolic tag board of brass plaques. A poignant reminder of the fact that these miners did not tag off on the shift that day.
Photography by Klae Mcguinness.