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INQUEST ON ROBERT FOX.

At 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon an inquest was held at the Court-house, Shortland, on the body of Robert Fox, who died at the hospital on the preceding night from injuries received in the Queen of Beauty mine on Saturday last. The body had been removed from the hospital to the house of deceased at Bowen-street, Parawai. Dr Kilgour was the Coroner, and Mr Macdonald was present on behalf the Queen of Beauty shareholders.

The following were sworn as the jury: —Thomas Veale, John Wilson, William Avenel, Hugh lVTcllhone; Francis Arney, John Nodder, Thomas Kitchen, "Edward Twohill, John Hendy, Howell Williams, Mathias Whitehead, and Thomas Wood. Mr McTlhone was chosen foreman. The jury having viewed the body, \ Charles Wilson deposed : I am a miner, and live in,Grabamstown. I havo been working in the Queen of'Beauty-'iiiine. I was working I here on Saturday, the 13th. I was working side by side with Fox in tho drive, shovelling up quartz, clearing away lo put in the sets of timber. This would be between 10 and 11 in (lie morning. : While at work h'e said,; "1 Will yoii change'sides; T cannot, work'so Will at this s'de." Wo changed sides, and we had filled about a truck and a half, when the lump camo down. Before Pat Nolan and others, went away, a piece came down ou the right side. Mr Wilson and I'at fold us to take everything rlown that was loose and sound it. Between three and four hundredweight of aliifl'oame ; d6B'ri; falling upon Fox. I was down 'shovelling, and some came dose lo me. 1 saw Pox lying under the stuff When I took a piece of earth away that was 011 his head and nerk, he said, " Charlie, my arm is broke." I took; some st'uff off: his legv • Two men who were near came, and we carried liim to the chamber. >he men came from the stopes, and we took>'• him to the surface. and then to the hospital. Deceased had been working in the mine between a week and a fortnight He was working upon wages. He said after, the piece came down that we had to knock''all the loose stuff down before we should start shovelling., Jde never spoke as,if bejWas working in a place which he considered unusually dangerous. Ho was an experienced (miner,j 1; thought that.when we had taken down the loose stuff that the place was safe. We took down all we .could see loose. We' saw nothing the matter with what remained.

By Mr Bullen: We were working at No! 4 :,; level. - ,! 'I ''"don't know " the depth from the surface. We were working for contractors, John; ,Wil-, liams, Patrick Nolan, and MciVlinaroin. Their contract was driving and taking out tho leading stope. We were working, three; shifts; , four ; 'on'one; shift,Varid two oh each of the others. I hare worked siuce the commencement of the contract, but deceased had been there over a: week. : . We didnot-go on with the leading stope at the same time as the drive Before we started to timber,.we commenced the leading stope. The drive was in about 100 feet from the last of the timber. We could not get big timber.in: before comniencing to take' out the leading stope. The drive was in some parts eight feet high from the floor '£he stope,. would be about four feet wide and aßout the same high ia some parts. In taking the stope we stood on spreaders put in on the top. We did not continue that stope to the face. It was continued about 30 ; feet beyond tha timber. In some parts ; the height of the excavation from the. floor of the drive would be fourteen feet, and in some placos five feet, and ksome eight.' There-wafc no' : timber in-that 30 feet except pieces standing against bad pieces. There wasonehereand there. There may not have .been f oue;in.that distance. There were flakes in that distance. I have been mining between six and seven years. . I have seen drives over.lOOTeet without timber. The manager wa3 down duriug that shift, and after the piece came,down on the leftside told us- to look I out. He said, " Sound it all round, and take down everything that is looso." He told us he would riot let ua drive any more till wo had the timber in. There was timber ready to. putjn.. It was on the surface'. I did not hear anybody say that the timber was not ready, and that was the reason we drove so far I believe there was not enough timber arrived to .start timbering. Question put: Do you consider it was sate to do the amount of work done in that mine without timbering ? It is not very safe, : amlf you ; oannot say. it; is -not safe, if the ground is sounded. It was , not very safe to do the work I have described without timbering in that mine. There was only one flake that came away that day, except the one that fell on l ? ox. If we seo tbemloose we pull them down. A few flakes came down some other day in the portion of the , drive not timbered;.. The men of the other' shifts have said to us to put pieces of timber against dangerous places. .The .piece .which fell on " Fox came from the wall of the stope in- the drive. It came from.about 11 feet up. Had that drive been timbered the piece would have fallen to the side. Ttie caps of the drive would be 9 feet Jiigli,. and; the stuff fell II feet. The stuff would have fallen on the roof of the drive had it been timbered. It is the duty of the manager of the mine to see that the drive is timbered. I was on the four o'clock shift last night. Sets have been put in since the accident to Fox. Timber has been put in the drive and Btope. the 30 feet of the stope is all timbered tlow. ' ! When I was there last night about five sets were in the drive from the stope. Ido not know if any work was done in the mine on Sunday. I went on on Monday morning. A good deal of work was done; just .the same as usual. I don't think they were 'working on Sunday in the mine. By the Jury; The .instructional .take .down the loose stuff were complied with, i Wo took down all we could see loose.

; Question put: In one part 'ofr your evidence you sayyoa consider the mine safe, and in another that you do not; how do yoa reconcile these statements J i~I have said it .was not safe to do the j amount of work without timbering. Martin H. Payne deposed: I was sent for,on Saturday to see the deceased. I ifound the left arm broken in three places. I did what I thought necessary , at" thd .time. I went to fetch Dr Lethbridge, *who was then in bed. We agreed lo have a consultation ar. one o'clock. There'; could.-, be| no j' question: as ' b 'what f had to bo done, and the arm and ilcg were amputated. The man appeared io be in a weak state, and we gave him stimulants and beef tea through the day ( saw hiin again on.Sunday morning and 'dressed the wounds, and again on uu!diiy night. He then bad been vomiting during the day a good deal. I saw him again on Monday morning. ; Th,e pulse 'then stronger. 1 The next'l heard !;was that ho was dead. [j The Jury desired that tho Mining [ Inspector t-hould be examined. : Henry Goldsmith dop>sed: I am ' Mining Inspector on tho Thames Gold-

gold; On Saturday morning, on hearing of this accident, and having seen the deceased at the hospital soon after he was brought in, I proceeded to the mine, and saw the spot in the 340-feet. level where the accident occurred. I saw on the floor of the drive a quantity of quartz and rock which appeared to have fallen from the side of the drive. A quantity 01 blood indicated the spot where the ,acci-_ dent had happened. By the position of the shovels, two men appeared to have been at work. I made no investigation by sounding or otherwise. Tl>e timber was all in its place right enough. So far as the timber extended it Was good—in fact, unusually strong, such aB [ believe you don't find anywhere else on the field. A. certain portion of rock, adj 'iniug what they had taken out at the side to make' room for the. cap piece, mus have been loose, but does not seem to have .been, perceived by the two miners, who were, working under it, else, aa a matter ot course,.they would have taken it down. In strong shooting grouud, if .the timberis too near the.face it is injured by the shots. There is a .special risk : from. small* pieces, and that can out v., be ascertained by soundjng, a employing' spreaders I.would not have they were too late in timbering. Xliey. were jusfcin the act of tiniberiug..l.Uero does not seeiii to be any negligence on, . the .part of the manager.. '! he danger. was.from ; small pieces falling. The.mmj; hud not sounded enough, else they-would; -h(ivo - found these InoS: 1 - pieces. I WB9i : there theday before the accident occurred,. I examined soni'' of 'lie limber. , 'be ontrnct is fr labour only, ani they :|Hve tp ; dress their owu .limber,'so. that i the miners below get. limber oj any scant- 1 'ling they consider requisite. ' 13y Mr Bullen: I nave heard Wilson > s-iy there way nearly 100 feet donein the, , drive,and3ofef.fcof leadingstep?above that, I think the country as a whole will standwell at that distance. To a certain extent, it was safe. It was safe as regards the whole drive coming in. I should say it. was safe for the men working, [he;, miners timber as near to the face as.they can. Perhaps, on the it is the, safer plan 'to timber the drive before taking out the stope, but it is safe when spreaders are put and care is taken, the men had taken the precaution to have a shield, which most careful men would'do, this would not havo happened. No doubt a great deal of the unlimhered. ground was loose. The ground generally was safe as a whole. Where the accident occurred was three feet from the las|.set. of timbers. w ' ' The following questions were then put by the Jury : Mow long before the aeciderit did you visit the No. 4 level p You said you visited the' mine the day before.,; J'do not feel.,quite sure when I was at' !No '4 level.'" I go there, three or four ;• times a week. When I weiit dpwn lasD, I cannot say. It is not a long time ago. _. As Mining Inspector do you consider the ■workings of thb Queen of Beauty of a . safe character?—l should say _ that the ground.is extremely difficult, and requires'; unusual precaution and timber, of very. great strength;: It requires'to, be worked, *ith great skill'.' 1 have observed that 'the manager takes every possible pains to iwork' the mine safely. When ground is 'so difficult as that, it requires great care iand precaution, and very heavy timber. '[ have never seen anything like negligence. on the part of the; manager* ijls ilr 'customary, or is it in your opinion safe, ;to allow so much work- to be done and left untjmberedP4iThpre ; H bo',danger so far as regards a general collapse ot the. . ground, but there is a danger of.smali pieces'coming off. That ground is so firm that a distance of thirty or more feet - inight be driven', and left untimbered.; In, fact it • must ;t -be... so,_ from,, the shooting, ,for if, they timbered,, up too close the shots would,. spht -, thetimbee. Thirty feet of ground of that kind would not be considered unsafe. -Jn this case do you''consider that proper precautious were taken?-ram afraid not, or else the. .loose portion would have been di-covered. (Jan you inform the jury whose fault it was that the precaution' 'WaV 1 -not taken i —I consider the min eugaged m the work—it was their duty to sound, llie company found everything, and the men might have had any quantity of timber down. There was no want of timber ott the top. I can only say the men were not-careful enough.. !he shovelingaww the stuff and the trucking might shake the ground. ~ ' 1,7:1 Mr Bullen said that if the jury wished further evidence it could be procured. The. foreman asked what was the nature of the evidence that Mr Bullea referred to which might be adduced. Mr Bullen said they might have the evidence of the manager of the mine or other men who had worked at th'S place. The manager of the mine was present. The foreman, after consulting with,the jurymen, said that they were of opinion" that they had sufficient evidence. : The jury then retired to cousi ler their verdict, and in about half-an-hour re- , turned with the following:—"From the. evidence adduced, the jury have come to,, the conclusion that Ilobjrt Fox lost .his • life;, by an accident in the Queen of Beauty mine, and that such accident was caused by neglect ou the part of those whose' duty it was to see that the work was-' carried out with safety to the men'employed,and in an efficient manner. It is ;; the opinion of the jury that had sufficient supervision been exercised in the timber- / ing of the ground, the acoident would not have happened." .

.REPORTS ON THE WORKING , ... OP THE. MINE. ■

In consequence of • statements • which had got abroad throwing doubt upon the safety of the mine, the. shareholders resolved to have the mine inspected by three competent persons. The gentlemen appointed'handed in the following report yesterday morning:-" Grahamstown, March 16. 1875. To the share- , holders of the. Qaeen of Deauty claim. Gentlemen,—We have the honour to submit the folloni'ii; report on the general. state of, your tuine, m'ire parti- U cularly as regards the precautions taken lo afford security" to ; the 'workmen. |Vo. 3 level., : ; Vye, first visited and examined this level, which we found limbered and secured .in a most substao. iial manner. Vour' manager having in formed"'US : thatno' work; was' being!' carried: on above this place, it" did not ; - call■ for further inspection'; No. 4 level.' 1 ' ihe main drive towards the' Bright ; Smile is timbered, in, a .manner 'llwt** reileei's great credit on. all "concerned. I he st'ope overhead is being worked in tho.most systematic manner,' .'every care. -; being taken to- keep the place secure. ■' The main drive towards'tbe City of London is being timbered in n very tial.manner, some .50 fiiet remaining to 1 '; be completed. A leading has been '" earru'ii on above this drive', and, tern* . p.jr.tihly'secured w.ith'props; • &c'., .avjaH-.ji itig, ,lhe main limbers, being; fkfd^u ii; position in the 'driv.e.:, Vfe .here $ to.j ; call your; attention ;to the. t'aot; ot'tho vH

leading - stope - being higher than is absolutely necessary-for the proper fixing of the timbers in the main drive, and would suggest- that' for : the future the main timbers be kept hearer the face of the drive; and fixed beforo the stopes are commenced. The ; site of the'late accident was/poiutedoutto lis, and we have only to : add ilnit with the :■ precautions suggested,'above in fixing-/mam- timbers in drives beforercommencing- stopes, 'the liahilily lo'ac'ciuYnl may bo lessened. The claim generally : is ■•/well' found in timber and material necessary for carrying on operations on a large' scale. In conclusion, .ivo«\t;nvf/ : iiiucii"pleasure in staling tha.. there hW evidently beeu considerable skill brought to bear in working the mine', more particularly in the character and permanence of the timber work. There appears to : be ho expense spared to provide everything forthecilicienD working of themihe; and affording security to life and; property.—We are,/gentlemen, your obedient servants;; bi J£. BiCHIiiDS, Manager Caledonian Gold Mining: Company ; W. 'J*/Waikbb; Manager Long Drive G.M.C.; 'J.;. ;: B."<Hiuks, Manager City of London GvM.O." ; '•" / The/ workmen of the mine likewise being anxious to'correct any falae impression which may have been created as to the manrier-ih which the mine has been worked, voluntarily drew'up the testimonial to'Mr .Wilson's management, given underneath, which was ; presented to/the' shareholders yesterday:—''We, the Undersigned miners employed in the : Queen of Beauty claim, wish to testify to' the manner in which the manager, Mr C. Wilson, has worked the mine to insure the safaty of the' men during the time we have' beeu working under him., ; He has spared neither material or expense in/ looking after our safety and : keeping the' mine securely timbered and filled up, and we beg further 'to' state that we have never worked under a more' careful, manager. J We : wish'' this statement to' be published to remove auy false impression • that might 'be formed with regard to the safety of the niiiieV: _. John Priinrcise, John rjutherlaud; VV m _ Mitchell,: "Edmund ' O'Kieffe,' 'Jo|,i : Qjigley, ; Charles Welhi; • K. '■ feinej, Vf. /A'..,Moore" (contractor), "'{Jhaiies Hear'u, Wiihahi ' Piiillips', Wm,/Browiilee,' / Edward Buchanan, William, H,allins,'Peter' Solon, Edward Wi3twood,'''beorge, •M'Opwatt,' Edffin, Whitley, Charles Berry, Bichard /.Graham, William Clark/John Chris.tieV'. Hupjphcey K.eariu, Patrick Mc^uiilin,;' Samiiel,, 'Rutledgc, Edwd. Earat, lioberfc McVay, F. Dickey, J f uan Octwa,.John,.Pennfill,.Jeremiah'Mali'o'n'yj'' James Grraydeh,; G-ebrge Henry Hicks, Thomas>•&tephens, jme's, Warren, TlVos'. Hiicfieri' Edward . ~ .John' "Williams, J.onn! M.oprei'/Martin Hpdge'j, Ja i eob Andrew, ,Wijliam '-|Bureb. lj: 'Jolia.' "Batcliffe,, John'; Tooher,, Miehael,.Toolier,. Philip Louise, James Smith,.. Martin. Wh'eian, William. Lucis,' JohnMcCurdy, Patrick O'Brien;' Charles. Oameroii Kidd, , Chides i tames, ./David Eey'nolds, Henry/ iJoachj James" Larson,. William 'L'ym6,-.',tiipmis. I'aylor, Bichard/ Dayey,,,William,.;oox,.Patrick; Man, \. George r 'Pepien,'.Heury Hay, /Patrick'/ Suilivan,'.:,::. .•..'.',',",'•.. ;s ~'v. ..'."'.V r .. „}.

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INQUEST ON ROBERT FOX. Thames Advertiser, Volume VIII, Issue 1995, 17 March 1875

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