The Gouldian and the Canary.

Subject: The Gouldian and the Canary.
From: Del Richards <>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2010 10:54:58 +1000
In north Queensland in September 1922 at the Mount Mulligan Coal Mine the silence was shattered when an explosion caused by noxious gases rocked the mining community and was heard at a distance of sixty kilometres away at Mount Molloy, north of Mareeba. The resultant death toll of seventy-five miners has been one of the largest losses in the Australian mining history. Some families lost fathers and sons in the disaster. To gauge the severity of the remnant gas in the mine a canary and a Gouldian Finch were employed to ascertain the possibility of rescue of survivors of which there were none. Both birds were overcome by gas and the canary escaped while being resucitated. After that the Gouldian Finch was taken into the mine on further missions and survived the resue attempt. This bird was given some hero status and was raffled at a fund raising effort some six months later to help the surviving widows and families of the disaster.
   Gouldian Finches would have been common in the locality in that era.
For some years I have collected records for the Gouldians Finch throughout north Queensland and would be glad to add any good records from observers on Birding-aus.

Del. Richards, Fine Feather Tours, Mossman, NQ.

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