Spouse 1,2


4 females

3 males,
one of whom sadly died in the
Collinsville Mining Disaster of 1954
details here

Frederick William John SHRUBSOLE

B  1894 Folkestone, Kent

D  1976 Queensland, Australia

Mathilde PROHASKA  

B  1896 Funfkirchen, Hungary

D  1980 Queensland, Australia

Marr 1923 Queensland, Australia







We have a lovely history of Frederick, whose daughter Valda, fortunately for this family, had the foresight to write it down. Valda sadly is no longer with us, so it is even more treasured as otherwise her father’s tales would have been lost for ever.  It gives us a brilliant snapshot of his life up to the end of the First World War, when he returned to Australia in March 1919.   

Frederick was born in Folkestone, Kent, England, 11th March, 1894.  He attended school at Horn Street State School, Cheriton, Folkestone, Kent.  Started at age of 5 years, finished in 1908 aged 14 years. Worked:  Charles Taylor (Chemist), Cheriton until June 1911;  Army Camp canteen for three months,  Farm outside London for approximately three months. Aged 17 sailed for Australia on/about 9th November, 1911 from Tilbury Docks, London, under Church Army Land Scheme, travelling with eight other 17 year old lads.  Ports of call were Port Said, Aden, Colombo, Singapore, docking in Brisbane on 25th December, 1911.  He was taken to a Government Institution for Christmas dinner (boiled potato in jacket, with corned beef, and plum pudding).  He arrived with fourpence in his pocket and after dinner he wrote a letter home to England saying he'd arrived safely, and spent one penny on the stamp.  He bought a packet of Capstan cigarettes for threepence, which left him broke.  He was given a room Christmas night, and the following morning was given a packet of sandwiches and two shillings, and put on a train for Pomona.  From here was picked up by a mail coach and taken to Kin-Kin, 9 miles from Pomona, to work for a dairy farmer, Blaney Keys. He worked milking cows, fencing, and general labouring on a new property.  Pay was 12 shillings and sixpence.  He worked there for 9 months, sleeping in a barn in the yard.  After having a row with Keys one Saturday (about doing his washing on Sunday because Keys wanted fencing done on that day), he left to go to the store to get a job with another dairy farmer and bullock team owner, Jack Simpson.  He started with him Sunday morning - September, 1912,  he was now 18 years old, milking cows, and cutting pine for team.  He stayed until October, 1914, then left to work with Noosa Shire Council, felling scrub on a new road out to Wolvi (inland towards Gympie). Frederick left the council May 20th, 1915 to enlist in the Australian Army.  He travelled to Gympie for a medical examination, then to Brisbane to join No. 4 Command Depot, Victoria Barracks.  After a final medical, he went to Enoggera Army Camp to be sworn in on 4th June, 1915.  Rations at Enoggera:  roast beef, potatoes, pumpkin, bread, cheese, jam, fruit and tea.  They camped in bell tents, ten men to a tent.  Fully equipped by 20th June - His Army No. 1647.  On 22nd June when on leave in Brisbane he heard that volunteers were needed to strengthen 25th Battalion.  He was accepted in a group of 80.  (He went to the Bank and drew out savings of 22 sovereigns which were in the Kin-Kin Bank).  26th June entrained for Pinkenba, where they boarded a troop ship, Aneus, No. A60.  They sailed for Sydney, & after disembarking were camped at show grounds for one week waiting for Tasmanian troops to arrive.  The sailed for Suez in a convoy of sixty ships about 6th July, 1915.  Disembarked at Suez, entrained for XXX camp near Abasia Barracks.  (Abasia was an Egyptian barracks near Cairo.)  Between training visited Cairo, Sphinx, the Pyramids, Esmalia.  Entrained for Alexandria, embarked on Aneus A60, joined fleet carrying 2nd Division, landing at Gallipoli on 6th August, 1915.  Left 1st Division 7th , 8th  Brigade in Walker's Ridge area. Rations in Gallipoli:  bully beef, biscuits, jam, one pint of water per day.  On one occasion a One Pound  (500g) loaf of bread was to be shared between 10, but he missed out.  Dysentery was bad.  He was in Gallipoli till early November when he was wounded in the shoulder with shrapnel, and evacuated to a hospital ship  & then on to Valleta Hospital, Malta.  One week after he was evacuated on an Italian Hospital ship to England. The ship had only orderlies to care for the wounded, rations were short, and the injured were fed by the orderlies pouring a little "turned" (soured) milk down their throats. Travelled to London on Hospital train to Bethnel Green Hospital.  Arthur's (his brother) girlfriend  came to visit about three times bringing chocolate from the factory where she worked.  Spent Christmas (1915) in hospital, and at end of January, 1916 after discharge from hospital spent two weeks leave at Folkestone, with his mother, father, sister Mabel, and brother Alf.  During this time he travelled to London to try to get his brother, Arthur, discharged from the Artillery, as he was only 15 years old when he enlisted.  Arthur refused to come home.  

After his leave he went to the Australian Detail Camp at Sutton Viny (?) in February, and detailed reinforcements sailed to Egypt to join up with his old 25th Battalion at Tal-el-Kaberra.  All the troops camped there were from Gallipoli.   25 - 7th Brigade, 2nd Division, sailed for France and landed at Marseilles on 26th March, 1916 (aged 22).  Camped at White Chateau and General Joff inspected.  One week there waiting for transport to unload, then entrained for Amentieres where they held the line for three months with only patrol activity.

In July, 1916 entrained for Poziers where troops were regrouped as a Division in that district.  The 2nd Division went into the line and attacked at Poziers.  Because wire entanglements were not cut the men were slaughtered and beaten back to their own line.  With English Artillery support they were reorganized and attacked five days later and took all positions.

Fred was a battalion runner at the time and remained as such until the end of the War.  He was wounded in the neck by a German shell.  Being walking wounded he had to take three German privates and one officer back to "Sausage Gully".  The German officer who was previously a waiter in London, called up into the German Army, spoke excellent English.  One prisoner was blinded, the other two led him.  The German Officer refused to go the way Fred was leading them, saying that the Germans had a periscope and could see the English soldiers, and would be able to "pick them off".  He then led his own three men and Fred to safety to "Sausage Gully". After handing the prisoners over to the provost, he had his wound dressed at the aid post, mounted a horse ambulance and was taken to a little village where he had a piece of steel removed from near the jugular vein.  He was in that English hospital for about two weeks.


Frederick also served in the Australian Home Defence Corps during WWII from 1942-44, when he was in his late forties, in 22 Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps (Qld).



In the evening of October 13, 1954 an outburst occurred in the deepest part of the Collinsville State Mine about one and a half kilometres from the entrance of the No 1 tunnel.  Seven men were killed when 900 tonnes of coal and stone was dislodged and blown 30 metres up the heading.

The accident claimed the lives of 7 people:  Alex Parkinson, Arthur Shrubsole, Frederick Ernest Walker, Henry Peterson, Herbert Ruff, James Reid Logan & Peter Miller.

Arthur (Hoppy) Shrubsole was the second son of Frederick William John Shrubsole & Mathilde Prohaska, a husband and a father & only 28 years old.   How his family must have mourned & missed him.





Brisbane, October 14 – A mass funeral was conducted this afternoon for the seven men who lost their lives in yesterday's mine disaster at Collinsville.  Throughout the day the little town, with a population of 2300, was in deep mourning for the dead men.  All business houses were closed for the day and the schools were closed at lunchtime.

Five nearby coal mines did not work today out of sympathy for the families of those killed in the disaster.  
The mines were Bowen Consolidated, New Ebbwvale, Haighmoor Extended, Mount Mulligan and Ogmore.

Waterside workers at Bowen also did not work today as a mark of respect for the seven victims who lost their lives during the inrush of black damp as they worked underground mine from the tunnel entrance.

The men were buried in separate graves side by side in the Collinsville cemetery after a mass service in the Anzac Hall.

More than 2000 people attended the funeral, which was more than a mile long.  Six hundred cars and trucks were used to carry the mourners;  35 miners and 150 other unionists marched with the funeral for half of the mile and a half journey to the cemetery.  They rode the rest of the way on trucks.  

Because only one grave digger is employed in Collinsville it was necessary for the workmates of the dead men to dig the graves.

There were heart-rending scenes at the gravesides.  The seven caskets were lowered into their graves simultaneously.  So pitiful were the cries and moans of the relatives of the dead men that many men, who had never seen the victims during their lifetime, openly wept.

Throughout today telegrams from all over Australia went to Collinsville.

Brisbane waterside workers stood in silence at the pick-up centre this morning as a mark of respect before the funeral.


One of the two miners rescued from the tunnel, Robert Conrad Munro, told reporters:  “I was working about 100 yards from the other men when I saw gas coming towards me and ran from it.  All I could see was a white fog as the gas rolled towards me.  After I got clear I knew I had got some of the gas, but I tried to get back to the other men by another route.  That was the last I remember until I woke up in hospital.”

The second rescued man:  Alexander Ross Baker, said:  “I heard the men calling out 'run, run' and I ran from the mine.  I do not remember very clearly what happened, but some of my mates helped me to the surface.”

Miners Union officials claimed tonight that the preto breathing equipment at Collinsville State mine had so deteriorated that it could not be used in the rescue operation.  


The secretary of the Collinsville branch of the Miner's Union (Mr Jim Nesbitt) said that the miners would not return to the mine until the Government had made a full investigation into the disaster and ensured that safety measures were taken to guard against a repetition of the disaster.  Mr. Nesbitt said:  “We told the State Government over the last few months that we were dissatisfied with the conditions of mechanisation.  We told the Government we were not satisfied with the health conditions in the mine, particularly with reference to dust.  We warned it that we would strike a fault in which noxious gases would be found.  That this was likely has been proven over a number of years.  Rescue equipment has been here for a number of years and we have tried to train a rescue squad with it, but only last week an expert examined it and it was found to be in such a bad state of repair that it was useless.”


Mr Nebsitt said that no resuscitator was available in the mine when the men were gassed last night.  A resuscitator was available on the surface, but nobody was present to direct it's use.  “We are demanding a full inquiry into the health and safety of our members in the mine and we will not return to work until we are satisfied that adequate safety measures are taken.” Mr Nesbitt said.

The manager of the mine (Mr. A. Winstanley) said today that he believed the men were killed when a pocket of carbon monoxide gas within the coal seam was liberated and asphyxiated them.  He said that the disaster occurred in the deepest part of the mine, about a mile from the entrance.  Rescuers entered the mine within minutes of the disaster, but were unable to save any of the men trapped in the gas.


Ipswich October 14 – Sympathy stoppages occurred at three mines today as a result of the Collinsville disaster.  The idle mines reported to the Queensland Collieries Employee's Union were New Ebbwvale, Haighmoor and Mt Mulligan.  

Union officials who flew north this morning to assist in the investigation into the tragedy were Messrs. Q. Williams (general president of the Miners Federation), T.M. Millar (State vice-president), P. Conway and J. Pocock (check inspectors).

The State secretary (Mr. C. Tucker) said today that the general secretary of the Federation (Mr. G. Nielly) will also fly to Collinsville tomorrow morning to assist.  Mr. Tucker also revealed that he applied to the Minister for Mines for permission to allow the Northern New South Wales check inspector (Mr. Barrett) to accompany Mr. Neilly.

The union had requested that Mr. Barrett be allowed to inspect the Collinsville mine earlier this year, but the request was rejected.


Brisbane, October 14 – A report on the reason for the tragedy at the Collinsville State coal mine states that apparently an inrush of gas – natural CO2, free nitrogen, possibly with some H2S (hydrogen sulphide) – from a fault line had followed the blasting of the coal face.

The report has been made by the Chief Inspector of Mines (Mr. T. Platt), who also reported that the inrush had been so great and of such pressure as to foul the air in several working places.  By the use of brattice and auxiliary fans the noxious gases should be soon cleared.  Such an inrush of noxious gas would be unexpected.

In Platt's knowledge there had been no such precedent on the coalfield.

The report was released by the Premier (Mr. Gair) in Parliament today.

Mr. Gair said that the manager of the mine (Mr. Winstanley) confirmed the point that a blow of gas from the faulted face had been responsible, and an inquiry would be held at the earliest possible moment.

Mr. Gair also announced in Parliament that he had sent telegrams to the next of kin of the seven men who lost their lives and two to the miners who were in hospital.

The telegram to the next of kin stated:  “Deeply grieved to learn your very sad loss and, on behalf of myself and Cabinet colleagues, desire to convey our profound sympathy.  At this sorrowful time we hope your grief will by some extent be alleviated by the comfort of your friends and sympathy of the the public in general.”

The Premier said he had instructed the Stipendiary Magistrate, at Bowen to represent the Government at the funerals of the victims.  If simultaneous funerals were held the Stipendiary Magistrate would be assisted by the Clerks of Petty Sessions at Bowen and Collinsville and by Mr. Platt, Chief Inspector of Coal Mines.

Member of Parliament today stood with bowed heads as a mark of sympathy for the relatives of those killed in the disaster and those injured.  They were carrying a motion of deepest sympathy moved by the Premier and seconded by the Opposition Leader (Mr. Nicklin).


CANBERRA, October 14

Sympathy of the Federal Parliament will be conveyed by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) to relatives of the seven miners who lost their lives at the Collinsville colliery in Queensland yesterday.

Mr. Menzies told the House of Representatives that he would do what any Government would do in the circumstances.

Mr. Riordan (Lab., Q.) said that Mr. Davidson (C.P., Q.) joined with him in asking Mr. Menzies to convey the deepest sympathies of Parliament to the bereaved relatives.

The Collinsville & Scotville Miners Memorial Day

October 13th

Memorial Day was initiated in 1997 as a means of honouring the 26 miners who lost their lives in the winning of coal on this field.

Some information can be found on U Tube

URL: www.youtube.com/watch?v=84kBU2Y8GXg

There is also a facebook page for the Collinsville & Scotville Miners Memorial Day


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