Miners' Clothing 1826
To the Editors of The Australian:
Sir, I am a settler in this district; but, being at Newcastle about eight days ago, I had occasion to call at the Police Office. On going there, I was surprised, and, I may say alarmed, at finding the door surrounded by six or seven men, ragged, barefooted, and as black as coal dust could well make them; in fact, they were terrific looking figures. Seeing the clerk belonging to the office, come to the door, I ventured to approach; when I heard these persons who it seems, were miners, ask for shoes and clothing; at the same time complaining, that they had not been supplied with any, since the beginning of last September; and that their feet were in so bad a state ( and which indeed, I could perceive), that they were scarcely able to stand.
The poor fellows were told, that there were neither shoes nor clothing, in the stores; but, as soon as any arrived, they would be supplied. They retired on this assurance, peaceably, certainly, but with a very discontented air. Much has been said about the management of the Newcastle coal mines, and the difficulty that exists, of procuring coals, to meet the demand for them, but, if the miners be left without shoes or clothing, what else can be expected? It cannot be a matter of surprise, if men in their condition are driven to desperation.
I have been informed, that three of the men concerned in the recent piratical attempt upon the schooner Gurnet are miners; and, it is not at all improbable, that they composed part of the men I saw in front of the Police Office,
I am, Sir your obedient servant.
The Australian 3 May 1826