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Mining Glossary

With so many ancestors being linked to the mining industry I wanted to know what sort of jobs they did. The following table is a “non exclusive” list of jobs undertaken in the coalfield. I have tried to get the meanings from the 1850’s to 1920’s
If there is any historical inaccuracy, or I have the definition just plain wrong, then please e-mail me with the correct details. I have started with jobs I know that people I am researching have done and may expand it from there.



Accredited Agent

a person designated in accordance with the provisions of section 121 of the Minerals Act as the accredited agent for the holder of a mining licence or a mining claim


in relation to a shaft means the station situated on the surface


A competent person duly authorized to supervise the lowering and raising of persons, material or rock in a conveyance at the bank and to give the necessary signals.Also referred to as a bank manager or browman


Work mate

Catch Knocker

Operating cages at pit bottom or intermediate landings

Coal Inspector

Supervising the filling of coal to avoid unnecessary dirt being fined with the coal

Coal Stower

Loading hand picked coal into wagons by hand


Getting and filling coal on to conveyor or into trams; setting necessary supports, on either machine cut or hand got faces; hewing coal by hand got methods; engaged on stall work and responsible for taking forward rippings, etc., carrying out any operation in connection with a mechanized heading or long-wall face; hewing coal with pneumatic picks; driving a close place or opening out on pick work in coal; developing headings in coal; preparatory to opening out stalls; filling coal into trams in hand filled and drawn system; filling coal on the face.

Conveyor Loader

Loading coal delivered by conveyors into drams at loading points


A Tram or truck to carry coal


Fine small coal

Engine Man

Operator of the Haulage Engine


Like Collier - someone who worked at the coalface


Person in charge of a Pit Pony

Holing out

The collier would dig a narrow channel into the bottom of the coal seam, in order to release the coal above, sometimes referred to as "cutting his legs off".


Usually about 25 drams hitched together with shackles, hauled in and out from the pit bottom by an endless or main and tail steel rope.

Journey-man or Rider

A man who looked after the Journey.

Loco Cleaner

Employed in loco sheds cleaning boilers; cleaning, filling sandboxes; lighting loco fires and getting up steam in preparation to moving out

Loco Driver (underground)

Driving underground locomotives for haulage of coal, materials, etc., including men

Loco Driver

Driving locomotives in and about colliery premises as well as main line travelling and long hauls on colliery private lines, hauling either men or materials

Loco Guard

In charge of a train drawn by locomotive for transport of coal, materials, etc., including men

Loco Road Layer

Laying and maintaining tracks used by locomotives


Person in charge of the horse’s welfare at the underground stables.


Laying and maintaining railway tracks


Maintenance and repairs of haulage tracks on the surface

Tub Tippler Operator

Operating coal or dirt tub tipper

Wagon Tippler Operator

Operating railway wagon tippler

Wagon Trimmer

Responsible for the proper loading of wagons; leveling coal on wagons; examination and top trimming of coal in wagons before

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