The following story is about a new miner who has been added to our database. His name was found by one of our research volunteers, David McMillan. He brought to my attention the following article:-
Truth Saturday 10 June 1905, page 1
“An Italian miner met his death recently at Moolyella near Marble Bar (Pilbarra goldfield). Although an undertaker was located within an hour’s drive of the accident, the dead man was not vouchsafed the decency of a wooden covering. No one seemed concerned about his fate. No one troubled, for he was ‘only a Dago’ whom nobody owned He was flung on a stretcher, covered with a blanket, and lowered into a shaft which he had previously assisted to sink. The manner in which the dead body was treated was shockingly callous, and calls for official inquiry. Dago, Chow, Jap or aboriginal, the dead body was entitled to a decent burial.”
I find this quite shocking and most unusual. Miners always seem to have the greatest respect for other miners especially in the case of an accidental death. I have seen many efforts made by fellow workers to make sure that the deceased is buried with proper decency. It never seems to matter what nationality the miner had been, he is ‘one of them’. I note that the above article does not even mention his name.
Martin Boffalora was aged 41yrs, he was a married man from Cortena in Italy. He left there a wife, and four children. His wife’s name was Domenica Bianch DI MARTINO. I wonder if his family were ever informed about his fate?
I have checked the whole of the Department of Mines Annual Report for 1905 and this accident, and what subsequently happened to Martin, is not even mentioned. At lease we now have his name on the Western Australian Virtual Miners Memorial so he will not be forgotten.
REF:- More Lonely Graves by Yvonne and Kevin Coate pg 98 Vol 1
REF:- To the Bar Bonded by Kathleen Mallett