Australian Mining Corps

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The Australian Mining Corps was formed during WWI as a suggestion of Prof T.W. Edgeworth from the University of Sydney, who at the time urged that the exceptional skills of the Australian mining industry should be utilised at the front. The Corps was formed in Australia in 1915 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Albert Cecil Fewtrell.[1]

Initially the Australian Mining Corps comprised 6 companies. When they arrived in Europe this was reduced to the 1st Tunnelling Company, 2nd Tunnelling Company and 3rd Tunnelling Company, and a little later the Alphabet Company.

The original Corps were equipped as engineers while subsequent reinforocements were equipped as infantry. Further call ups were answered with enthusiasm, and by the end of the war 9611 diggers had ambarked Australian shores.[2]


Arthur Kemp; Frederick Daniel


The first representative unit of Australia, comprising men from all the States, is shortly to leave for special trench work at the front. This is the Australian Mining Corps, under Col. Fewtrell, and with Major Professor David, who has done so much for the mining communities, as geological expert. A comforts depot has been open ed at Robson's Canberra House. Elizabeth and Liverpool streets, Sydney, with Mrs C. T. Royle as secretary and Misses Mills and Royle as assistants, and Mrs A. A. Cohen as treasurer. They are appealing for help, for workers, and gifts for the men, and hope that, all interested in mining will find means to assist them. The cause is certainly a good one.[3]

The Australian Tunnelling Company
London, Tuesday.
Mr. Philip Gibbs, special correspondent to the "Daily Chronicle" on the Western front, narrating the work of the Australian tunnellers, says:-"I went beneath 'No Man's Land' recently, walking along galleries for hours, guided by an officer of the Australian Tunnelling Company, which had done the greater part of the subterranean work during the last two years. They are mostly gold-miners from West Australia and they are hard and tough, and, with their own code of discipline and work, but all experts are proud of their job and courage. When the West Australians came to France the Germans were always busy mining the British lines, but it is many months since such a state of affairs existed, for the Germans have been beaten out of the field by the British, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand miners, who challenged the enemy at every opportunity." Mr. Gibbs mentions an instance of an Australian tunneller who heard the Germans tamping a mine and gave them a race for it. They had to drive at thrice the enemy's speed, which they can always do and when all out. The Australians blew in the enemy's gallery and went in with bayonets and revolvers. The enemy escaped, but his entire system was destroyed. The Germans now know that they are beaten and this Australian company is proud of the fact that, apart from its own casualties, not a single infantryman has been killed by hostile mining since they challenged the enemy. The Australians live underground mostly and there are many pale faces. They play cards in their spare time and carve time and carve faces on the chalk walls of the tunnels. [4]

Australian Mining Corps Headquarters

Hubert Henry Carroll

Archibald Chisholm

External Links

Australian Mining Corps in Malta -

Also See

Alphabet Company

1st Tunnelling Company

2nd Tunnelling Company

3rd Tunnelling Company

4th Tunnelling Company

5th Tunnelling Company

6th Tunnelling Company

Unidentified Companies

James Adams; William H. Barnes; John S. Bell; Sydney H. Bone; Francis Bruce; Daniel Cahir; William T. Clark; Robert T. Cooke; Thomas W. Cullen; James S. Daly; Thomas Daly; Thomas Davies; William Doherty; Sydney C. Dubout; Charles Ferrari; George W. Fawkner; William J. Giles; Robert A. Green; James W. Hambleton; Patrick J. Hanley; Timothy E. Hanley; Percy W. Hocking; Peter Lawrence; William J. Lakeland; Leslie J. Lambert; Harry Manchester; William Paisley; William J. Pascoe; James Patterson; William Pearce (1); William Pearce (2); James Power; James A. Reid; Robert J. Robinson; Timothy Ryan; Robert A. Sampson; William T. Sayer


  1., accessed 22 November 2014.
  2. Thomas, Ross, Underground: A Tribute to the Tunnellers of the Great War 1914-1918, SP, 08 July 1994.
  3. Kyneton Guardian, 29 February 1916.
  4. Albury Advertiser, 6 March 1918.