ON THE WALL: Brent Illguth,  Glencore Community Advisor Quinton Bruwer and Lewis Williams in front of the new mural in Collinsville.
ON THE WALL: Brent Illguth, Glencore Community Advisor Quinton Bruwer and Lewis Williams in front of the new mural in Collinsville. Jordan Gilliland

PIT PONY: Town marks 100 years of mining with new mural

COLLINSVILLE is known as the Pit Pony capital, and a new mural has continued to cement the animal's importance to the town's history.

The mural, erected earlier last week, is part of the ongoing celebrations surrounding 100 years of mining in Collinsville.

The mural, funded by mining company Glencore, who operate the open cut mine in Collinsville, depicts the stories of the iconic pit ponies and the relationship that was held between man and animal.

The addition of the mural is a continuation of the visual improvement of Collinsville, and an effort to give tourists more to enjoy when entering the area.

Sue Clark, one of the organisers of the mural, said that the photo of the miner and horses was chosen by different groups before they even had a chance to discuss which image to use.

"When this project was starting and we were looking for photos, this one felt like it really encompassed the relationship between miners and pit pony," Ms Clark said.

"Coincidentally enough this was the photo that Glencore was thinking of too so it was perfect.

"The photo really demonstrated that pit ponies weren't just a tool to the miners, they were friends and they had personalities."

It's a sentimental moment for Collinsville miner Lewis Williams, with the man depicted on the mural being his late father Laurie Williams.

A fifth generation family of Collinsville, Mr Williams said that having his dad up in the mural was an "honour and a privilege."

"You can't understate what a big deal it is to see your father up on a wall in a town he loved so much," Mr Williams said.

"Dad was a miner and a handler of the ponies. When anyone mentions the pit ponies, they talk about him. He really was connected to the story of those horses.

"He told us all of the stories about the horses, they weren't just tools to the miners they were workmates.

"The horses were union members, they went on smoko with them, they knew when it was break time and they all had their own unique personalities. They were mates to the miners."

Residents can also look forward to the rejuvenation of other murals in the town in the upcoming weeks.

The mural begins a series of celebrations leading into the celebration of 100 years of mining at the Pit Pony Festival on July 20.


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