George Herbert Broome ( 1866 - 1932)

Broome was a mine-manager who obtained his diploma of mining at Mason Science College, Birmingham. In 1888 he won the Queen’s medal in the mining examination of the Imperial College of Science and Technology, South Kensington. In 1890 Broome went to New Zealand and was general manager and engineer for the Westport-Wallsend Coal Co., Ngakawau, in 1890-92, the Westport-Cardiff Coal Co. Ltd, Mokihinui, in 1892-99, and the New Zealand Coal and Oil Co. at Kaitangata and Orepuki in 1899-1903.

In 1909 Broome successfully applied for the position of general manager of the new State Coal Mine at Wonthaggi, Victoria. He arrived to take up duty in March 1910, four months after the first coal had been shipped. He proved an able manager, the only man to achieve long-term commercial viability in a Victorian black coal-mine. His technological contributions included the introduction of a central power-station to operate the pits electrically. He devised most of the mechanical coal-handling plant at the Wonthaggi field, including a semi-automatic coal-tipper, a stone-tipping device, and remote control and four-way haulage engines.

In 1932 it was estimated that these inventions had saved £12,000 a year in wages. Described as ‘calm, just, considerate and urbane’, he could claim in 1909 that he had not had a strike in a colliery under his management. Despite the many disputes at Wonthaggi, he was respected by the miners for his policy of dealing with collective bodies, not individuals. Broome was chairman of the Victorian board of examiners for coal-mine managers in 1910-32, a member of the Institute of Mining Engineers and a councillor of the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. He was a certificated water-supply engineer and municipal surveyor.

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