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James Traise (1859–1887)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

James Traise (1859-1887) miner killed in mine explosion 

Birth: 1859 in Calinton, England, son of James Traise, miner, and Elizabeth, née Warrick. Marriage (1) c.1878 in Calinton, to Ellen Cook (details not found). (2) 19 October 1885 in St Michael’s Anglican church, Wollongong, New South Wales, to Annie Bonar, née Sproule, late Arnold (1851-1888), a widowed housekeeper, with nine children. They had one son who died in infancy. Death: 23 March 1887 at Bulli, New South Wales. Religion: Presbyterian. 

  • Arrived in Queensland as an assisted immigrant aboard the Corona on 6 March 1884.
  • Traise was working in the Bulli Mine Company’s pit at 2.30 pm on 23 March 1887 when an explosion killed him and eighty other mine employees.The only survivor was a 16-year-old youth, Herbert Cope.
  • After the explosion, the committee of the Bulli relief fund granted a bonus of £50 and annuity of £110 to “Annie Trais, widow, 36,” and her children. When Annie and her infant child by Traise died the following year the annuity ceased.
  • A special commission of inquiry in mid 1887, which was biased in favour of the government and the mining company, found that it was common to remove the safety gauze from around the flame of the oil safety lamps that were used at the mine. Both the miners and the management were criticised by the commission for their safety failures. However, as Don Dingdsdag writes, “the official inquiries failed to resolve the safety breaches that precipitated the disaster.”
  • Traise’s name is inscribed on the monument to the Bulli mine disaster, in Park Road, Bulli, erected in March 1888.

Donald P. Dingsdag, The Bulli mining disaster 1887: lessons from the past (Sydney 1993):

Additional Resources

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Traise, James (1859–1887)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 27 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]




23 March, 1887 (aged ~ 28)
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

mining accident

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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