Gunnedah Miners Support Group is gearing up for big celebrations.
Group chair Colleen Fuller said hundreds will mark a major milestone on the weekend.
“It’s 140 years of coal mining in Gunnedah,” she said.
“We’ve looked deeper into it and the first hole was sunk in 1877.
“I think it’s very exciting.”
Anniversary events will kick off with a parade on Conadilly Street on Saturday at 11am, with NSW Fire & Rescue Gunnedah to lead the procession.
Other participants will include members of the Plains Pipes and Drums, Uke-Alypts and Gunnedah Shire Band. Gunnedah Vintage Vehicle Club will be out in force, ferrying retired miners. Mrs Fuller said all miners were welcome to join the march.
The street parade will finish up at Brock’s Court for a memorial service and laying of wreaths. A barbecue will follow.
In the evening, locals will take to the stage to receive apprentice of the year awards and a women's award, life memberships and scholarships. The weekend will wrap-up with an at informal breakfast at 9am on Sunday in the Gunnedah Town Hall.
Mrs Fuller has been chair of the Miners Support Group since it formed in 1997 and said she had seen “great change” over the decade.
“I’ve seen changes where women have been employed into the mining industry, which has been great and there’s been a lot of work done by people like Steve Keach who’s prepared to train women,” she said.
“He works with a lot of women and they told me how good he’s been training them with machinery and such.”
The employment of so many youth has also been positive, according to Mrs Fuller.
“I think that there have been a lot of people that are employed in the mines, younger people, which is good,” she said.
“What I have also seen, which is great, is [mining] companies working with local businesses.
“We’d like to see more of that.”
For assistance in joining the parade, contact Colleen Fuller on 0429 420 290.