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The Coal Face

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  7 reviews
"The smoke got thicker and darker and then it seemed to be coming from everywhere, swirling around until it blanketed the entire town . . ."

On 9 February 2014 a fire took hold in Victoria's Hazelwood coal mine next to Morwell and burned for one and a half months. As the air filled with toxic smoke and ash, residents of the Latrobe Valley became ill, afraid – and angry. Up
Paperback, first, 144 pages
Published March 25th 2015 by Penguin Books Australia
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May 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Trevor by: Tom Doig
Shelves: history
When I was an industrial officer for a trade union, I used to represent members at the two water companies in the Latrobe Valley. The first time I drove down to the Valley it was shortly after a bushfire had ripped through the place. As I got close to Traralgon I thought I could smell the after effects of the fire, a kind of sickly sweet smell of damp embers hanging in the air. It was only later, on subsequent trips when the fire was a distant memory, that I realised what I had actually been sme ...more
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
These short Penguin books pack quite a punch. This was a very interesting and confronting read about the Hazelwood coal mine fire in Morewell, which burned for over a month and caused many of the residents in the area to become very ill and some even died as a result of the toxins in the area. It is perhaps one of Victoria's biggest natural disasters along with the Black Saturday fires of 2009. The big difference however is that it is the belief of many experts that this disaster could have been ...more
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this a lot. The first half is an account of the fire itself and the political and economic background of privatisation and short-sighted cost-cutting decisions that opened Hazelwood up to a 45 day fire. The second half is more like Community Organising: A Case Study and follows the ways a small, dedicated group of Morwell residents organised to hold the government and private operators to account. That all sounds pretty dry but Tom's writing style is a pleasure - an easy read and under ...more
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Essential reading

Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thought this would have been boring but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this was to read. It was engaging and the nitiy grity facts about the Hazelwood mine was written in a way that wasn't dry which I thought would be impossible.

The third part about how the community of Morwell rallied together to get more recognition and assistance from the government was really heart warming and made me proud to live in the Latrobe Valley.

It's a really weird but satisfying feeling when you read not
Jean Poole
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Coal Face is a remarkable account of how "possibly the worst incident of environmental pollution" in Victoria's history - was entirely preventable - and worse, given the clusterfuck of events outlined by Doig, was entirely predictable.

While much of the book is dedicated to mapping out the conditions and decision making that lead to the devastating coal mine fire - Doig also manages to weave in intimate personal reports while exploring the public health consequences and subsequent political
Pauline M
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
An account of events leading up to the Morwell fire and its aftermath.
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Tom Doig is an author, PhD candidate and moron. Moron to Moron: two men, two bikes, one Mongolian misadventure (2013) is his first book.
The Coal Face (2015), about the 2014 Hazelwood coalmine fire, is his second book.

Tom was born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand. He moved to Melbourne ‘for a year’ in 2001 and has been there ever since.

Tom’s non-fiction has been published in The Big Issue, Ne

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