Ronald Albert Cairns


Ron Cairns joined the mining industry as an apprentice electrician in 1944 and achieved accreditation as a Mine Electrician, Mine Deputy, Mine Undermanager and Manager of Electrical Engineering. He was appointed Manager Engineering, BHP Steel Division Collieries in 1979 with responsibility for engineering at all BHP coal mining operations within the Illawarra and Newcastle coalfields.

Ron became a graduate member of AusIMM in 1957 and was Illawarra Branch Chairman in 1958-59. He authored the chapter ‘Electricity in Coal Mining’ in AusIMM Monograph 12 Australasian Coal Mining Practice for Edition 1 in 1986, Edition 2 in 1993 and Edition 3 in 2009.

On behalf of the Mineral Heritage Subcommittee of the Illawarra Branch, he was editor of two books on the History of Coal Mining in the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and Burragorang Valley. The first volume was published in 2010 and the second in 2017. These volumes provide a comprehensive history of coal mining in the NSW southern and adjacent coalfields and can be purchased from the AusIMM shop in print or as an e-book.

Currently Ron is Project Manager for the Illawarra Heritage Trail, which provides a virtual tour of the early mineral industries in the Illawarra.

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