Hugh Frederick Moodie EM

b. 1870 Wallsend, New South Wales. d. 01/09/1923 Bellbird Colliery, New South Wales.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 01/09/1923 Bellbird Colliery, New South Wales.

Hugh F Moodie EM

Hugh was the fourth of seven children born to William and Sarah Augusta Moodie (nee Davey). He could have been born in either Wallsend or Plattsburg, both New South Wales. His father died suddenly in 1895, and in 1901, Hugh married Emma Mounter in Waratah, New South Wales. Hugh and Emma would have two sons, William and Frederick. Tragically, William died aged just 1 in 1908, just prior to the birth of his younger brother. Following Hugh’s death at Bellbird Colliery, he was buried in Sandgate Cemetery, Newcastle, New South Wales in the family plot.



The fire started just after the afternoon shift had commenced work. Moodie, a deputy on the afternoon shift, entered the mine about 1 p.m. and was proceeding to his work when he met the day-shift deputies returning, who reported that all was in order. He continued on his way but soon encountered dense smoke. He went back to the day-shift deputies, told them what he had found and then went forward alone to try to rescue his men. He was an experienced deputy and must have been fully aware of the risk he was taking. He was not seen alive again, but when the mine was re-opened his body was found in a position which showed that he must have travelled over a thousand yards in his efforts to save the men.


At about 2.30 p.m., on the same day Brown and other volunteers from neighbouring collieries entered the mine on rescue work. They found two men, one of whom it was thought might be alive, but the air was so bad that the rescuers were forced to retreat. After two further attempts Brown was successful in reaching the bodies and spent twenty minutes in a vain attempt at resuscitation. He then, accompanied by another man, pushed on but was driven back by foul air and returned to the surface to organise rescue parties. He descended with one party, recovered four bodies and took them safely to the surface. He then descended for the third time and penetrated to the most forward point then reached, when an explosion occurred. Brown was seriously affected by the fumes and urged his companions to leave him and go on. His companions tried to help him, but in response to his urgent entreaties finally left him lying in the tunnel where his body was afterwards discovered.