|Marie and John Kinnear
Retired Coal Mine Surveyor
I was born in Scotland and came to Canada in 1926, when I was 12 years old. I'm from a family of coal miners. My grandfather was a miner in Scotland and my mother worked in a large shaking-and-screening plant. She was on the tables, picking the slate out of the coals.
During the '30s, I got my architect's diploma from Tech. I worked for seven years at the International Mine until they found out I had a diploma - then they shoved me into the office. I spent the first ten years of office work changing the International plant from a dry to a wet washery. I built the briquette plant in the '50s when the railway switched to diesel. Then I ran the plant for a year. I should add that I also have a fireboss ticket and a provisional mine manager's certificate.
I married a coal miner's daughter from Inverness, Nova Scotia. Her dad started in coal mining when he was nine, cranking a fan by hand for ten hours a day. He'd fall asleep on the job until a miner would come down and rap him on the head with a pick handle. He ended as one of the best contract miners in Coleman. There's a technique to mining coal, and he knew it.
In 1978, our son (who has his fireboss ticket) was very active working for the mine rescue team. He took the Alberta championship for Coleman Collieries. Then he won the National in Nova Scotia.
I have one son working at the Line Creek Coal Mine in British Columbia, not far from here.