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Blue Sky Mine

by

Midnight Oil



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

The song refers to the Wittenoom asbestos mine in Western Australia where blue asbestos was mined between 1947 and 1966. The once-thriving town is now a virtual ghost town. Shops are boarded up, the 2 schools are closed, the local cinema is derelict. In their ignorance, the original settlers used asbestos in gardens, school yards and roads. Wittenoom is without doubt Australia's greatest industrial disaster and it is estimated that 25% of the 20,000 men who mined asbestos there will die from related diseases. (thanks, Darryl - Kitchener, Canada)
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Comments (7):

Definitely and Defiant! Blue Sky Mining is nothing less than an absolute horror story about the tragedy of Wittenoom
-a dark moment in Australia's history. In the title song to their best album, Midnight Oil speak out again environmental rape. The tragedy of Wittenoom is such that Aussie rock scribe Toby Creswell called Wittenoom "One of the greatest and most despicable acts of corporate bastardry the 20th Century had ever seen or witnessed. In this shocker of an Oils rocker, Peter Garret screams and writes in an Aussie rage "Who's gonna save me?" Peter gets the sad news that asbestos has claimed the lives
of the miners. Peter takes action. So he takes the mining company to Aussie Court. Across the Outback back east to Canberra, the Desert Mine is found guilty of murder by asbestos. In Parliament at Canberra, Peter wins his case and he rages in his thick Brit-Aussie Voice as he wails the Harp "Never Again! The Case Is Closed! You Will Pay for What You've Done!
- Leo, Westminster 1, MD
China Jim, The song is about how a huge Australian Company screwed over it's worker's by not telling them of the danger's of asbestos and until resently took no responsability for their actions. This company owned the Asbestos mines "and" the australian sugar refineries. Cold Chisel's song Taipan - "C.S.R is the sugar-cane king"
- Phoenix, Warrnambool, Australia
In America, a similar environmental disaster happened in Libby-Montana, where hundreds of residents have died from Asbestos-related diseases due to the mining operations in the Zonolite company (later acquired by W.R. Grace). A great book by Andrew Schneider and David McCumber, named "An Air That Kills", tells the whole story.
- Marcos, Orlando, FL
This song has beautiful melodic verse and chorus and is sung with such power and emotion its almost scary!
- Dave, Sydney, Australia
Apparently, Blue Sky Mining was based on a book called Blue Murder, written by a sufferer of asbestos illness. Even today, the people incharge of the company and the mine are holding back compensation and support for the miners who are suffering from the blue asbestos. Hence the lines "The balance sheet is breaking up the sky" (the company is making a huge profit) while the miners are "caught at the junction, still waiting for medicine".

I've lived up north in the Pilbara all my life. I've traveled all over Australia, and very few places match the areas beauty.
- Max, Karratha, Australia
I always thought this was a song of profound sadness. The narrator sounds like he's completely helpless to save himself. "And if the Blue Sky Mining Company won't come to my rescue/ And if the sugar refining company won't save me/ Who's gonna save me" Those two places are the last two places he'll get help.
- jim, qinhuangdao, China
Indeed this song is about Wittenoom. Situated now as a ghost town, or perhaps a town torn down, it is surrounded by the most beautiful country on earth but has the most horrible past. Many Australians still die from asbestosis from working these mines. Cool waterholes amongst a spectacular rocky country, spinifex and aboriginal rock carvings, kangaroos tamed by tourists...........Time stands still******
- Frank, Western Australia, WA
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