Photograph [Coster's open face coal pit, Mataura]; unknown photographer; 1892-19...


Photograph [Coster's open face coal pit, Mataura]

About this object

A black and white photograph depicting five male employees posing at Coster's open face coal mining pit. A railway line can be seen running across the centre of the photograph. The men are standing near a laden horse-drawn dray, and the man on the far left is leaning on a wide forked scoop.

On the reverse of the mounting, the employees names are given as:
Pearson, Dick
Coster, Gus
Martin, Pat
McAskill, Dan

Open-cast mining was hard physical work and conditions of employment could be tough, but occasionally there were lighter moments - always welcomed by the workers, such as when the boss would 'shout' a keg of alcohol. But at Coster's mine 'this operation had to be carried out discreetly as Mrs Coster, a staunch prohibitionist, had on more than one occasion caused great despondency among the workforce by turning on the tap and emptying the keg some time before the thirsty workers lined up' - a disappointment obviously keenly felt by the men. (Taken from the book 'Mataura: City of the Falls' page 147.)

Place Made

New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Mataura


unknown photographer

Maker Role



photograph, black and white

Date Made


Medium and Materials

processed material, paper

Inscription and Marks

On the front of photograph, just right of centre is a long green strip, beginning at the top edge and running straight down approximately three quarters of the photograph. Near the top of the green strip, and running for approximately 37mm is a white mark. There are also a few brown spots over the photograph. The mounting shows much wear and tear, and brown spotting. All corners are damaged, and both corners on the left-hand side and also the top right are missing. The reverse of the mounting shows torn edges from another piece of paper having been removed from it. Written in blue pen: 'W. R. Coster (crossed out) / Muriel Coster / At Costers Coal Pit / Dick Pearson, Redman, Gus Coster, / Pat Martin, Dan McAskill.'




h 204mm x w 303mm


Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords

genealogy/personal and family names

Credit Line

From the collection of the Mataura and Districts Historical Society Incorporated.

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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