gary smith
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  • oil on board
  • 40cm x 50cm
  • framed
  • Sold
  • …On a hard winters day the coal would freeze in the hoppers and the hauling tractor would be used to break the ice seal. Rocking the giant hoppers until the coal broke free. The sacks had to be smashed off the side of the hoppers to loosen them up. Sometimes huge iced chunks of coal would fall from the hoppers bounce out of the scales. They could cause an injury if you were not wary. It was all hand filled, loaded on the wagon and then delivered on aching backs. Some places had long flights of stairs to get to the property. Climbing lots of stairs was a regular thing.
    Then the ice would begin to melt and run down the back of your head and down the inside of your clothes. At times it would look like you were crying as the rivulets of water would drip off your head and run down your face causing little streaks through the caked on coal dust. You’d slip on the ice, lose your footing or drop the coal bag. I’d go home at the end of the day and mum would lay newspaper on my bed. Sometimes I was too tired to eat or wash; I’d go straight to sleep….
    Prints available.

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  1. Nicholas Page avatar
    Nicholas Page Jun 11, 2011

    Really like this picture as I always wanted to be a coalman when I grew up!

  2. Gary Smith avatar
    Gary Smith Jun 13, 2011

    Hi Nicholas
    thanks for the comment. it’s always appreciated. i used to be a coalman, so i tried to reflect in the painting the hard, dirty work it was, especially so when it rained, or during winter when it was extremely slippy on the ice

    Gary Smith