Minnie Burke, Coal Miner's Widow, New Victoria

I can remember when I was four years old and my father, a coal miner, went away to the Springhill Mines.

My husband Joe didn't die in the pit. He took miner's asthma and I never got a single cent. He started mining when he was 14. I was glad when he got out of the pits - I don't like coal mining. I was 22 when I got married and I'm 75 now. As old as I am, I could have been married 15 times. That's the god's truth.

Joe was good to me. He wouldn't let me smoke. You just had to do what he said. We had ten children, six sons and four daughters. By the crying Moses, I would take a thousand kids tomorrow, if I was younger.

I don't like living in the senior's lodge - you can't do nothing except play cards and tell stories. Oh my God, we used to sit up for hours, telling stories.

I still go to the Heather Beverage Room every Wednesday night but the damn old drums deafen me - bloody old drums. I still play the harmonica at the Heather. I'd like to get a good mouth organ, one with double reeds. I gave my old one to my son. I used to play the accordion but I gave that up. We all loved music.

Oh, I used to sing good songs, old country songs. I knew lots of songs! Holy smoking Moses, I'd follow the piper to the devil.