Patron saint of miners St Barbara lights the way for Forrestfield-Airport tunnel works

The Italian company’s statue of St Barbara.
The Italian company’s statue of St Barbara.

A STATUE of the patron saint of miners has been placed at the entrance to Perth’s latest tunnel project.

Salini Impregilo project director Richard Graham said St Barbara had been a guide to miners for 100s of years.

“Until very recently, I’d say less than 10 years ago, there were many mines in the world where women were not allowed in the tunnel,” he said.

“It was considered very bad luck.

“Santa Barbara’s saint’s day is December 4. All miners will not work on this day. They will celebrate. You usually have a mass or religious ceremony inside the tunnel.

“It is held very dearly. Miners are very suspicious people, maybe a bit like fishermen.”

The statue is at the entrance to the Forrestfield-airport tunnel in a cubicle.

“When the miners go in they can feel what they feel or say what they say,” Mr Graham said before tunnelling began recently.

“It is very important, a very emotional attachment.

“She will probably have a candle next to her; two candles burning all the time.”

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