Stocky's last ponies
Stockrington No 2’s pit ponies knew the weekend was arriving. They were stabled underground during the week. If not safely tied up on Fridays they would slip away in the darkness of the mine and head for the surface. On Friday afternoon ponies were led above ground and back to Stockrington No 1 for stabling, shoeing and a weekend of rest. The smithy and the stables remained there long after No 1 closed. Ponies returned to their underground stables on Sunday evening ready for the working week.
Ponies were not the only animals underground. Feed and the remains of crib attracted black rats. Pythons feasted on the rat population. There was a lively underground ecosystem.
Ponies Sam, King, Murphy, Bluey and Podge were retired in September 1983. Timmy, Silver, N**ger, Tommy and Tiger were the last ponies at Stocky. They retired just before Christmas in 1983.
Some of the ponies have names that we consider hurtful. We have included this information for historical context.
Tiger was the largest, with a white blaze and dark feathery legs. He was given to local mining historian Brian Andrews and lived out his last years in Killingworth. Tommy was the last pony to leave the mine on 23 December 1983, ridden out bareback by Maxy Jones.
By 1984 there was still feed in the bins and tack on the walls. But the underground stables at Stockrington No 2 were empty. The mine closed in 1988.
This work by Lake Macquarie City Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License