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The man behind the Beaconsfield Mine rescue.


Beaconsfield Tasmania. At 5.45pm on the 30th April, rescue workers discovered that Todd Russell and Brant Webb were still alive. What followed was an incredible coordination effort by dozens of rescue workers who were now focused on getting the miners out.

Sitting at home watching this unfold was explosive expert Darren Flanagan. That Sunday night Darren received a phone call that would change his life for ever. So began one of the most amazing rescue attempts in history.

The Rescue:

What Darren was about to attempt had never been tried before in the World, let alone in an attempt to tunnel to two trapped miners. A highly regarded explosives expert, Darren spent five days trying to re-fine an explosive charge that would tunnel through the rock without killing the miners.

After 29 hours of non-stop exhaustive blasting that left Darren physically and emotionally exhausted, Darren was able to eventually blast to within 300mm of the trapped miners enabling rescuers to get to Todd and Brant and complete this phenomenal rescue.

Talking Points

The Great Escape

That one phone call changed Darren’s life from being an ordinary family man into one of the real heroes of the “Great Escape”. His story is emotive, dramatic and extraordinary. It’s one of endurance and the triumph of the human spirit. As a result of the rescue, Todd and Brant nicknamed Darren “The Gun”.

In this emotional and truly memorable session, Darren will share his story and in doing so, demonstrate the capacity of ordinary people to show unrelenting spirit and perform under extreme pressure when faced with a set of extraordinary circumstances.

Darren’s presentations are always passionate and thrilling however Darren includes a mix of humour as well to ensure audiences are taken on a roller coaster ride. He draws guests into a real life drama. His presentation and stories are truly memorable. Darren is considered by the industry to be one of the very best motivational and inspirational speakers in Australia.

Mental Health

Many people are unaware that 9 big tough muscly miners all fell over with mental health problems after the Beaconsfield mine rescue had been completed. Darren Flanagan was no exception.

Along with the other men from the rescue, Darren struggled and hid this from the world because big tough men don’t have mental health issues, big tough men can fix anything so he just fought on with a battle that he could not win by himself. It was only after Darren had discovered that a lot of other men had needed help did he admit to himself and his family that he was hiding something from them and got the help that he needed.

Darren’s story lets other men know that you don’t have to be involved in an extreme situation like a rescue or war, to have depression and other mental health issues. Darren lets them know that you can have marriage and work issues, someone that you love may have passed away or you can just be the first person on the scene of an accident and see tragedy and your life can be changed forever.
Darren reaches out to all audiences and hits them right between the eyes with the reality of mental health.

Lifestyle & Wellbeing

  • Mental Health


  • Resilience
To say it was an interesting, absorbing and dramatic presentation would not be doing it justice. Darren Flanagan's talk was electrifying, emotional and detailed. His description of the rescue operation and the conditions the miners survived in, made us all understand, not only the enormity of the operation and the delicacy of the final preparations to break through to the miners as well as the extreme conditions that rescuers and rescued were sharing but how the Aussie spirit shone through. As well as privileged, we were enthralled, thrilled but most of all thankful to have such a dinkum, brave Aussie speaker to share his extreme experience with us. Shoalhaven Council
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