Broadcast NotesABC1233 'Local Treasures' Newcastle Quarries
27 August 2013
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewees: Ann Hardy
Quarries are part of Newcastle's cultural landscape and are subtle and often forgotten reminders of human occupation of the area. They exist only because something has been taken away, and not built, we often forget how much the landform has changed. Cultural landscapes are just as important as the built environment and other heritage items, symbolising the many layers of human occupation. Cultural landscapes and their stories are important parts of the Australian heritage discourse, and Newcastle has some exceptional examples as shown of Nobbys Headland and Macquarie Pier.
|Nobbys northern pier- Cultural Collections- University of Newcastle|
Another site that was quarried quite early was the Newcastle Government Domain (James Fletcher Hospital). Work began there in the 1830s when convict labour was used to prepare for the construction military buildings. A chain gang quarried the site levelling the ground to allow for the erection of rectangular military barracks and a parade ground. The quarried rock wall is visible today and is located at the southern side below Ordnance Street. The landform is now uninterrupted and almost the entire length of the quarried southern boundary and because previously much of the focus has been on built heritage and fabric, landscape features like the quarried rock wall at the Newcastle Domain have received little attention or acknowledgement until recently when the entire precinct was listed on the State Heritage Register.
A quarry at Waratah was in operation from
1857, believed to have been started by Mr Wright. However the larger quarries
at Waratah were Government owned and established in the mid 1860s. One of the
Government quarried was known as Whitman's Quarry located somewhere near the
town 'Commonage'. The Waratah quarries were the most significant in the
Newcastle area providing rock to build the southern breakwater at Nobbys, and
later in the early 20th Century the Northern breakwater. The stone was brought in
by rail and was also used in the extensive works to strengthen the harbour