Monday, October 30, 2006


Sandstone is tough stuff. It's the same stuff the Egyptian pyramids are made of and they've stood for yonks. It's a beautiful golden stone but it can also be cream, pale grey and even stripy.

Sandstone from the Gosford area has gone into buildings on the Central Coast, in Sydney, Canberra (national capital) and the Blue Mts just outside Sydney, to Victoria and Queensland (Australia) and also to Fiji, Norfolk and Japan.

Gosford quarry 1926

"Section of the old Gosford Quarry and works in 1926 just behind where the ...court house now stands." (Central Coast Express, 6th April 1988.)

The Courthouse is at the corner of Henry Parry Drive and Donnison Street. Henry Parry ran Gosford Quarries Ltd for 35 years or more.

Old quarry building site John Whiteway Drive Gosford

Old quarry building site John Whiteway Drive Gosford. (More 2006 photos.)

Gosford Quarries Ltd., quarrymasters and stonemasons, started in Gosford in the 1920s. The Gosford quarry was churning out 250,000 cubic feet of sandstone a year in the late 1950s and closed in 1974. The Central Coast Express said in April 1988 that “[o]perating a quarry in the heart of Gosford had become increasingly difficult for the company” hence the 1974 closing.

Gosford Township 1957 - 2005

Gosford Township 1957 - 2005. You can see a small section of the original quarry in the bottom right hand corner.

Gosford Quarries map
(Quarries circled in red, embiggulate map.)

On this map you'll notice quarries at Gosford, Wondabyne and Piles Creek/Somesby and also at Bulls Hill (middle left), Springfield and between Kincumber and Picketts Valley (top right).

There's no mention of Bulls Hill, Springfield (Redox Quarry) and Kincumber-Picketts Valley (unnamed quarry) in the 1960 and 1988 newspaper articles.

I did see "Woy Woy quarry" listed in the Gosford Library catalogue but the items were in the stack and I couldn't get at them. "Woy Woy quarry" might be the one at Bulls Hill. It's off Woy Woy Bay Road and maybe five minutes from Woy Woy as the crow flies.

"The Springfield Quarry ... was purchased by Council in 1997 as an operating quarry," says a June 2006 Gosford City Council report. That looks like the Redox quarry. I'm a bit too tired to translate the GovSpeak but it appears it is to become a rubbish tip.

Also in 1997 there was "a rare find of a large fossil of an amphibian in rocks from a local quarry at Kincumber" (more). The same site has pictures of the Kincumber-Picketts Valley quarry.

The Express Railway Electrification Souvenir of 1960 lists Gosford Quarries' sites as Gosford, Wondabyne, Piles Creek (Somersby) plus one in Maroubra (in Sydney). In 1960 there was also a sale yard in Annandale, a 19th century suburb of Sydney.

The Wondabyne site has been active again in the last couple of years. Catch the train up from Sydney. After Hawkesbury River station the train runs beside Mullet Creek. Keep an eye out on the ridge side of the tracks for Wondabyne station. It’s a tiny station with a house on one side and the quarry on the other.

The 1988 article says "[o]perations [at] Piles Creek started in 1948 [and were still going in 1988]... The Sydney-Newcastle freeway now passes directly through the Piles Creek quarry…”. Look west just before (coming from Sydney) the Kariong-Gosford off-ramp. Piles Creek runs from the end of Mooney Mooney Creek up to Somersby beside the F3. Quarry Road runs off the Pacific Highway (also parallel to the F3) on the Sydney side of the Australian Reptile Park.

Gosford Quarries sandstone on the Central Coast:

Commonwealth Bank corner Mann and Donnison Streets Gosford
Sculpture in Kibble Park Gosford
Old Sydney Town Somersby
Central Coast Leagues Club Dane Drive Gosford
Gosford City Council building Mann Street Gosford
Sydney County Council building Mann Street Gosford
Wyong Council building Anzac Avenue Wyong

In Sydney:

Mitchell Library Macquarie Street Sydney
St. Paul's Church Chatswood
Queen Victoria Building George Street Sydney
Sydney GPO George Street Sydney
Great Synagogue Elizabeth Street Sydney
St. Andrew's Cathedral George Street Sydney


Anonymous said...

Embiggulate, now that, is an excellent word.

nick cetacean said...

Orf-topic but:

I used to know you a blogger of 'when crustaceans attack' a year or so ago. I'm blogging again with 'whale sushi':

Juat thought you'd like to know. Will add your link next time I'm under the hood....


Nick C

Jimmy Little said...

Embigulate? It's a perfectly cromulent word.

Hawkesbury sandstone is one of those things you get nostalgic about at this distance (California). I definitely remember both Gosford and Wondabyne quarries operating when I was a kid -- my dad arranged a visit for us kids when I must have been about 6 or 7; I was fascinated. And I've always wanted to live on the shore opposite Wondabyne station...

Spike said...

Aesthetic - Isn't it but. My 2nd favourite Simpsons word is disbiggulate, which happens when the tiny petri dish peeps disbiggulate their god Lisa.

Nick - Good to see you back in blogland. Will pop over. Ditto re the linkage.

Jimmy - You lucky bugger! You must blog it. And you can't live in that wee old pink and green house opposite Wondabyne because I saw it first!

Jimmy Little said...

"disbiggulate" is one of those words that's just got to be said with a Frinkian voice...

Anyway, Spike old bean, you can't have seen that house first -- I trump you on age, if nothing else :-). And hell, we got off at Wondabyne for walkies before you were born, I'm guessing. One of my enchanted spots...

Spike said...

I love Frink. He's one of my favourite characters.

I heard there's a ban on further building and/or renovations on Mullet Creek. And I also heard there's no power in those houses already there. Dear god, no hot showers!

Tis a beautiful spot though. The best bit of the train trip up from Sydney.

pkw said...

Spike Thanks for all your very important heritage blogs on Peninsula and Central Coast.
I am trying to locate above link to GCC minutes (It says June 2006) without success. DO you recall month and day of Council meeting? I've tried all of June minutes (3) , but may have missed it.

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