Sunday History Photo / SA

Submitted: Sunday, Dec 25, 2016 at 05:40
ThreadID: 133990 Views:6202 Replies:3 FollowUps:1
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Stonyfell Quarry in the suburb of Burnside is located 7 kilometres east of the Adelaide CBD at the eastern end of Stonyfell Road, Burnside, The site is and was one of the most productive quarries in the Adelaide area, and one of many that proliferated in the Mount Lofty Ranges during the establishment of the new colony of South Australia. Many quarry sites still exist , some are small rock scars on steep slopes, while other larger sites have been redeveloped or protected by councils within a park environment.

The historic Stonyfell Winery, founded by Henry Clark and Joseph Crompton, taken over by quarry operator Henry Dunstan, then H. M. Martin and Son, is one of Australia's oldest. There is also a quarry that has been working since the late 19th century.
One of the businesses Boral now owned, once Quarry Industries had been acquired, was Stonyfell Quarry in the Adelaide Hills. Establishing the date of the opening of the quarry is no easy task. The Record of Mines summary card from the Department of Mines states that it was opened in 1837 by James Edlin to supply slate and building stone. This would have been on a portion of the land now known as Stonyfell Quarry as various sections of land were used for different purposes over the years. These enterprises began independently and ad hoc, and often went undocumented. There are also several conflicting definitions of the area of Stonyfell Quarry, when differing names and dates surface.
In 1858, Henry Clark purchased a section of what is now part of the Boral quarry. He and his fiancé Annie Martin named the property Stonyfell, after the slopes in England called 'fells'. Here he planted the original Stonyfell vineyard. The principal part of the vineyard was planted in 1860, with 20 acres of Black Portugal grapes, and two and a half acres of muscatels.

In 1880 the quarry was worked by hand-mining methods. Secondary breaking of the stone was also done by hand with spalling hammers. In 1881, Henry Dunstan, who by that time owned both the quarry and the vineyard, installed a steam-driven Hope Stone Breaker, and for the first time steam was used in South Australia for crushing stone. This would have gone some way to help meet local demand for metal screenings - aggregate used as a base in tar paving (for council footpaths), roads and concreting. The establishment of the Dunstan Tar Paving and Road Metal Depot at Kensington Park was equally innovative and timely, being ideally placed for servicing the roads of Adelaide, particularly the eastern suburbs.

It was envisaged that the Hope Stone Breaker would relieve some of the burden of breaking all the stone by hand. However, it did not relieve the men's workload. Production increased with the aid of the crusher, but no one escaped the noise, the continuous knapping (breaking up) of the larger stones, the loading by hand or the dust, heat and rain. These were long days. The men would rise early, don their work clothes and boots (with metal protective plates), and set forth on foot with lunch bags from their small houses in the surrounding suburbs of Leabrook, Kensington Park and Magill. They would arrive at the Dunstan sheds and stables, harness the draught horses to wagons and move up to begin their day at the ochre rock face.
Quarrying was a dangerous business. A young Canadian, Thomas Keays, who later became an overseer at the quarry, wrote in a letter to his family in 1886: 'Having just got over the Colonial Eye Blight, I received a blow with a stone from the crusher'.

It was not unusual for men to be struck by falling or flying stones. Keays wrote of an incident where “a man got his skull cracked here yesterday, a stone from a blast struck him on the head – serious case” (Keays, May 10th 1893). Other accidents occurred, when after long periods of rain, the rock within the quarry face could become unstable and fall, injuring the quarrymen below. Such a case occurred in 1883 when quarryman Michael O’Neill, while loading a dray was hit on the head by a large quarry stone that fell from 100 feet above. The blow proved fatal and a verdict of accidental death was proclaimed

Don Harris, whose father worked at Stonyfell, remembers visiting the quarry with his family and friends in a horse and cart in the 1910s. The greatest excitement of all was to be sped up the quarry slope in one of the empty trolleys as another one, fully laden with stones, came hurtling toward him, passing at a spur halfway, and then continuing down to the giant steel jaws of the crusher below.
In 1939, Stonyfell Quarry amalgamated with the other Adelaide Hills quarries to become part of Quarry Industries. Stonyfell vineyard was sold to Penfolds Wines which still operates the vineyard today.

Going back to the 1940's My Father had an International Tipper and carted out of Maryvale Quarry up the back of Athelstone off Montacute Road, I do believe he did a few loads from Stonyfell , and that would have been rare as his main jobs were from Maryvale. Maryvale was closed many years ago, looking on Google Earth there is little to see but there is a track named Quarry Track .


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Reply By: MUZBRY- Life member(Vic) - Sunday, Dec 25, 2016 at 07:12

Sunday, Dec 25, 2016 at 07:12
Good morning Doug
I was a quarrie man for quite a few years in Melbourne. Not many things have changed ,except everything is now a lot bigger . Production is measured in thousands of tonnes per day. The work pressure would be the same as the end result was the bottom line.
Great place to be Mt Blue Rag 27/12/2012

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Reply By: Member - Keith P (NSW) - Sunday, Dec 25, 2016 at 21:20

Sunday, Dec 25, 2016 at 21:20 got busy after being on air today M8.
Congratulations and a top read as usual.

Cheers Keith
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Dec 25, 2016 at 23:34

Sunday, Dec 25, 2016 at 23:34
It was posted at 5:40 am , next Saturday I'll have some 4X4 Songs.

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Reply By: Life Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Tuesday, Dec 27, 2016 at 03:33

Tuesday, Dec 27, 2016 at 03:33
Thanks for the interesting read again Doug, I do enjoy your SH posts..

Simba, our much missed baby.

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