Monday, June 9, 2014

Amanuensis Monday - Granite Town - Links with Sydney Harbour Bridge

Earlier today, I posted a short article about the forgotten town, Granite Town, on the Worldwide Genealogy - A Genealogical Collaboration, blog spot. This small town, on the outskirts of Moruya on the south coast of New South Wales, was built to house the Scottish and Italian Stonemasons and their families while they worked at the Moruya Quarry, providing the huge blocks that were used to build the huge pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Unfortunately the life span of this thriving settlement only lasted for around eight years, and almost as fast as the town was built, it lay deserted.

 As a Amanuensis Monday post, I would like to share a song written by Mrs D. Philip from Narooma.  The song is about the Scottish immigrants who came to Australia to work in the quarry at Moruya, and lived in Granite Town, during the time that the Sydney Harbour Bridge was being built.  I think these words really sum up the influence these settlers had on the district. It speaks about their achievements and their lasting impact on the local community.

Braidwood Dispatch 21.8.25**
Moruya Granite

Now Sydney's got its harbour...the problem was to span it,
Then someone said, "Lets build a bridge we'll use Moruya granite",
Those pylons will be good and strong, they'll withstand any strain,
Then we can cross from side to side, on buses, cars and trains!
They've used it in St Mary's (that cathedral up the road)
On Sydney's G.P.O. as well; I'm sure 'twill take the load.

From Scotland came the stonemasons...(a team of ninety strong),
They brought their skill across the world, to work for Dorman Long.
The Manager, John Gilmore, told them, "Lads, you won't be sorry...
You'll think you're back in Aberdeen, when you work Moruya Quarry"
'Cos the granite here is just as fine, as you've left back there."
They brought Italian tradesmen too, the quarry work to share.

We've come from bonnie Scotland, helping Aussies build their bridge
In Granitetown, we've made our homes, on the great blue granite ridge.
We've over 60 houses, a school-house and a store,
The Caledonian Society, has got the grandest floor...
It's West Australian jarrah-wood; we spring on to and heel,
We're teaching all the locals to dance the Scottish Reel.

We're teaching local lads our trade, and how to cut the granite,
Two hundred forty men employed, 44 hour week they plan it.
Each huge stone block we cut to size - within 1/8 inch,
Each block will have a special place, those 4 pylons to clinch.
In all they'll be a total, 20,000 cubic feet
All cut with great precision, that huge jigsaw to complete.*  
* Greig, C. 199/1998, Not Forgotten, Memorials in Granite, Published by Helen Grieg, Eurobodalla Copy & Print.
** MORUYA GRANITE QUARRY. (1925, August 21). The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal (NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from