We are in the earth world and it is in us, sometimes it swallows us
Mining the Basalt
In 1880 James Holt received a parcel of crown land in the Bombo area, soon afterwards the Bombo Headland Quarry commenced operation for the quarrying of blue metal. By 1883 a jetty was erected north of the headland. Steam crushing machines and equipment were installed and rail services were extended from Sydney to Kiama, including a spur into the quarry. The quarry and its transport ship SS Dunmore were operated by NSW Associated Blue Metal Quarries Ltd. The transportation of basalt to Sydney became known as the ‘Blue Diamond Trade’ and the dozens of small vessels carrying the blue metal became known as the ‘Stone Fleet’. Railways in the area in the late 19th Century reduced the reliance on shipping for transporting the blue metal and provided a more effective means of transportation. In 1930 the quarry closed for five years during the depression, by 1935 the quarry reopened and electric crushers and machines were installed. However in 1940 NSW Railways ceased quarrying at Bombo Headland and moved operations to the quarry on the western side of the railway line which is still operational today. Regrettably none of the mining history remains on site, the old tramway, jetty and crushers have all gone.