1920-1950's

Thomas leased 98 x 66 feet of the property to Harry K Matthews in 1922 and the northeast corner to William Matthews for two years for fifty-seven pounds and twelve shillings per annum. Most of the property was leased as a quarry in 1921 to Pat, John and Daniel Sexton for five years for eighty-two pounds and ten shillings per annum. Thomas died in 1923 and his executors, Harry Emerton and Herbert Hamer, took over the property. In 1927 the title was converted to Torrens (see registration number RGO SN 461 25).

After WW1, there were three quarrying companies. Consolidated Quarries operated the largest quarry in the north-west hole, now called the North-West Plain. Pavey and Company operated in the south hole, now called Pavey's Park. Matthews and Son (or The Matthews Brothers of Newscastle Street with William Edwards) operated a 10 acre quarry in the eastern hole, now called North and South Lakes.

In the 1920's, L Hansen of Daylesford took William Edward's place as well as owning the 20 acre quarry addressed at Mason Street.

Matthew & Son employed 50 people and operated three teams of draught horses. The other companies employed as many as 200-250 people at the height of production. On hearing a siren, residents in surrounding houses had only minutes to get under cover.

In 1924, the City of Williamstown bought the first eastern block of the area, 5.5 hectares along Johnston Street up to north of Challis Street. Quarry Street, which no longer exists, ran through this block.

 

This quarry provided the City of Williamstown with aggregate building materials until the 1950's. It was leased first to Consolidated Quarries and then to Pioneer Quarries on an extraction royalty basis. The material excavated can be seen throughout Williamstown in the sea wall, roads and gutters.

The roads were constructed by hand in the 1920's. Large horse-drawn rollers crushed the rock producing a surface called 'roughten pitcher'. Areas of heavier traffic used 'tefford pitcher', triangular fragments of bluemetal fitted together with a sealing cap of crushed blue metal. 

In the 1930's, Matthew and Son used steam-powered machinery to extend the areas of the works but reducing the number of laborers from 50 to 12. 

By the 1940's, excavation provided crushed rock for the freezing works wet of the Champion Rd rail crossing. This building has been demolished. 

An aerial view of 1945 shows the major quarry holes as well as complexes of store buildings off Johnston Street in the north eastern section of the site and what may be a large house yard and garden (the old farm?). There were more isolated buildings along the south side of the quarry site.

 Next > 1960-1979

This history is compiled from material supplied by the following: Members of the Earth's Backyard 'work for the dole' scheme, 1997; Sarah Berry, 2000 and 2002; Altona, Laverton and Newport Districts Heritage Study Stage 3: Appendix Ten, Pages 259-60, Graeme Butler and Associates, 2000. If you have any corrections or additional information (including photographs or other documents), we welcome your contribution.
 
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