Schwebel's Quarry

From Canterbury Commons
Jump to: navigation, search

Schwebel's was one of two quarries in Undercliffe - the other being Jackson’s. The stone from these quarries was used in kerbs and gutters,monumental headstones, foundations, homes and public buildings. Canterbury Council purchased the ballast for road making and the rockery stone for council gardens and landscaping. The last big project on which Undercliffe stone was used was the runway at Mascot Airport during the 1940s.

George Schwebel was born in Australia of German parents. His wife Jessie was formerly Miss Jessie Meeks, daughter of James Meeks who settled in Marrickville in 1838, coming from Leigh, Scotland. In the late 1800s, George Schwebel began quarrying in the area around Schwebel Street, Marrickville, and continued opening quarries along lllawarra Road down to Undercliffe. In 1907 he purchased land in Undercliffe Road and started to quarry the stone. George Schwebel had six sons, two of whom worked all their lives in the Undercliffe Quarry. Other stonemasons and labourers were also employed.

Quarry sheds behind 66 Undercliife Road, Undercliffe. Courtesy Joyce Waterworth.
All stone was carried by horses and waggons in the early days. Teams of eight horses could pull stones up to eight tons. The early quarrymen worked hard, and most of the work was done with pick and shovel, gads and hammers. Long heavy steel bars were used for making holes in the rock so that the rock could be blasted with gelignite. 66 Undercliffe Road is a stone house built by George Schwebel. Practically all the cliff face is now covered with vegetation and all the land has been built on.


MADDEN, Brian J. and MUIR, Lesley. Earlwood's past: a history of Earlwood, Undercliffe and Clemton Park, NSW. [Campsie, NSW]: Canterbury Municipal Council, 1989.