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Edgeworth David QuarryPrint Page Print this page

12-September-2015
12-September-2015

Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown

Edgeworth David Quarry (Seaham Quarry)  was dedicated by the New South Wales Government to science for `all time`.

Seaham Quarry is significant to the history of Australian geology and its associations with the famous Australian geologist, Professor Edgeworth David who first recognised the glacigene origin of the Carboniferous sediments in the Seaham area in 1914. The inscription for the notice board was provided by Professor Edgeworth Davis. 

Professor Edgeworth David discovered the quarry whilst undertaking a survey for coal deposits in the Hunter Valley in 1884. The rocks are of glacial origin, with an estimated age of between 90 and 120 million years old. The material of the rock is streaky in appearance, the result of the forces of moving ice overriding the sediments forming in glacial lakes. Each pair of streaks in the rock represents the annual winter and summer deposits. The quarry also exposes arching layers in places, which is due to the dragging force of glacier ice or icebergs. In 1925 a Pan-Pacific Geology Congress brought geologists from all over the world to Australia, and to Seaham to inspect its unique formation. At the time when Professor David discovered them, such formations - known as varve shales - were not known to exist in Australia. One other occurance was later discovered at Bondi.

An interesting ceremony was performed at Seaham on Saturday afternoon when portion of Seaham quarries was dedicated to the cause of science. Besides the visitors from Sydney a number of residents of Maitland attended, and there was a representative gathering from the surrounding district. The function was arranged by Mr. A. Boag of Seaham quarries. The speakers were: Professor David, Mr. Osborne, B.Sc. (Sydney University), Mr. C. A. Sussmilch (Newcastle Technical College), and Mr. Walter Enright (West Maitiand). "Science trusts that the people of Seaham will kindly preserve this quarry for the benefit of the future generations," said Mr. Edgeworth David. The extraordinary layers in the formation of the quarry were said to be from 90,000,000 to 120,000,000 years old. Nature's book in the reefs would preserve for Australia for all time a unique record of the ice age. Seaham deposits were of interest to scientists throughout the world. The materials of these rocks are deposited by thaw waters from glaciers in a lake. 
Dungog Chronicle : Durham and Gloucester Advertiser (NSW),  21 July 1925.

Location

Address:Torrence Street, Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve, Seaham, 2324
State:NSW
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.663611
Long: 151.730278
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Natural Feature
Monument Theme:Technology
Sub-Theme:Science

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 18th July, 1925
Front Inscription

                NOTICE
THIS QUARRY IS OF UNIQUE SCIENTIFIC INTEREST.

THE MATERIAL OF THIS ROCK, WHICH IS REMARKABLY STREAKY OR LAMINATED, WAS DEPOSITED BY THAW WATER FROM GLACIERS PROBABLY IN A LAKE. 

EACH PAIR OF STREAKS REPRESENTS THE WINTER & SUMMER DEPOSIT OF ONE YEAR SO THAT BY COUNTING  THE NUMBER OF PAIRS OF STREAKS, THE TIME IT TOOK FOR THE ROCKS TO ACCUMULATE CAN BE CALCULATED ROUGHLY.

THE BEAUTIFUL ARCHING OF THE LAYERS IN PLACES IS DUE TO THE DRAGGING FORCE OF GLACIER ICE OR ICEBERGS.

Science trusts that the People of Seaham will kindly preserve this Quarry intact for the benefit of future generations

T.W.EDGEWORTH DAVID,
University Of Sydney, July, 1925
(The Area Marked By The Posts Is Preserved In Perpetuity)

MAINTENANCE OF THE QUARRY WAS UNDERTAKEN IN 1993 BY THE NATIONAL PARKS & WILDLIFE SERVICE & VOLUNTEERS OF THE SEAHAM & DISTRICT COMMUNITY

 

Source: MA,NRUM
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