This little piece on the Stony Rise Quarry arose from a major decluttering prior to my move into a new home.

I was sorting old photos when this one popped up, taken at my father’s Tasmanian farm circa 1975. It took me a while to remember what the subject of the obscured painting behind me was.

Me obscuring the Stony Rise quarry painting.

And then the fragment of bitumen showing on the far left rang a bell. Oh yes, it was an oil painting of the dilapidated, but picturesque quarry on the old road between Don and Spreyton.

Map of Stony Rise.

The main building stood (though only just!) alarmingly close to the road at Stony Rise, Devonport.

Isn’t it wonderful? Did it fall down in the end I wonder, or was it demolished? Nobody seems to know.

Stony Rise Quarry

And here is the painting, now in the safekeeping of my brother Ken. For some reason I associated it with a local artist from Ulverstone, Phyllis Brooks (1902-1983), although it didn’t really seem to be her style.

Painting of the Stony Rise quarry by Lionel Brooks.

It all made sense when Ken told me it was done by Phyllis’s husband Lionel. Mr Brooks, who died in 1987, was purely an amateur artist and we think this was his first attempt with the brush. If that is true he didn’t do too bad a job. I can only assume that when my father went to collect a seascape he had purchased from Phyllis Brooks he spotted the quarry picture and bought it out of affection for the quirky old building.

Apparently Dad paid ten guineas for it circa 1966, just prior to decimal currency. Of course as a piece of social and family history it’s worth much more.

Back of the Stony Rise painting.

Here is another painting of the buildings, by a far more well known Tasmanian artist, Peter Barraclough. It is dated 1970.


I could find surprisingly little about the quarry itself on the newspaper archive Trove. However, there was a near disaster back in 1930;

Sir, – In “The Advocate” of December 4, 1930, there was a “par” saying that a well-known person had very nearly met with a serious accident from blasting at the above quarry.

When down in that district I made inquiries; the particulars obtained were sent on to the Chief Inspector of Explosives, Mr. J.O. Hudson, and he has requested me to give you the particulars obtained. They are as follows:- “Mr. Stone has been working the quarry for some years, and up to this time has never received a complaint. Both the men were working at the quarry and nearby, also Mr Stone stated that warning is always given by two men with red flags, one going in either direction, down the road. On this particular occasion, the man who saw the Launceston gentleman coming waved the red flag in front of the car, and the men at the crushing plant, some hundred feet from the front, or entrance of the quarry, besides the men walking to a place of safety who were working in the quarry, held up their hands and called out to him. They all said he took no notice of their warning, and just as he got in front of the quarry some of the holes exploded.

I know of other instances where motorists have taken no notice of firing signals when given; for instance at the V.D.L quarry, near the Marine Board Office, Burnie. Yours etc.,

H.A. Vaudeau. Inspector of Mines and Explosives, Burnie. (Advocate Jan 6 1931)

How perfect that the owner had the name Mr Stone. 😎 I haven’t been able to find the original ‘par’, so I don’t know what damage was done.

By the way, the cake I am cutting in the first photo was my late father’s favourite; iced date and walnut ring cake. Here is the recipe in case anyone is interested. It’s delicious. I think it’s from the Tasmanian CWA book.


  1. Interesting! D’you know how long the building remained standing? I imagine it’s no longer there?

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