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Building blocks

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Five Dock Quarry, near the corner of Great North Road and Lyons Road provided stone for building and road construction in the nineteenth century.

During the 1870s the Five Dock Quarry was operated by entrepreneur Thomas West who had interests in other quarries, brickmaking and horse racing. Although his business dealings resulted in him being twice bankrupted, Thomas West was nevertheless a highly respected member of the local community. From 1877-1887 and again in 1890-1894 he served on Five Dock Council and was Mayor in 1879-1880. For a time he lived at Fairlight house where he built stables for his race horses. In 1879 he had the misfortune of losing a hand and the sight of one eye in an explosion at Five Dock Quarry.

The Five Dock Quarry was filled in 1938 and later became the site of Five Dock RSL Bowling Club. Today, the site is yet again undergoing transformation and being redeveloped for apartments.

The photograph, showing the quarry in about 1890, is from the Mitchell Library (State Library of NSW) collection and is currently among images of the Great North Road on display at Five Dock Library until 17 October 2016. The Five Dock Methodist Church seen on the right of the photograph was undoubtedly built from blocks of stone quarried on the site.