A ten-tonne boulder of Moruya granite is now on permanent display in Canberra’s National Rock Garden.
Hewn from the same quarry in Moruya that provided stone for the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons and the Sydney GPO, the rock now takes pride of place in the fledging national monument, located beside Canberra’s arboretum.
More than 100 people were at the unveiling on Sunday to mark the occasion, with Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes doing the honours after a moving welcome to country by Ngunnawal Elder Aunty Agnes Shea, and short speeches by Professor Brad Pillans from the Australian National University and CEO of the National Capital Authority Malcom Snow.
The rock garden opened in 2013 and according to director Professor Brad Pillans, who grew up in Moruya, it will ultimately be home to more than 100 significant rocks and boulders from across Australia. “The concept is similar to the national botanic gardens, only less watering,” he quipped.
Eurobodalla Council was able to negotiate with the Department of Primary Industries to gift the 380 million year old boulder to the National Rock Garden.
Mayor Liz Innes said the help of DPI’s Martin Bergs, along with the enthusiasm of Professor Pillans, Moruya historian Norm Moore, and Council’s works team, made sure the boulder found its place in the garden.
“Sharing this beautiful stone reinforces the connection between the coast and the ACT,” she said. “What a unique and wonderful opportunity to celebrate the role of Moruya granite in the foundation of modern Australia, and the efforts of Eurobodalla’s founding families who laboured to quarry and transport the rock.”
After the unveiling by Mayor Innes, local historian Norm Moore spoke about the importance of Moruya rock quarries in the history of the nation and presented Professor Pillans with a handcrafted memento - a core of granite from Moruya Quarry mounted on a piece of timber from the original Moruya bridge, dating back to the 1800s.
The National Rock Garden reciprocated, presenting a beautiful signed book to Council that is now available at Moruya Library.
Council has invested $125,000 in upgrading the Moruya Quarry Park on North Head Drive, working with community members Christine Adams, Col Jay, and Graham Thomas, along with Council’s heritage advisor. Mayor Innes says the park upgrade is coming along nicely with new picnic sets and shelter, new pathways and car parking already in place.