Seaham Quarry including interpretive sign | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Seaham Quarry including interpretive sign

Item details

Name of item: Seaham Quarry including interpretive sign
Type of item: Archaeological-Terrestrial
Group/Collection: Mining and Mineral Processing
Category: Quarry
Location: Lat: 368091.22m Long: 1384408.57m
Primary address: 26 - 26A Warren Street, Seaham, NSW 2324
Parish: Seaham
County: Durham
Local govt. area: Port Stephens
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
26 - 26A Warren StreetSeahamPort StephensSeahamDurhamPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

An item of geological interest linked with T W Edgeworth David
Date significance updated: 28 Jul 05
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.
Current use: Site of Interest
Former use: Quarry


Historical notes: A Pan-Pacific Geology Congress held in 1925 brought geologists from all over the world to Australia. The noted geologist TW Edgeworth David brought the visitors to Seaham to inspect the quarry there that he found of unique scientific interest. On this occasion the geologists put forward the idea of preserving the quarry. A ceremony held in August 1925 dedicated the quarry to Science for all time. Mr G D Osborne, Lecturer in Geology at the University of Sydney, performed the dedication. A notice erected on the site explained: "The material of the 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 and summer deposits from 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. The deposit extended eastward and appeared on the surface again on the Stroud Road near the Eight Mile. However, at that point no folding or arching was apparent. At both Seaham and the Eight Mile, the shale had been previously quarried for road making purposes. Professor Edgeworth David first made observations in the district in 1884 when he was conducting coal surveys in the Hunter Valley. The folding in these rocks was rare. At the time he first described them, such formations were not known to exist in Australia. Professor David believed the rocks to be of glacial origin and a British Association visit in 1914 confirmed that the Seaham rocks were of the Carboniferous era. Another geologist, Mr C A Sussmilch identified them as varve shales in 1919. The geologists considered the example at Seaham 'the finest in the world' and estimated the deposit to be between 120 - 90 million years old, providing evidence that Seaham was once a glacial lake. Other geological evidence indicated that the present state of NSW was covered by ice as far north as Kempsey and beyond. Study of these varve shales enabled an understanding of the climate on earth during remote times. National Parks and Wildlife Service presently manage the quarry as part of Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. (none)-


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan 8723 Dec 13 755 

References, internet links & images


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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2280164

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