The Captain Cook statue in Hyde Park, Sydney stands on a huge granite base that was brought from a quarry at Moruya, over 120 miles away in 1878.
The base was a single block of granite weighing between fifteen and eighteen tons in the rough. There was no lifting tackle available for such a massive stone so it was moved from the quarry to the wharf, on the Moruya River, by rolling it over and over along the wooden rails of a bush tram line. It took six days to cover the 3 miles.
An 80 ton schooner, the Settler's Friend, conveyed the granite to Sydney. The block was too large to fit in the hold so it was fixed in such a way that about one quarter of it was down the hatchway and the rest above deck.
About 11 p.m. on the second night out, the schooner almost came to grief when, four miles off Jervis Bay, she collided with a 400 ton barque proceeding in the same northerly direction. With the help of an axe the two ships were eventually parted and the Settler's Friend limped into Port Jackson under jury rig 3 days later.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 481, volume 9, number 4 (1986).
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