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Captain Cook's Statue, Hyde Park, Sydney


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.

Gladys King

Front view (48k) | Side view (75k)

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 481, volume 9, number 4 (1986).

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The builder in charge of construction of Cook's statue base was John Young. His Lease on Louttit's Quarry was 7 years from 1868, The granite was quarried from 1868 to 1869 with that for columns of Sydney GPO.. The oblong shaped pedestal rock of about 18 tons was cut from a 28 ton piece and rolled along the tramway embankment for 300 yards over 6 days. A support pole of the shear leg gave way in the loading operation, critically injuring John Louttit. Shipping news from the "Empire" has the Settlers Friend leaving Moruya 11th August 1869. Collision with the 400 ton barque, Golden Age,occurred second night out. The foundation stone was laid 27th March 1869 by H.R.H. Prince Alfred, Duke Of Edinburgh.
By Norman Moore on 4/23/2017 5:26:18 AM Like:0 DisLike:1
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Some information you have is incorrect, the distance from quarry face to wharf was is 300 yards, I have been along the tramline embankment several times.The 3 miles may be that from the entrance of the Moruya river to the wharf. I have much more info available including pics. Norm Moore
By Norm Moore on 6/26/2016 9:43:28 AM Like:1 DisLike:1
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I am an historian at Moruya & have been in Louttit's where quarry base was quarried. The tramline along which the rock was moved is no longer than 300 m. John Louttit was critically injured in the loading- survived, & used shark oil to teat ongoing effects over time.. More info available. tel.44744116
By Norman moore on 5/28/2016 6:19:49 AM Like:1 DisLike:1

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