Thursday, 28 December 2017

Sandstone from a building site, for building sites

These photos were taken recently as I was walking past the construction site where they are building new townhouses in Pyrmont. Behind the truck in the top photo you can see the old, stone terrace house that is still standing from when it was built in the 19th century. Most of Sydney’s stone buildings are made from Pyrmont sandstone.

The truck you see in the photo is an ex-Army truck now operated by Bundanoon Sandstone. Trucks like this have been using Harris Street and other streets in the area for the past few weeks because the company has been cutting out and taking away big blocks of stone like the one you can see on the back of the truck in the photo. They are preparing the building site for the new construction and the sandstone is in the way.

On the building site, they cut the sandstone blocks out using powered saws with gigantic circular blades like the one you can see in the photo at the bottom leaning up against the left side of the site. A big caterpillar-tracked vehicle with a gigantic claw on the end of its arm (you can see it in the photo at bottom) has been picking up these enormous blocks of stone and depositing them wholesale on wooden sleepers that have been placed on the trays of the trucks.

On one day I saw workmen sitting outside the building site on the pavement and I crossed the road to talk with them. The two of them wore hi-vis shirts and looked tired. One of them told me that the sandstone from the site will be processed before being sent back into the CBD to use to refurbish old sandstone buildings.

It makes you marvel at the way the business must have been conducted during the colonial period, when the Saunders family worked the quarry in Pyrmont and when labourers and masons would use manual tools to cut and work stone and Clydesdale horses drew carts carrying different-sized blocks of dressed stone to building sites in the CBD.

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