Two Italian brothers and a Granite Quarry

Granite quarry, coles bay, zanchetta brothersIt is not surprising that Freycinet has an abandoned Granite Quarry; the granite that makes up the Hazards Mountain range is both unique, and quite spectacular.

The Quarry was leased by 2 brothers from Italy, Mario and Biagio Zanchetta, and began operation in 1943.

In the beginning, the rock was extracted using using hand drills, wooden pegs and water.  They would drill a depression in to the rock, fill it up with water then drive in a wooden peg, as the wood absorbed the water, it would expand and break the face of the rock away.

As time progressed, they began to use more aggressive techniques which included power drills and explosives.  This was fairly new technology and learning how to use them effectively without blowing the rock  out to sea was both challenging and dangerous.  Eventually, a life was lost and the mine was shut down shortly after.

The granite from the Parsons Cove Granite Quarry can still be seen in buildings around Hobart today, in particular, the Commonwealth Bank Head Office and the old Marine Board Buildings.  It is also rumoured that some of the granite made it’s was back to Italy and America, and was used in the lobby of the Empire State Building in New York, although we have to confess, we’ve not been able to find any reputable sources of information to back these whispers up.

The original lease taken our by the brothers covered 5 acres, and while the Granite Quarry ceased operation in the 1970’s, a mining lease in that location was actually held all the way through to 1977, when all leases expired and the land was returned to the Crown.  Tidbit:  This is one of 3 expired mining leases inside the National Park that have not actually been added to the National Park and are still technically, crown land.

We’d like to thank Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (TAHO), for permission to publish the above image: Photograph – Coles Bay, Granite Quarries, driving in stakes, granite quarry / AB713-1-1216.  If you would like to visit the TAHO site and view more f the collection, you can do so here.