Mathiesons Siding and Quarry
About the same time as the railway was established the need for ballast for the line was recognised, named after the Minister for Railways Mathiesons quarry was to supply much needed material for many years and provide employment for locals.
Established in 1871 the quarry was located two miles north of Wandong with a line from the main railway taking the ballast and returning the empty trucks. The line was also used to cart firewood with the railways calling for tenders for several years for large amounts of firewood to be delivered via the line.
The quarry work was hard and dangerous, as can be seen in the images below the hard rock was won from the cliff face using hard work and basic tools. Two fatal accidents occurred at the quarry which had a sly grog shop which may have been responsible for some of the accidents. In 1901 one Thomas Cunningham was arrested for selling grog without a license, Constable Wilcox from the Wandong police station found that he was” doing an immense trade in beer” and seized four barrels of beer.
The quarry had a cricket team at the turn of the century and played against Wandong, it is likely that there were some houses around the site as well. The following article from the Kilmore Free Press gives us a clue that there was a boarding house on the site.
Kilmore Free Press Thursday 2nd April 1903.
On the 27th Mr. J.F. Adams, our worthy host of the quarries boarding house celebrated his sons birthday by giving his boarders a social and ball. The Wandong public hall being engaged for the occasion and it was handsomely decorated, neither time nor expense being spared. Mr. Hahir, in a neat speech, proposed the health of the host and hostess, and wished them long life and prosperity. Mr. Murphy proposed the ladies; Mrs. Galvin responded. Dancing was kept up till the wee small hours of the morning. Mr. Chesterfield as pianist and Mr. D. McDougall as M.C. helped to bring a very enjoyable event to a close.
After the closure of the quarry the land sat idle for many years, it was a favourite haunt of the local kids, the quarry being full of fossils that were easily found although it remained a dangerous place. In more recent years the Wandong Steamers, a group of miniature rail enthusiasts have been using the site building a small railway line around the face of the quarry and installing other infrastructure to house their collection.