The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI) recently installed a new 1.8m fence around the Riley’s Hill quarry near Broadwater in northern NSW.
It was said the long disused site – which is now Crown land – was quarried from the late 1880s until 1911, supplying rock to build breakwaters at the mouth of the Richmond River in Ballina and employing more than 100 workers.
The quarry pit later flooded and came to be known as a popular swimming spot amongst the locals.
An article from local newspaper The Northern Star dating back to February 1936 described the site as follows: “…care must be taken [when swimming] because the hole, in places, is very deep and very cold. The old quarry holds its own secrets in history. While still in operation, heavy rains filled it with water, and now beneath its placid surface, engines, machinery and tools repose at the bottom…”
To this day, it seems the quarry still maintains its appeal as a good swimming location. A spokesperson from the DPI’s Lands division told Quarry that despite signage warning of the safety hazards posed by the quarry’s terrain and water, the site was still frequently subject to unauthorised public access.
“People were ignoring the signage and were able to get through the existing fencing,” the spokesperson stated.
The spokesperson said that in addition to the fencing, which was completed on Wednesday, 18 November, the Department would be putting up new signage and looking into the quarry’s vegetation management, although he noted that the new measures were not in response to any safety incidents.
“This action is based on a safety audit and review of environmental factors at the quarry and is not related to incidents there or elsewhere,” the spokesperson stated.
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