Kiama is the birth of Australia’s Blue metal industry, a literal bedrock in Australian industry.
The locals wanted more parking space for their boats essentially and a man made bay was created to that effect. The quarried stone was crushed up and used for roads establishing Australia’s Blue Metal industry.
Between 1849 and 1855 numerous applications and petitions were made by citizens of the Kiama district for increased accomodation at the harbour. Their please were finally heard and the Roberson Basin was officially opened in 1876.
The construction of the Robertson Basin had a profound impact on the industrial history of the Kiama district. The blasted and excavated stone prompted the advent of stone crushing with the view if its use in road construction. It led to an influx of non-agricultural workers and started the Blue Metal Industry.
Bombo Headland Quarry
Evidence of early quarry men carving out slabs in the surrounding mountains can be still seen today...
The volcanic rock of the Kiama district, latite, was initially used for fences and buildings. As the roads, tramways and railways of New South Wales rapidly expanded, the demand for the crushed latite (Blue Metal) created employment and industry in the developing community.
With the booming trade in blue metal, quarries opened up at sites outside Kiama such as Bombo in 1882 and steam-powered crushing machines installed at the quarry.
In the early days, many of the quarry workers at Bombo lived in tents. Clouds of dust regularly shrouded the camp in a gritty haze. A number of fatal accidents in the first few years and the reputation of the sole drinking establishment gave the place a bad name. The blue metal industry remained the major employer in the district until the 1960's.