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January 01, 2007


In the absence of people with scientific qualifications in the newly established colony of New South Wales, Australia, the search for essential commodities, such as limestone, became the task of a few educated laymen, which included military officers and surgeons. The first discovery of calcareous rocks was made in the colony's outpost at Norfolk Island, which was a boon to that settlement but of limited benefit to the larger establishment at Sydney. For many years the major supply of lime for building came from shells collected from beaches and Aboriginal middens. Attempts to cross the Blue Mountains, long unsuccessful, succeeded in 1813 and led to the discovery of significant deposits of limestone. They provided lime for the needs of inland towns but did not supply Sydney until after the introduction of improved quarrying methods, lime manufacture, and building of roads. The first geological observations in New South Wales were made by people with no formal knowledge of geology, who were motivated by the necessity to find basic materials essential to the success of their settlement. Their efforts provided a crude inventory of rock types, which was improved by contributions from occasional visitors with a scientific background.

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Four Centuries of Geological Travel: The Search for Knowledge on Foot, Bicycle, Sledge and Camel

P. N. Wyse Jackson
P. N. Wyse Jackson
Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
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Geological Society of London
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January 01, 2007




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