Ross has a long tradition of stonemasonry from the early days of settlement to recent years. Several stonemasons are known to have worked the quarries in Ross and contributed to buildings in the town. Perhaps the best known of the early-mid 1830s were Daniel Herbert and James Colbeck who famously worked on the Ross bridge and its detailed carvings.
The quality of Ross sandstone was superior and well-known across the world:
‘The Ross freestone is world known for its excellent qualities, both as a building stone and for grindstones, monumental stones etc and a sample of this stone was recently awarded first prize at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, and the same stone was awarded a certificate of merit at the Pennsylvania Exhibition, United States.’ – Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas. : 1883 – 1928), Thursday 22 July 1926, page 2.
The precise working dates of the Ross quarry are unknown, although it was very likely to have been used in the late nineteenth century, according to an archaeological report. It is possible that up to 1200m3 of stone has been extracted from this quarry, which is about enough stone to build 10 four-bedroom cottages.
The Ross Quarry stands proudly on a hillside to the Southeast of the village, overlooking the Female Factory site, the Horton College Arch, the earliest burial ground, and the Uniting Church. Why not check it out and then stop by our History Museum to view more. Our Museum is open 7 days.