When the main road to Colac was cut through the Waurn Ponds Valley in the 1850s the sandstone in the area was first exposed. No one realised the value of it at first and it lay dormant. The stone was occasionally used for chimneys of farm houses and a hotel which was later used as a private dwelling was built of it.
About the mid 1870s the fragments and quarry rubbish, which could not be utilised for building, were taken to the Yarra Street wharf monthly to be transported to Williamstown and on to the Stony Creek works nearby. A trial had been made to produce cement from this limestone and it was found to be of equal or superior quality to the celebrated Portland cement, invented by Joseph Aspdin.
In 1880 an article appeared in the Geelong Advertiser describing the picturesqueness of the Waurn Ponds Valley with it's vineyards and farms. It documented the deposits which came to light after the land had been quarried particularly by Benjamin Holdsworth and Henry Miller. The land had been under the sea in a bygone era. In the quarry owned by Holdsworth many interesting fossils had been found, some being sent to the museum in Melbourne. Ear-bones and teeth of three now extinct species of giant carniverous whales had been found. The teeth of several genera of shark were found in abundance. The long rectangular bones of a gigantic Sea-pen (Graphularia Robinae), a rare fossil were an exciting find.
In 1883 Peter McCann bought 164 acres containing a quarry for £1,500 and another 138 acres with a house at £6.15 per acre from John Airey and also the land where he later built lime kilns. McCann and his son John Nicholas, trading as P McCann & Son, established the lime kilns to burn the waste from the quarry for use as building and agricultural lime.
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