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Bowser and Lever

Bowser and Lever originally had a quarry at Windsor, on the corner of Lutwyche and Newmarket Roads. The land was resumed for the Australian Navy to use as a fuel depot. Bowser and Lever then bought land from the Thompson family at the corner of Rode and Webster Roads, Chermside. They moved their operations to that site to quarry porphyry or Brisbane Tuff.
In the early days of the quarry, there was a lot of hand work and it was done by spoilers. They cut the rock manually with a spoiler's hammer. They were a unique group of men who knew which stone would split easily. The split stone would be used for gardens and edging while the rest was crushed for decorative work or used as road base. One of the last batches was put on Sandgate Road at Nundah.
During the war, the American Army took away many loads of gravel to use in the roadways in the new camps in places such as Burleigh Heads and Byron Bay. Later purchasers of the gravel were the Main Roads Department and the Brisbane City Council.
Bowser and Lever owned the original quarry, and in 1961-2 Pioneer Concrete took over and Bowser and Lever became a division of Pioneer. That part of Pioneer's business was taken over by RFA Australia in 1975. The quarry closed in 1977, partly because of problems with neighbours, none of whom had been there when the quarry opened in 1939. One prospective land buyer was told that the quarry was not operating - and it wasn't - over the weekends!
Alan Wood was the manager from 1970 to 1977 when the quarry closed because of the growth of housing, in some cases right on the property boundary. The Queensland Government resumed part of the quarry land for the Somerset Hills School.
Some of the employees were Andy Johnston, Mrs. Hutton in the office and an Aboriginal employee, who worked the crusher, did spoiling and labouring work. He was a very good worker.

Thanks to Alan Wood and Andy Johnston for Information and photos for this article.

The full plant showing the winch house, crusher and tip. The skips tipped the gravel into crusher which then moved along to the screen where it was divided into different grades, varying from half inch to two and a half inches. The last rejects went into the small crusher at the front for re-processing into smaller pieces.

Jimmy with the dragline he operated to break up large rocks. A one and a half to two ton weight was dropped from the crane to break large rocks that wouldn't go through the crusher.

The gravel plant in the 1960s showing houses in Webster Road. The gradual growth of the adjacent suburb meant that the dust and noise from the plant was a nuisance to the residents.

The towers which Pioneer Cement used to load their trucks before 1977.

Rowley Chang, a contractor who drove the International truck carting rock to the crusher hopper. He took these photographs.