Quarrying in Hong Kong – how the City of Victoria was built

Hugh Farmer: Stone is the only commodity in which Hong Kong is still self-sufficient, and quarrying was a major early industry. The granite extracted from the quarries in East Kowloon, Stonecutter’s Island, Quarry Bay and from the Kowloon hills were used throughout the territory and shipped to Canton for building purposes. The Roman Catholic Cathedral in Guangzhou was constructed in the 1860s using Hong Kong granite.

And  a great deal of the City of Victoria, here in Hong Kong used local stone. Ramps were used to load the stone blocks onto barges which were then taken along Hong Kong island or across from Kowloon to the new colonial town. Many of these quarries can still be seen scattered around the coast (or as a result of reclamation what was the original shoreline). They remain among the few reminders of what was once an important local industry. Difficult to knock down or replace even here!

City of Victoria 1870s photo: John Thompson

City of Victoria
1870s
photo: John Thompson

Modern quarries can also be seen.  Anderson Road highly visible above Kwun Tong, Lamma opposite So Kwu Wan, Shek O just before you start to descend into that place. Less high profile is Lam Tei Quarry NE of Tuen Mun. However, under a plan formulated in 1989 this major quarry will be the last one in Hong Kong to close in 2015. It has already been mentioned in articles connecting it to Ping Shan airport, a post WW2 project.

Anderson Road Quarry

Anderson Road Quarry

I thought we could have a look at all the HK quarries I have found reference to. And then slowly, slowly we can add information about each one. If you can contribute contact me. And similar if you hear of any more, I am sure my list is not complete.

Quarry New Map 3 001

Peng, CJ, Hong Kong Minerals,
Urban Council, HK 1991

The Quarries both marked as active and inactive on this 1991 map are:

  • Cha Kwo Ling
  • Devils Peak (Pau Toi Shan, close to Lei Yue Mun. There is also a small quarry just east of LYM, next to the sea. Same quarry?)
  • Diamond Hill
  • Hung Hom (unnamed location but in this area)
  • Kwun Tong (two)
  • Lam Tei
  • Mount Butler
  • North Point
  • Shek Lei (Shatin?)
  • Shek O (two)
  • Tseng Lan Shue (Anderson Road Quarry is at Tsiu Lan Shue. Mistake/same place? My HK Directory indicates 2 quarries here)
  • Turret Hill (Nui Po Shan, just NE of Shatin)

I have also heard of quarries at these locations:

  • A Kung Ngam (Shau Kei Wan)
  • Chek Lap Kok
  • Lamma Quarry
  • Mong Tung Hang ( near Penny’s Bay, Lantau)
  • Quarry Hill ( east of Ho Man Tin)
  • Shek Tung Tsui (Sai Wan)
  • Stonecutter’s Island
  • To Kwa Wan

These locations need to be put on a map. Any volunteers?  

This article was first posted on 20th February 2014.

Sources:

Lim P, Discovering Hong Kong’s Cultural Heritage OUP 1997
Peng CJ, Hong Kong Minerals, Urban Council, HK, 1991
Sewell RJ et al, Hong Kong Geology: A 400-million year journey, CEDD, HKSAR Government, 2009

For further information:

See:

  1. Chek Lap Kok Quarry
  2. Lam Tei Quarry connections with post WW2 proposed Ping Shan Airport
  3. Lam Tei Quarry – Ping Shan Airport , RAF Technical  Magazine Report, May 1946
  4. Ling Hang Quarry (China)  – supplier to Green Island Cement Company
  5. Of gods, diamonds and brothels – quarrying questions

 

9 Comments

  • Thomas Ngan

    Hi there,

    We could start with old maps. I believe most of the modern ones had been marked time time on some maps in the past decades. Some local geography/geology books might also have existing pointers.

    Thanks & Best Regards,
    T

    • Hugh Farmer

      Thanks Thomas

      Do you have access to any maps that might show the older quarries?

      If so that would be great.

      Hugh

      • Thomas Ngan

        Hi there,

        On page 151 of Mapping Hong it would seem the quarry at Tai Wan Shan (behind Kowloon dock) is marked graphically. Same as the quarry just east of Homantin (where the Ko Shan Theatre/Park is located today) The map on this page appeared to dated 1965-71.

        Thanks & Best Regards,
        T

  • Thomas Ngan

    Hi there,

    I think Lamma-Gung has a link in his zine about the Sok Kwu Wan Quarry. http://www.compunicate.com/Lamma-zine/Blog/Blog-2012-12.html#Dec29

    Thanks & Best Regards,
    T

  • Hugh Farmer

    Hello Thomas

    I’ve looked at the Lammazine page you mention. There’s a lot of different subjects there. I wonder which specific article you are talking about?

    Hugh

    • Thomas Ngan

      Hi Hugh,

      The YMCA one. They have secured a lease of three years of taking over the site of the quarry to run it as an activity centre. There is a photo gallery of it.

      Thanks & Best Regards,
      T

  • Thomas Ngan

    Hi there,

    The Cha Kwo Ling Tin Hau Temple is yet another temple being built by granite obtained from quarry nearby. See Google Map for location. There are photos of it too. Cha Kwo Ling was one of the four hills in Kowloon well known for stone quarry. The other three were Sai Cho Wan, Ngau Tau Kok & Lei Yue Mun.

    Thanks & Best Regards,
    T

    https://goo.gl/maps/r6AyN

  • Hugh Farmer

    Thanks Thomas

    I have added the names of the other three quarries to the the article: Of gods, diamonds and brothels – quarrying questions.

  • Hi there,
    I am an artist/sculptor currently working on a public sculpture proposal for the former Central Police Station arts/cultural center (Tai Kwun) in Hong Kong and would like to clarify if the granite blocks/plates used to build the Central Police Station, the Central Magistracy and the Victoria Prison were quarried in Hong Kong more than 150 years ago. Any info. I can refer to?

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