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Nitro-glycerin invented 25 November 1867



Alfred Nobel was a Swedish scientist who discovered a safer way of using nitro-glycerine to make building railroads, tunnels and canals quicker and easier. He patented his invention of Dynamite on 25 November 1867.

Laboring on the railways was incredibly hard work and often dangerous.

However, Alfred Nobel’s discovery of dynamite in 1867 accelerated the

construction of railroads and tunnels throughout the world.

Alfred Nobel held more than 300 patents, became a very rich man and bequeathed much of his fortune to establish the Nobel Prizes awarded each year for achievements that benefit mankind.


These men are preparing to blast at Sunninghill Quarry in Stoneville


When the Eastern Railway was being constructed through the Hills in 1884 and 1895 the use of dynamite made cutting through the many rock faces much easier.

An auger was used to drill holes for the dynamite


The spectacle provided by the blasting captured the public’s imagination.

Guided tours up the railway line to view progress and the results of the

blasting became popular.


The pointer is showing where the Nitro-glycerin is placed to separate the rock face


When walking along the Railway Reserve Heritage Trail drill holes can be seen on the sides of many of the cuttings and often a ‘starburst’ impression at the site of the blast. Now you can see what to look for, see how many rock faces are scarred by dynamite as you walk the local trails.






Local quarry in Boya had vast quantities of granite hidden beneath a thin layer of soil and vegetation with covered the surrounding hills. Authorities confirm that this type of rock is very old, possibly between 2 and 3 thousand million years old and forms the basement rock of the hills area.

The clay, gravel and other superficial rocks of our district have resulted from the weathering and re-sorting of the component minerals of this very old rock.

The granite from Boya Quarry replaced the soft limestone which was originally used for the groynes extending out from the entrance to Fremantle Harbour. The limestone soon broke down with the constant onslaught of the sea.

By 1901 dozens of iron and hessian huts were clustered near the Boya site. Over 150 workman were employed to work at the quarry.


The shed leading to the crusher at Boya Quarry in 1929


Railway tracks leading to the quarry face