A book outlining the contribution of the Louttit family to history will be launched at the Waterfront Hotel, Moruya, on Friday, March 15 from 5.30 - 8pm.
History buff Norm Moore offers "a brief profile on the life of seafaring Scotsman Joseph Louttit, his deeds, and the lives and deeds of the many‘notables linked to use of granite from his quarry on the South bank of Moruya River".
"Joseph is reputed to have sailed around the world many times until suffering eye damage from dust as he tried his luck in the goldfields of Victoria," Mr Moore said.
"He was Sydney bound when, chancing to find the entrance to Moruya River, he fell in love with the environment and settled.
"He found 15,000 miners working in the goldfield of Araluen in need of supplies, and farmers on river flats needing to get produce to market.
"Joseph built himself a yawl - enabling him to ship produce to Sydney for sale on wharves and return to Moruya with rum and biscuits. He linked up with an old fishermen and his sons, and after a good catches, supplies were pack-horsed to Araluen at night to protect the fish," Mr Moore said.
"Finance from this venture allowed him to open a granite quarry in 1858.
"He initially supplied stone to prevent erosion of the river banks, but in 1865, Moruya harbour master and pilot, Captain Ross, sent samples of the granite to Colonial Architect James Barnet.
"Barnet had been appointed Design Architect for the Sydney GPO in 1866, and specified use of the stone for the building. A book has been published detailing the whole of the story.
"This story encompasses the life of Captain Thomas Watson who, as a boy, was befriended by the widow of Captain Cook. When his time came to be a sailor, Elizabeth Cook arranged his clothes, packed his gear and sent him off around the world, vowing one day to build a monument to his hero, Captain Cook.
"He settled in Sydney at Watsons Bay, where he bought and sold land to build up a reserve of cash. In survey work at Liverpool he was given permission to inscribe detail of Cook’s achievements on the mileage obelisk there. He joined the Australian Patriot’s Association and met Sir Henry Parkes and Lord Alfred Stephen.
"These liaisons, coupled with influence as having been Sydney harbour master, pilot and temporary superintendent of Macquarie Lighthouse, influenced authorities to plan a much more prominent monument in Hyde Park to honour Cook.
"International builder, John Young was contracted to build the GPO and Cook’s monument.
"His vast experience of working in England on churches, (London’s Crystal Palace) Tasmania, NZ, and Victoria taught him to tie up sources of material supply, and so he took out a seven-year lease on Louttit’s Quarry in 1868 - using the granite for columns in the GPO, Captain Cook’s Monument, St. Mary’s Cathedral and other major works," Mr Moore said.
"Prince Alfred, second son of Queen Victoria, made the first Royal visit to Australia in 1866. While in Sydney he was shot and wounded. He returned in 1869 to lay the foundation stone for the base of Cook’s monument.
"The extraordinary James Barnet oversaw 12,000 buildings during his career, including telegraph offices, court houses, police stations lockups and lighthouses and many of Sydney’s most prominent buildings. He worked closely many times with builder John Young. He designed Moruya Courthouse in 1879.
"Senior professor in art, sculpture, and poetry at London’s Royal Academy of Fine Art, Sir Thomas Woolner, failed to gain riches in the gold fields of Victoria, but found his way to Sydney and met Sir Henry Parkes. He failed in a bid to get the sculpture of WC Wentworth in Sydney University, but on returning to England - his Liaison with Parkes, coupled with that of poet Lord Tennyson won him the contract for the sculpture of Captain Cook’s statue."