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Shell Hill was so named because of 6m deposit of oyster shells

Shell HillShell Hill was so named because of the deposit of oyster shells, which in some cases were 6 metres thick. The deposit is said to be 5 million years old and is the only one of its type above the surface of the earth in the Southern hemisphere. Shell Hill is between Mannum, Swan Reach and Black Hill close to Wongulla and Punyelroo

A firm called Ellis & Clarke realised the value of the shell as a fertiliser and work commenced in 1931 under the management of Mr. A. Murdoch.

A crushing plant was set up in the gully below which a chute approximately 50 metres long to feed the plant with shells. Four local men were employed and the crushing plant was driven by a kerosene engine. The crusher or disinterator machine had steel blades which turned at great speed. So hard was the shell that the blades had to be changed every eight hours and sent to Adelaide to be rebuilt.

The crushed shell contained a high percentage of lime and was added to soil of clay structure to cause flocculation of particles to enable agricultural pursuits, especially in the hills and northern areas. The late Sir. Thomas Playford used a great quantity for his orchards in the Adelaide Hills.

Shell HillAfter a few years the quarry closed down but reopened again in 1942, once again operated by Mr. A. Murdoch and Mr. L Batten all work was done manually. The coarse pieces were sold to poultry farmers and together with fine lime was transported to Cambrai where it was railed to various places. The plant was closed in 1946.

How the Murray was formed


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