The modern landscape, society and economy of Pyrmont were shaped mainly by two industry groups: sandstone quarrying and the Colonial Sugar Refinery complex. They did not tame a wilderness. Fish, shellfish and eels nourished generations of Aboriginal people, who also managed a mosaic of trees and grasslands, so that game was always available for the hunt. In 1788 the new settlers wondered how to carve livelihoods from land that resembled the parks of English gentry.