Back to the future: some of the artifacts uncovered. ​

by Jackson Russell

HISTORY buffs descended on South Morang last week after the launch of an archaeology exhibition at the City of Whittlesea Civic Centre.

Unearthed: A Shared Heritage tells the story of the Old Bridge Inn and features hundreds of artefacts on display.

City of Whittlesea Heritage Coordinator Colleen Lazenby said the exhibition is a cooperative venture between council, the Level Crossing Removal Authority, Heritage Victoria and Parks Victoria.

It came about when the Mernda rail extension project required an archaeological survey by Dr Vincent Clark and Associates of the former Whittlesea rail corridor to identify artefacts, both Indigenous and local cultural, before works commenced.

Last year’s dig at the Old Bridge Inn on the west bank of Plenty River in Plenty Gorge Park, paid for by the Level Crossing Removal authority, was the first heritage offset project funded by a public authority in Victoria.

While it was unknown whether the remains of the inn were still at the site, the dig revealed a much larger main building than what was expected.

“What the exhibition at South Morang will enable people to see is many of the recovered objects, images of what remains of the Old Bridge Inn, and interpretive panels telling story of the heritage of the area,” Ms Lazenby said.

“One of the things we did we think will be really interesting is we printed vinyl decal of archaeology site so people can pretend to walk through the site.”

Some of the more interesting artefacts on display include alcohol bottles, clay smoking pipes, children’s toys and a lady’s purse. Indigenous stone and glass tools found also provide insight into the contact period of Indigenous people and European settlers.

Unearthed: A Shared Heritage artefacts will remain on display until Friday, June 29 in the foyer of the City of Whittlesea Civic Centre at 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang.