Friday, April 25, 2014

sunflowers in the desolate industial demolition

Site of a former Commonwealth Wool Store in Kensington - transformed by planting sunflowers - on the rubble of a demolition site, with lots of brick and other artefacts strewn among the rows.

Surface artefacts from demolition sites are often distributed by ploughing. This example is unique in an inner city industrial context. Another example that comes to mind is  laser-leveled farm near Shepparton, which had a thin scatter of ceramics, glass and building material over a large area but no obvious source of the material. It came to pass (following discussions with locals) that the farm house and yards had been demolished then the topsoil over the entire area, including whatever was scattered around the old homestead site, was scraped up and stockpiled. The paddocks were then laser leveled, and the topsoil re-spread across the new surfaces.

Other plough redistribution can be more regular, such as the old Wahring Hotel near Murchison, where the rubbish heaps of the demolished hotel (located in the corner of a cropping paddock) were gradually eaten into by ploughing and dragged around the paddock perimeter. the farmer seems to have always ploughed in the same direction so the 'p;ume' of glass and ceramic could be traced back to its source.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bricks in Victoria

In response to recent queries, I have started loading photos of my former collection of Victorian bricks, now surviving only as a virtual collection of photos and data. (apart from the originals probably being built into a barbecue at my old house).

The bricks have in some cases come from dated contexts, and may be of use in helping understand and date historic buildings and archaeological sites.
Bricks in Victoria Blog


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Carlton Brewery archaeological excavation Melbourne

I wasn't there, but I tried to find out from those that were, and failing anyone else saying what the found, I will put some bits together myself.

Read more:

15 professional archaeologists and about 30-40 students (or possibly 70 spent a few weeks uncovering evidence of Melbournes past - the footings of the seven-storey brewhouse, built in 1873, and other early 1850s shanty town structures were exposed. Among the features is the late 19th century brewing tower furnace.
Melbourne's past - a work in progress
 Students digging for treasures at the old Carlton Brewery site. Photo: Penny Stephens
Archeologists are doing a dig in the old CUB brewery site in Carlton, that is now a Grocon building site.
Finds so far include domestic ceramic crockery and old bottles, industrial items such as barrel stoppers and a large iron furnace stoker.

The 1.8-hectare site was occupied by the Carlton Brewery for more than a century, (c1858 to 1987) although early rate books suggest there may have been houses on the block from as early as the 1840s.

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Archaeologist Andrew Sneddon at the excavated site of the Carlton brewery on Swanston and Bouverie streets.
Archeologists are doing a dig in the old CUB brewery site in Carlton, that is now a Grocon building site... 19th C. 
THE AGE Photo: Penny Stephens
In the 1870s and 1880s, a gang known as the Carlton Roughs congregated on the corners of Swanston, Bouverie and Queensberry streets. The brewery expanded to include an on-site fire brigade and stables for the CUB Clydesdales. the 6 story malthouse in Swanston Street and bluestone warehouses on the appropriately named Bouverie Street survive, and will apparently be retained and restored.

Interestingly, one of the better places to find out about Melbourne's Carlton Brewery, is at the Powerhouse museum in sydney

the site will be developed by Grocon - who are in almost constant dispute with unions.

the first building is planned to have the face of Barak

is this a new form of cultural misappropriation?


Under a new cataloguing system at Melbourne Museum, which was developed under a four-year rehabilitation project, funded by an Australian Research Council grant, in collaboration with La Trobe University, all artefacts are logged and barcoded on-site to ensure no possible future data confusion.


Monday, March 19, 2012

From the Footplate of R711

The open day at Steam Rail and the Newport Railway Workshops provided plenty of access to restored railway rolling stock, as well as the actual wrokshop site - usually confined to the members of various train buff groups. Six locos were in steam,

...including R711, here seen from the footplate.

...and a closeup of cylinders and linkages of R761.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Goulburn River Seymour - Scarred Tree

This Aboriginal scarred tree is next to the old Hume Highway and the bridge over the Goulburn River at Seymour. It has been used as a local notice board and bears the modern scars of numerous nails and tacks. I wonder if scars served some similar purpose for Aborigines, not just the carved trees with special marks, but the incidental ones that were used for functional bark objects.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Where is CRM archaeology going?

With new legislation, regulations and standards coming out of the bureaucratic woodwork (just like death watch beetles) constantly these days, one would assume that archaeology and heritage are doing well in Australia.

I don't think they are.

There are more Aboriginal archaeological sites being recorded than ever before.Nearly all are identified as part of predevelopment environmental approvals. Management entails salvaging some, leaving a few in reserves (very occasionally with some form of interpretation or on-going management but more often than not - not), of doing nothing - or next to nothing as the 'contingency arrangements' that rely on contractors and developers keeping an eye out.

What does not seem to be happening is the strategic planning that recognises some places have cultural values that should override other financial and land use objectives. for 20 years we have had the archaeological models, not very sophisticated, but enough to know where most of the significant Aboriginal archaeology will be found on the development fringe. We could be ground truthing and mapping these areas well in advance of development pressures, and then prepare future land use zones to ensure not just the avoidance of stone artefact scatters and the occasional scar tree, but put aside extensive tracts of landscape that represent both the values Aboriginal people placed on the land, and the scientific potential such sites may have for research-directed archaeology.

For example, a look at the pattern of recorded archaeology around Melbourne's northern fringe. (the green dots indicated recorded sites - others are along the creek but disguised by the 'sensitivity' mapping used by AAV and Geovic.

This is really a plan of development in the last 20 years. the majority of these sites have been destroyed, possibly following some salvage, and hopefully with a research question or two applied. But the environment around them is now houses, factories roads. Very rarely is there an acceptance that the cultural place is the wider landscape - the interplay between the creek, the grassy plains that were the hunting grounds and food gathering places, the stony rises that gave vantage points across the tribal territory. There are exceptions, for examples where endangered species are found, and other more sophisticated and stringent management comes into play. Galada Tamboore on Merri Creek, where basalt plains grasslands survive is a good example of how natural and cultural values can combine to give a better impression of what the landscape was like for Aboriginal people before Europeans.

Gibbons & Masters Patent Brick