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Barangaroo South, Sydney
Sandstone seawall constructed by Thomas Breillat in the 1840s. Phil Noller, The Moment It Clicks Pty Ltd.
Archaeological excavations at Barangaroo South were undertaken by Casey & Lowe Pty Ltd between January 2011 and August 2012. The project team consisted of around 20 professional archaeologists. Comber Consultants Ltd Pty undertook monitoring and testing for Aboriginal archaeological remains.
The earliest British settlement in Sydney was centred around Sydney Cove (later Circular Quay). However as the colony grew, it gradually expanded to include the eastern side of Cockle Bay (later Darling Harbour). An 1822 plan shows early subdivision along Darling Harbour's eastern shore adjacent to the site. By the early 1830s, formal ownership of the allotments was being determined by the Court of Claims. Robert Russell's plan of Sydney, Section 67 dated November 1834, identifies the following owners:
During the mid 19th century timber jetties, wharfage, warehouses and stores were constructed to service the various businesses that had been established on the waterfront. By the 1870s, most of the site was known as the Grafton Wharf. During the later 1870s and early 1880s the whole area underwent redevelopment, with a range of stone and brick buildings erected along the northern boundary, and the construction of new jetties and warehouses along the wharf. Following the outbreak of plague in 1900, the resumption of Darling Harbour's eastern foreshore and wharfage led to a major phase of redevelopment. By the end of the 1920s Hickson Road had been formed, new 'rat-proof' wharf and jetties had been constructed, and many of the Grafton Wharf buildings remodelled.
The main historical phases and occupants within the study area were:
The archaeology was located within the eastern 40m of the site, on the boundary with Hickson Road. Originally, most of the site was within the harbour. Reclamation along the shoreline was undertaken by the individual land holders between the 1830s and 1850s. In general, sandstone rubble was deposited into the harbour to create a platform above the high tide level. Layers of crushed sandstone, sand and clay-rich fills with some dumps of industrial waste, were then used to consolidate and increase the ground level. At the interface with the harbour, the newly reclaimed land was retained with a variety of formal and informal sandstone seawalls. Timber wharfage and jetties were constructed as part of the reclamation process. Warehouses and stores were constructed along the wharf. There was evidence for several phases of redevelopment of the wharfage, jetties and the various wareshouses and stores between the 1850s and 1900s.
The main archaeological features and findings were as follows:
Natural Environment and Aboriginal Archaeology
The site is being developed by Lend Lease (Millers Point). The Barangaroo Delivery Authority is the owner of the site.
Photos in this report were taken by Casey & Lowe staff and by Phil Noller, professional photographer. Historic images were sourced from Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, State Records of NSW, City of Sydney, and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.
Current Excavation Reports
Preliminary report for excavations at Barangaroo South.
October 2012, 12 MB, 55 pages, with maps and photographs.
Links for Barangaroo South
Watch Youtube Video about Barangaroo - Celebrating the Past
Interviews with Mary Casey and Abi Cryerhall.
Uploaded November 2013, 5 minutes.
Barangaroo South Archaeological Assessment
Report by Casey & Lowe - PDF file, June 2010, 36 pages with colour maps and photos.
Report for Casey & Lowe - PDF file, June 2010, 37 pages with colour photos and maps.
The excavation areas (red) within the archaeological zone overlaid with the 1875 plan. The early 19th-century property boundaries and owners' names are indicated in green.
Remains of the mid 19th-century Hunter River Steam Navigation Co. timber wharf at high tide. Photo taken looking northeast towards Hickson Road.
Excavation of the underfloor deposit within an 1870s wharf building.
Natural sandstone shoreline below reclamation fills within Henry Bass' shipyard.
Remains of two phases of timber piles, associated with Breillat's wharf and jetties. Looking east.
Sandstone seawalls at the northeast corner of Girard's reclaimed land (1830's). Photo looking south.
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