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Darling Quarter, Darling Harbour
Excavations at Darling Quarter were undertaken by Casey & Lowe Pty Ltd between October 2008 and April 2009. The project team consisted of around 40 professional archaeologists. Comber Consultants undertook the Aboriginal archaeological work in consultation with The Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.
Most of the site was originally below the high water mark. Early industry established at Cockle Bay included flour mills and slaughterhouses. What became Barker’s Mill were established in the 1820s, the second steam mill in the colony. Cockle Bay was renamed Darling Harbour in 1828. Reclamation of the foreshore began in the late 1830s resulting in substantial wharfage by the 1860s. Industrial development continued through the 19th century and important industries such as PN Russell Foundry in the vicinity. Due to the Bubonic plague parts of the area was resumed in 1900. During the 20th century the site was home to the Fresh Fruit & Ice Co., Darling Harbour Goods Yard railway station, Miller & Harrison’s Timber Yard and NSW Fruit Exchange.
The large area excavated uncovered the remains of significant archaeological structures and events. These include:
The site is being developed by Lend Lease Development. The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority is the owner of the site.
Photos included in this report were taken by Casey & Lowe staff and by Russell Workman, 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.
Final Report - December 2013
The final archaeological investigation report for Darling Quarter is a six volume report outlining the results of Australia's largest urban excavation.
Volume 1: the executive summary and introduction (1), historical background (2), synthesis of the archaeological investigation (3), artefact overview (4) and response to research questions (5). Volume 2: subsidiary reports 1, has the trench reports by the supervisors. Volume 3: subsidiary reports 2, are the specialist and artefact reports. Volume 4: site plans and Harris matrices and a key group of interpretative plans and graphics. Volume 5: appendices are registers and historical appendices and tales for Vol. 1, Section 4. Volume 6: the Artefact Catalogue in Excel files.
The principal authors of this report are: Abi Cryerhall, Mike Hincks, Rowan Ward and Robyn Stocks. Other members of excavation, cataloguing and reporting team include: Nick Harrop, Amanda Dusting, Nick Pitt, Jill Miskella, Sandra Kuiters, Jeanne Harris, Melissa Carter and Melanie Fillios. The online version of this report supersedes the printed version and all quoting of this report should be from the online version not the printed copies.
Executive Summary and Contents
PDF 15 pages, 549 KB
Full set of reports for Darling Quarter Archaeological Excavations
73 PDF files with photos, sketches and maps.
Earlier Reports 2008-2009
Darling Walk Archaeological Excavation 2008-09 Revision 2, PDF file, 8.4 MB, 19 pages with photos and maps.
The site outline is in red and the basement excavation is in blue.
Area 8 is the workers’ housing and Area 9 is Barker’s mill.
Remains of the north wall of Barker’s finger wharf.
Fences in Area 7 associated with Captain Brooks’ slaughterhouse.
You can see a paling fence in the foreground and a post-and-rail fence in the background.
Darling Harbour was initially called Cockle Bay.
A thick layer of cockle shells was found in the harbour sands in Area 7.
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