History buffs are set to descend on South Morang, with National Archaeology Week and an historical artefact exhibition both launched today 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.

Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green visited the exhibition today to view artefacts from last year’s archaeological dig at the Old Bridge Inn in Plenty Gorge Park, and met with archaeologists to hear first-hand about the excavations.

Archaeologists spoke about findings along the former Whittlesea rail line corridor, performed as part of a heritage survey, before works on the new Mernda Rail line took place. They also spoke in depth about the meaning behind many of the artefacts uncovered during the Old Bridge Inn dig, and what made the dig so significant.

The dig at the Old Bridge Inn was Victoria’s first heritage offset project by a public authority, linked to historical investigations undertaken as part of the Mernda Rail Extension Project.

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

National Archaeology Week will conclude with a family open day on Saturday 26 May featuring public talks between 11am – midday, and roving archaeologists who will answer questions from the community.

Archaeology consultancy, Dr Vincent Clark and Associates, led the successful Old Bridge Inn dig in conjunction with the Wurundjeri Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Aboriginal Corporation, Heritage Victoria, Parks Victoria, Whittlesea Council and the Level Crossing Removal Authority.

Work on the new rail line to Mernda is gearing up ahead of a busy winter, with works accelerating in order to run test trains along the eight-kilometre rail corridor by the end of September.

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

Exhibition Details:

  • Unearthed: A Shared Heritage artefacts will be on display the City of Whittlesea Civic Centre 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang, from Monday 21 May to Friday 29 June
  • The Family Open Day will be held on Saturday 26 May, 10am – 2pm (public talks between 11am – midday)

The $600 million Mernda Rail project will deliver better transport and facilities for local residents – it is expected the three new stations will cater for up to 8,000 commuters a day.

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Quotes attributable to Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green

It’s great to be here today to officially launch National Archaeology Week, and to learn so much about our local heritage at the same time. The archaeology team has done a fantastic job so diligently cataloguing these artefacts for the public to enjoy.”

“I’d encourage anyone who is interested in Mernda’s history to come down to the Civic Centre and check out the artefacts before the exhibition wraps up on Friday 29 June.”