Heritage Victoria and the Heritage Council are currently progressing a project to investigate a unique, and previously unknown, part of the city’s archaeology.


Heritage Victoria and the Heritage Council are currently progressing a project to investigate a unique, and previously unknown, part of the city’s archaeology.

Some recent digs conducted near the Wesley Church in Lonsdale street have demonstrated that some archaeological sites relating to the earliest historic occupation of Melbourne have survived in a remarkable state of intactness.

It has also been discovered that the block bounded by Lonsdale, Exhibition, Russell and Little Lonsdale Streets underwent a significant transformation in the mid-1850s when the Melbourne City Council raised street and ground levels to address flooding issues in this part of town. The burial of the building remains as part of this process has resulted in the preservation of a remarkable and possibly unique archaeological landscape.

The project is looking to identify locations where well-preserved archaeological remains may still survive below-ground. The vision of the project is that the fabric of key archaeological sites across the city can be retained, conserved and interpreted, to demonstrate the city’s history in a unique and meaningful way (and as is common-place in many overseas cities). Sites may be protected or sensitively incorporated into new building programs, and be presented as places of interest for the community and tourists.

In this interview, Jeremy Smith, Heritage Victoria’s Principal Archaeologist, talks to ABC radio’s Hilary Harper on her Saturday morning program about the project.