Category Archives: AUSTRALIA

Mining Camp Found in Southeast Australia

Mining Camp Found in Southeast Australia

Researchers from Macquarie University were examining remains of industrial equipment that was used to haul shale out of the valley when New South Wales National Parks rangers alerted them to the presence of other structures and artifacts, including wall foundations, hearths, paving, corrugated iron roofing, ceramics, and glass that had been previously hidden by vegetation.

Chris Banffy, NPWS ranger, and Dr. Bec Parkes, a principal archaeologist with Lantern Heritage at the remains of an old hut.

Since the summer bushfires, a staff camp has emerged near the Ruined Castle in the Jamison Valley. The fires uncovered previously vegetated remnants and artifacts, including the wall bases, hearths’ paving, and corrugated iron roofing, as well as ceramics and glass.

The remains of a shale mining settlement used by workers from the 1880s until around 1914 was studied by a team at Macquarie University.

Associate professors Tanya Evans and Shawn Ross, from the history and archaeology department, are working on the project with Professor Lucy Taksa from the Centre for Workforce Futures at Macquarie Business School.

The team was originally invited by NPWS and the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute to survey the industrial remains associated with the Bleichert Ropeway, which was erected to haul the shale from the valley up the escarpment.

“Then NPWS approached the team about some ‘huts’ they had noticed while doing other work,” Associate Professor Evans said.

Local Katoomba identity, Phil Hammon, knew that workers had lived there during the mining period and encouraged that focus of the project. The team is now concentrating on new archaeological surveys and excavations in and around the mining settlement.

“Archaeologist members of the team will head to the Mountains ASAP to undertake another survey of the site, building on two earlier surveys,” Professor Evans said.

“Historian members will undertake archival research and organize oral history interviews and focus groups with local community members as soon as COVID-19 restrictions allow us.”

Professor Taksa said the team will combine archival, documentary, oral, photographic, and material evidence to reconstruct life in the village.

“The aim is to give ‘flesh and voice’ to the people who lived and worked at this place,” she said.

The summer fires will also enable them to assess the impact of bushfires on heritage sites.

“The study will be looking at the effects of ‘de-industrialization’ on the landscape – that is, the story of how this industrial village basically has returned to nature but has left certain impacts on the landscape.”

The information discovered through the study will be used for conservation and heritage, and also for tourism and education purposes.

Down the track, Professor Evans said they hope to gather more information on the area’s rich history through oral history interviews and focus groups.

Late 19th-Century Brisbane’s original Chinatown found under Albert Street in Australia

Late 19th-Century Brisbane’s original Chinatown found under Albert Street in Australia

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA – The Archeology org document in Brisbane, a town located on the East Coast of Australia, that more than 200 objects from the end of the 19th century, including tobacco and opium pipes, bottles, crockery, books, and animal bones, have been unearthed in Brisbane.

The Niché Environment and Heritage archeologist Kevin Rains believed that the site was the original Chinatown area in the town and that artifacts belonged to the people who went there at the end of the 1880s gold rush and founded a working-class community called Frog’s Hollow.

Frog’s Hollow was the boggy, low-lying area that ran from the bottom of Albert Street near the Botanic Gardens towards Elizabeth Street and stretching two or three blocks either side of Albert Street.

The 9 Holes section of Brisbane’s Albert Street with Mary Street in the mid-background.

Dr. Rains, who works for Niche Environment, said the “significant archaeological finds” were “absolutely invaluable” to learn about Brisbane’s earliest days.

“Queensland was a later colony. There was a lot of diversity and development and a lot of ‘get up and go’,” he said.

“There was a lot of wealth even in those early days. People were already building up strong businesses.”

About 200 artifacts – tobacco and opium pipes, leather goods, bottles, crockery, old books, skeletons of animals, walls and pipes, and a perfume container – have all been unearthed. Some small containers held pickles and soya sauce, Dr. Rains said.

“It is equivalent to the Rocks area of Sydney or Little Lonsdale street in Melbourne,” he said.

“It was a working-class area, but also highly multicultural, with people of British and European backgrounds but also Chinese, South Sea Islanders and people from other parts of Asia living there as well.

Chinese leather works found under Lower Albert Street during Cross River rail excavation team.
Chinese leather works found under Lower Albert Street during Cross River rail excavation team.

“It had food shops, opium dens, hotels, lots of boarding houses, and a mix of grocers, all sorts of things.

“We have found evidence of a saddlery – Robert Schute’s Saddlery – and a leather shoemaker.” Large numbers of Chinese, who came to Queensland for the gold at Gympie, eventually returned to Brisbane.

“In Queensland the gold rushes began to peter out around the 1880s and there was legislation keeping them from prospecting and working on the gold fields, so a lot of them moved into Brisbane and began setting up business there,” Dr Rains said.

One of two excavation sites on Brisbane’s Albert Street where artifacts from Brisbane earliest days have been found.

One foundation wall unearthed by the excavation crew working on Albert Street comes from the Gympie Hotel, which later became Brannelly’s Oriental Hotel in 1885.

“We found old walls on both sides of the [Albert] street,” Dr Rains said.

“We found some of the foundations of the original Gympie Hotel on the left-hand side and we’ve also found wall and floors from the old saddlery and the Nine Holes shops on the other side.

“Nine Holes was was row of shops on the north side of Albert Street where the [Cross River Rail] station is being built today and Brannelly’s Colonial Hotel was on the other side, the southern side.” The Frog’s Hollow excavation work was completed in January 2020.

An old stone wall uncovered as the Cross River Rail’s Albert Street station is built.

“A bit after that we did all the analysis of all the actual artefacts and I’m in the process now of writing up the report for the state government,” Dr Rains said. Dr Rains said archaeologists very much hoped to find parts of early Brisbane as the excavation work for Cross River Rail.

“But we were not sure. We knew some of the buildings that were built along Albert Street in the 1920s, now demolished, had fairly shallow foundations, so there was a lot of potential for a lot of earlier material to be underneath it,” he said.

“The big surprise was Brannelly’s Oriental Hotel because they built a 1970s building – which they demolished in the 1980s – over the top of it.

“It was built on the same spot as the Gympie Hotel – corner of Albert and Mary streets – and it [the Gympie Hotel] got redeveloped in 1885 as Branelly’s Oriental Hotel.

Looking down Albert Street’s Frog Hollow   during the 1893 Floods towards the Oriental Hotel on Mary Street.

“It was built from stone and brick. But in the 1980s it got demolished and a 1980s-style corporate tower got built there.

“Its a bit of a shame. The photos show it had lovely iron lacework that there was during those times. It was like the Bellevue Hotel, the same period.

“So while we didn’t think we would find a lot because the big corporate towers were built, we did find a lot of the foundations, which was very good.”

110-million-old rare species of ‘toothless dinosaur’ discovered in Australia

110-million-old rare species of ‘toothless dinosaur’ discovered in Australia

Anyone a fan of ‘How To Train Your Dragon’? We know, totally random, but the main dragon was named Toothless. Just like him, we a unique species of ‘toothless’ dinosaurs that are 110 million years old in Australia have been found.

A fossil of a rare and unique toothless dinosaur, named Elaphrosaur, has been discovered by paleontologists in Australia.

As per a statement released by the Swinburne University of Technology, the dinosaur must have roamed in Australia around 110 million years ago.

It stood about the height of a small emu, measuring 2 meters from its head to the end of a long tail, and had short arms, each ending in four fingers.

The toothless dinosaur was identified by a team led by Swinburne University of Technology paleontologist Dr. Stephen Poropat. It’s known for having long necks, stumpy arms and small hands, and it probably didn’t survive on meat.

What’s In It?

According to the statement released by the Swinburne University of Technology, the dinosaur must have roamed in Australia around 110 million years ago.

This rare fossil was discovered in 2015 by Jessica Parker, a volunteer digger, near Cape Otway in Victoria, Australia; it was identified by a team led by Swinburne University of Technology paleontologist Dr. Stephen Poropat.

The reports say that the 5 cm long vertebrae fossil or the long neck bone belonged to a dinosaur known as Elaphrosaur, which means ‘light-footed lizard’. Reportedly, the fossil is related to Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor.

The said the fossil was believed to be an animal that was around 2 m long, i.e., 6.5 ft long. However, similar fossils, related to Elaphrosaur, which were previously discovered in China, Tanzania, and Argentina, revealed that these can grow up to 6 m in length.

What’s More?

Paleontologist Dr. Stephen Propat informed that the Australian elaphrosaurus had stumpy arms, long necks, small hands, and more likely, it was lightly-built that probably did not survive on meat. He also added that the findings regarding the dinosaurs are rather bizarre.

The few known skulls of Elaphrosaur reveal that the youngsters had teeth, however, when they grow into adults, they start losing their teeth, which are then replaced with a horny beak, he mentioned.

They are not yet sure if this fact holds true for the Victorian Elaphrosaur yet; however, they might be able to find out more if they ever discover a skull. 

Australian Aboriginal people were baking bread and farming grain 20,000 years before Egypt

Australian Aboriginal people were baking bread and farming grain 20,000 years before Egypt

What would your response be if you were asked who were the world’s first bakers? Many people think of ancient Egypt first, where it is believed that bread was baked about 17,000 BCE first. But there is evidence that grindstones were used in Australia to turn seeds into flour 30 thousand years ago.

The Gurandgi Munjie group is revitalizing native crops once cultivated by Aboriginal Australians, baking new bread with forgotten flours.

At Cuddie Falls, in New South Wales, Archeologists found evidence of this in the form of an ancient grinding stone that was used to turn grass seeds into flour.

These were the bakers of antiquity. It took Egypt 12,000 years to repeat this baking experiment. Why don’t our hearts fill with wonder and pride?

“Environmentally it’s a pretty good deal,” says Pascoe of growing these native crops.
This map gives an indication of how much we can learn from Aboriginal grain production. Norman Tindale documented that Aboriginal grain harvests occurred over most of the Australian continent but contemporary grain areas make up less than a quarter of that area.

Australian sovereign nations cultivated domesticated plants, sewed clothes, engineered streams for aquacultural and agricultural purposes, and forged spiritual codes for the use of seed in trade, agricultural enterprises, marriage, and ceremony.

This was and is an incredible human response to the difficulties of fostering economic, cultural and social policies. It may be unique in its longevity but also in its ability to flourish without resort to war.

Australia’s reluctance to acknowledge what was lost can be witnessed in our ignorance of the birth of baking, the gold standard of economic achievement.

Why is this? Is it a malicious refusal to recognize the economic triumphs of the people from whom the land was taken or a simple culture of forgetting fostered by the bedazzlement of Australian resources and opportunities?

Grinding grain into flour, and Lake Mungo bread made from Panicum descompositum

If we could rid ourselves of the myth of low Aboriginal achievement and nomadic habits, we might move toward a greater appreciation of our land.

We might begin to wonder about the grains that explorer Thomas Mitchell saw being harvested in the 1830s, and the yam daisy monoculture he saw stretching to the horizon of his ‘Australia Felix’, the early name given to western Victoria.

These crops must have been grown without pesticides and chemical fertilisers and in harmony with the climate; surely they are worthy of our investigation.

If you search for Australian research into yam daisies you inevitably come across, Beth Gott, an honorary research fellow at Monash University.

She has almost single-handedly led the interest in this wonderful plant. Inspired by her work, a Landcare group and Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in East Gippsland have begun field trials into the staple of the southern Aboriginal economies.

A yam daisy garden under trial as a crop in East Gippsland.

Similarly, the fish traps at Brewarrina seen by Mitchell and other explorers created economic conditions that allowed the people to live in semi-sedentary villages of over 1000 people; Mitchell marveled not just at the villages’ size but also their comfort and elegance.

Since Mitchell’s report, however, you will look in vain for later reference to the Brewarrina fish traps even though some archaeologists have speculated that they maybe 40,000 years old and as such the oldest human construction on the planet.

Even if you accept the more common age of 15,000 years, these structures are still amongst the world’s first. Until recently, the sole publication about them was a 50-page book published in Brewarrina in 1976.

When we eventually acknowledge the food plants adapted to Australian conditions and domesticated by Aboriginal people, let’s hope we don’t just celebrate them every ‘Baker’s holiday’ but recognize the intellectual property Aboriginal Australia has vested in them.