Salvage information relating to Windsor bridge

Additional Archaeological Investigations

Roads and Maritime started an archaeological testing program in 2016 to inform the Strategic Conservation Management Plan for the Windsor Bridge Replacement Project.

Testing to date has provided valuable information about both historic and Aboriginal heritage around the project site.

In December, archaeologists working in the area located part of a brick barrel drain believed to date back to the early 1800s. The drain was not previously identified during the Archaeological Investigation Program, likely due to its depth below ground.

It is important the archaeologists can understand the size and location of the barrel drain further information is needed.

From the week commencing 22 January, Roads and Maritime will be reopening a test pit closer to the river which formed part of the approved Archaeological Investigation Program, to gain more information about the direction and location of the barrel drain.

Re-opening this test pit and excavating to a greater depth will provide the information needed and as always, the additional archaeological investigations will be undertaken in accordance with all relevant approvals and regulatory requirements.


Roads and Maritime Services is working with Austral Archaeology and Extent Heritage on the salvage work as part of the Windsor Bridge project. This has been approved by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment. All work conducted as part of the salvage is in line with best practice in this field and is conducted under the direct supervision of professional and qualified archaeologists.

Roads and Maritime has also been consulting with a number of local Aboriginal groups with a cultural attachment and authority to the project area. These include the Gunjeewong Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council, Darag Land Observations, Darag Aboriginal Land Care, Tocomwall, Darag Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment, Darag Custodian Aboriginal Corporation and Darag Tribal Aboriginal Corporation. Representatives from these groups form the Aboriginal Focus Group helping Roads and Maritime manage the cultural heritage work.

This essential salvage work involves excavating the north eastern part of Thompson Square to document and recover any heritage artefacts which may be located within the area. There is no impact directly on Thompson Square, nor does the project impact on any heritage buildings in the area. No buildings will be removed at any stage of this project.

When artefacts are found, they will be catalogued and analysed by archaeologists and a full list of our finds will be made available to the public via our project page.

All work has been carried out in consultation with the above groups and other stakeholders including the DPE and Officer of Environment and Heritage.

On 7 December, professional archaeologists engaged by Roads and Maritime uncovered what appears to be at this early stage, a barrel brick drain. Historic box drains are not an unusual find when excavating new work sites. This is an example of why Roads and Maritime engages heritage specialists to ensure proper investigations are carried out and all historic finds are properly managed.

Archaeologists have also exposed a rounded brick feature, covered in shell mortar, in a hand-excavated test pit at a depth of approximately 2m below the former ground surface, as part of the salvage work taking place onsite. At this stage, a 500x500mm section has been exposed, and the archaeologists are excavating another hand-dug test pit further downslope to determine more information about the find. It appears consistent with the top of a brick barrel drain, however it will require further testing and study by the experts onsite. Other rectangular structures, which appear at this early stage to be block drains, were also uncovered in the week prior.

Once we have further details regarding the findings, we will be providing a more comprehensive update to the community.

Brick barrel drain pumped out
Brick barrel drain pumped out
Facing south-west in the south west corner of the site.
Facing south-west in the south west corner of the site.
South facing view of the test pit.
South facing view of the test pit.
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