Forgotten Melbourne uncovered in Bennetts Lane development

Preserved under layers of concrete for more than a century, a forgotten one Melbourne it has been discovered by developers starting work on a new office tower in the CBD.

A cow femur, food storage jars, comb grease and an inkwell were just some of the items discovered at the site, at the coroner’s office in Little Lonsdale and Bennetts Lane.

Extent Heritage chief executive Ian Travers said the finds provided “an insight into what early life was like in Melbourne”.

Excavation prepares for construction of the Bennett’s Lane development in Melbourne’s CBD. (new)Some of the items discovered at the site, at the coroner’s office at Little Lonsdale and Bennetts Lane in Melbourne. (new)

Remains of terraces and country houses from the mid to late 19th century have also been discovered among the artefacts.

“It’s a remarkable demonstration of the development of the city from the early colonial development of Port Phillip that became the city of Melbourne,” Mr Travers said.

“This is really the first collection of material culture that the first European inhabitants brought with them.”

Travers said the artifacts discovered were well preserved.

Preserved under layers of concrete for more than a century, a forgotten Melbourne has been discovered. (new)

“The level of preservation of the structural remains along with the artifacts really gives us a level of detail that is not recorded in the historical record,” he said.

“It wasn’t written about and now we can fill in those gaps.”

The excavation is in preparation for the construction of the Bennett’s Lane development, a 20-storey office building with a retail and entertainment precinct.

Developers Perri Projects and Pellicano are now working with Extent Heritage archaeologists to document the discoveries.

A cow femur, food storage jars, comb grease and an inkwell were just some of the objects discovered at the site. (new)

Developers said the site would incorporate the newly discovered artefacts and reuse some of the bluestone and brick materials recovered during the excavation.

Mayor Sally Capp said she was delighted to see parts of Melbourne’s history being preserved and restored.

“When heritage elements are identified it is important that they are incorporated into the full development and we will see that happening here at Bennetts Lane,” he said.

The precious artifacts that countries have wanted back for centuries

“We’re going to see the artifacts and their stories come to life in this development.”

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