For visitors to Murwillumbah late last year, it wasn’t hard to notice the major road works taking place along the length of Main Street in the historic town centre.
What they might not have noticed was the project provided an opportunity to dig into the past of the central business district and uncover a few interesting finds.
Museum Director Judy Kean said Excavating Main Street was a small display that documented the project and featured some of these finds, on exhibition until 15 July this year.
“We are delighted to be able to add the wealth of significant information assembled during the project to the Tweed Regional Museum’s extensive collection, particularly for an area already recognised for its heritage value,” Ms Kean said.
“The replacement of major drainage provided an opportunity to re-examine some of the early infrastructure in the area, in some cases dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s.”
She said historic photos and maps already in the Museum’s collection provided important points of comparison for those working on the project.
“For example, the 1929 concrete road and associated drainage was uncovered, as well as wooden foot bridges dating back to the late 1800s,” she said.
“One of these showed clear evidence of damage caused by the great fire of 15 September 1907, which became known as Red Sunday.
“By adding this next generation of documentation, and an intriguing selection of finds to the Museum collection, we are making sure that in 100 years’ time the story of Murwillumbah Main Street drainage 2015, and the earlier story of this historic precinct, can be easily discovered.”
Murwillumbah-based archaeologist Cosmos Coroneos, who completed research and documentation of the historical aspects of this project, will present a free talk about his work at Tweed Regional Museum on Wednesday 17 February.
“Archaeology brings a crucial dimension to projects like this,” Ms Kean said.
“The process of researching historical sources such as early photos in the Museum’s collection enabled Council to anticipate what might be found during excavation and the involvement of Mr Coroneos ensured that important historical finds could be appropriately documented, preserved where appropriate, and that work could continue as quickly as possible.”
Refreshments will be available from 5.30pm with Mr Coroneos’s presentation starting at 6pm.