Sydney Light Rail Halted After Thousands of Indigenous Artefacts Found On Site

Indigenous consultants are calling for construction to be stopped.
Tom Clift
March 30, 2016

Indigenous consultants for Sydney's new light rail service are calling for construction on a section of the line to be halted, following the discovery of a significant number of Indigenous artefacts in the area. More than 20,000 artefacts have already been recovered from the site (yep, 20,000), near the corner of Alison Road and Doncaster Avenue in Randwick.

But while Transport NSW has acknowledged the momentous find, it has not yet confirmed whether it will delay construction on the $2.1bn project to allow for archaeological work to take place.

One of the conditions for the light rail's construction was that the process be observed by four Registered Aboriginal Parties. A representative for one such party is Scott Franks, who emphasised the significance of the discovery when he told The Sydney Morning Herald that "there is nothing at all like this in Sydney."

Among the more major finds are artefacts that appear to be from as far away as the Hunter Valley, suggesting that the spot may have served as a meeting place. "It demonstrates a trading route, or that the mobs out of the Hunter Valley were working with the mobs in Sydney," Franks told SMH.

"Archaeological work undertaken in late 2015 and January 2016 identified a high density of Aboriginal artefacts on a specific section of the Randwick Stabling Yard site," said a spokesperson for Transport NSW. "Transport for NSW and ALTRAC Light Rail are investigating, in conjunction with the Aboriginal representatives, opportunities to recognise the items found on site, for example in displays or education programs."

Greens MP David Shoebridge has called for an immediate stop to construction, saying, "It's downright criminal that what may well be one of the most important recent heritage finds is being literally torn up without even the most rudimentary consideration."

Via SMH. Image: City of Sydney.

Published on March 30, 2016 by Tom Clift
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