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State Library Station dig site

We will be undertaking archaeological digs at the future site of State Library Station on Swanston Street and La Trobe Streets.

History of the site

The land on the corner of La Trobe and Swanston streets was originally located outside of the Hoddle Grid and was first sold in 1849 to J. Austin, Thomas Ozane and Thomas Budds Payne.

The earliest known buildings on the La Trobe and Swanston Street frontages were stores that by the mid-1850s were occupied by butchers, fishmongers, ironmongers and other tradespeople.

In the 1880s, the future State Library Station site was home to the manufacturing of horse-drawn carriages with buggies regularly parked along this section of Swanston Street.

Cropped and modified isometrical plan of Melbourne, 1866. Lithograph by De Gruchy & Leigh. Credit: State Library of Victoria Cropped and modified isometrical plan of Melbourne, 1866. Lithograph by De Gruchy & Leigh. Credit: State Library of Victoria

What are we looking for?

We expect to find building remains such as stone footings and brick walls, along with artefacts that were used, lost and discarded by Melburnians living and working here during the 1800s.

These include objects of everyday use such as crockery, bottles, coins, toys and the remains of food eaten such as bones and shell, as well as objects relating to the commercial use of the area.

We will be updating this website and our social media channels with images and details of our finds over the coming months.

Indigenous history

The settlement of Melbourne in the 1830s displaced the traditional owners, for whom the land along the Yarra (the Birrarung) had always been – and continues to be – very significant.

This archaeology project creates an opportunity to investigate any Aboriginal cultural heritage that may be located in the area.

Dig sites in this area

State Library dig map

  • 204-206 La Trobe Street
  • 208-210 La Trobe Street
  • 377-391 Swanston Street
  • 18-20 Little La Trobe Street
  • 16 Little La Trobe Street
  • 12-14 Little La Trobe Street