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Metro Tunnel

Victoria’s biggest ever archaeological dig to get underway

Demolition work has been completed at the intersection of Swanston and La Trobe street where an entrance will be built to the new underground State Library Station.

Now that demolition is complete, a massive archaeological dig will be undertaken on the site.

Preparations for the big dig include initial archaeological assessments of ground conditions to determine the digging approach and predict what might be found below ground.

Work will soon get underway across seven sites in the CBD, with digs at a further three sites on Little La Trobe Street also expected to start later this year.

Artefacts at each site may date back more than 180 years, when John Batman first settled Melbourne. In the 1880s, the site was home to the manufacturing of horse-drawn carriages with buggies regularly parked along this section of Swanston Street.

At the corner of Swanston and Flinders streets, a strip of fast food outlets and Port Phillip Arcade have almost been demolished on the site of the new underground Town Hall Station. This iconic part of Melbourne first developed in 1837 was home to a girl’s school and many small businesses, including a wine merchant and printers.

Uncovered artefacts will be cleaned and analysed to better understand how Melbourne’s early settlers lived and how Melbourne has developed into the city it has become.

Archaeologists and historians are eager to see what is uncovered in one of the city’s most well-known strips and what it reveals around Melbourne’s colourful history.

As the project gets underway we have an exciting opportunity for a limited number of community participants to join the Archaeological teams by getting involved with the excavations.