Development offers window into past

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Mr Rapley said that after excavating the site in 2001, he submitted a recommendation that should development at the site proceed, the furrows he noticed should be investigated to determine any evidence of Chinese market gardens.

A six-storey 125-unit complex will be built on the site after the Metro West Joint Development Assessment Panel approved the development with conditions, including investigation of the land to determine if it was once a Chinese market garden.

�We all knew it was there but it wasn�t in our scope to look for the market garden,� Mr Rapley said.

�We didn�t know if it extended this far; the furrows suggest it did.�

Mr Rapley said that after they dug sample trenches and uncovered a layer of dark, furrowed soil, it was clear that market gardens had existed on the site.

The site of the old bottleyard was originally a lake but was drained for the purpose of market gardening in the late 1800s.

It was a historic meeting place for Aboriginal people and listed on the Aboriginal Heritage Register until a few months ago.

Mr Rapley said when he excavated in 2001, Aboriginal monitors supervised archaeologists in case any burials were uncovered but Aboriginal monitors were not at last week�s dig because the site was removed from the Aboriginal Heritage Register.

�In the 1800s, white people recorded a meeting of 300 Aboriginal people here,� he said.

A City of Vincent spokesperson confirmed the old bottleyard site was removed from the Aboriginal Heritage Register on April 2 this year.

They noted that Robertson Park was still a registered site under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972.

�It is understood this will be reflected in the Department of Aboriginal Affairs public register in the near future,� the spokesperson said. �������