Convict road dug up

Heritage and Library co-ordinator Kathy Wilkinson with the convictmade Hampton’s Cheeses. Picture: Matt Jelonek d413933
Heritage and Library co-ordinator Kathy Wilkinson with the convictmade Hampton’s Cheeses. Picture: Matt Jelonek d413933

The four jarrah rounds from the road and a block used as road edging were placed in the viewing area of the museum in December.

Library and heritage co-ordinator Kathy Wilkinson said the jarrah rounds were known as Hampton’s Cheeses.

The cheese-shaped discs were given the unusual name by the convicts, who laid them under instruction from WA Governor of the time John Hampton in 1867.

The old timber road to Guildford was discovered beneath the Great Eastern Highway.

The discs were uncovered during road works near the intersection of the highway and Belmont Avenue.

‘When we first got the Hampton’s Cheeses, they were taken to the city’s operations centre and covered with mulch,’ Ms Wilkinson said.

A 20m stretch of the old road was unearthed and five salvageable pieces, including a 5m long kerb, were excavated.

WA Museum expert Ian MacLeod advised the museum as the rounds were moved into a covered, bath-like structure to prevent rapid moisture loss, while the Hampton’s Cheeses were sprayed with a special solution.

‘It took about eight months and they are still going through a conservation process with pegs in place to enable the moisture level to be monitored,’ Ms Wilkinson said.

‘They need to dry slowly because otherwise they will fall apart.’

The Belmont Museum has applied for a Lotterywest grant to display the Hampton’s Cheeses behind glass.