An archaeological dig at ICD Property Group’s $440 million Aspire Melbourne construction site has uncovered relics from an 19th century girls school.
The find triggered an eight-week excavation before Melbourne-based builder Hickory could move in and start construction of the 594-apartment tower at 299 King Street.
Among the discoveries were the ruins of a six-room sandstone cottage which was used as a school for young ladies as well as jewellery, cosmetic items, brushes, needles and pins, likely to date back to the operation of the school in the years before and during the gold rush.
The remains of shops and warehouses that functioned as grain stores, grocers, stables, spirit merchants, and hay merchants were also uncovered.
Victorian minister for planning Richard Wynne said the dig had uncovered a fascinating piece of history.
“This discovery highlights the value of Heritage Victoria’s work in identifying these sites and making sure our city’s history is preserved,” Wynne said.
“This site is a unique window into life in early Melbourne. These artefacts and buildings will teach us things we can’t learn from other historical sources.”
All of the significant artefacts would be initially be kept and managed by Heritage Victoria at and were hoped to on display at Aspire Melbourne.
The 65-storey high-rise residential tower with joint venture partner financier MaxCap which is expected to take three years to build.
Heritage Victoria required the the developer to conduct the excavations prior to construction as the site had “high archaeological potential”.
Heritage Victoria has identified more than 6,500 historical archaeological sites across the state including parts of Melbourne Metro where teeth, marbles and figurines were among items found.