Archaeological expertise at wharf speed

NSW Public Works Advisory needed to undertake remediation works at Wollongong Harbour Precinct, a State Heritage Register listed site. Boat maintenance including repairs, painting, cleaning and refuelling had contaminated the vicinity, which NSW Public works wanted to return to being a nice space for a cuppa. Remediation measures included removal of contaminated soil from the former slipway area, including excavation and replacement with clean soil. The contract for this work went to was RMA Contracting Pty Ltd.


Given its heritage listing and long history as a working harbour facility, the site required archaeological assessment and management throughout remediation works. Artefact was appointed to develop an unidentified finds procedure prior to excavation commencing. This was both a mandatory and a necessary measure as archaeological items were located during the works. Our expertise rapidly identified and reported on the finds, allowing decontamination to continue.


The decontamination was a crucial part of the early works for the Wollongong Harbour Master Plan which in the short terms aims to enhance the community’s use of the space for recreation, tourism and events. In the long term the Master Plan envisages the redevelopment of the area to open the harbour edge to pedestrians.

Image credits: Top - Wollongong [showing ships in harbour and lighthouse] ca. 1900-1910, State Library NSW. Left - Wollongong Harbour 1910, from the collections of Wollongong City Libraries and the Illawarra Historical Society.


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