A portion of a 145 year old convict built road has been unearthed during the Great Eastern Highway upgrade. Learn more about this fantastic discovery in a short four minute video.
View Channel 9's story on the Convict Road discovery.
A portion of a 145 year old convict road has been discovered during the Great Eastern Highway upgrade.
A 20m stretch of jarrah wooden discs was unearthed during road works for the westbound lane near the corner of Belmont Avenue, Belmont.
The State Heritage Office worked with City East Alliance, the WA Museum and the City of Belmont to safely excavate five salvageable pieces including a 5m long kerb.
City East Alliance Director Stephen Nicolay said while carrying out upgrade works the team noticed a general pattern occurring with the wooden discs under the exposed surface.
“It was an exciting find, and we were happy to have been able to assist the State Heritage Office in recovering a valuable piece of the State’s history,” Mr Nicolay said.
State Heritage Office Executive Director Graeme Gammie said that he appreciated the collaborative effort to appropriately record and dig up the remnants.
“It was a great opportunity to uncover a fascinating story about the type of works carried out by convicts, and the important role they played in developing infrastructure in Western Australia and particularly Belmont,” Mr Gammie said.
Initial indications showed that the road was likely to have been constructed by convict labour in 1867.
This type of road construction was known as ‘Hampton’s Cheeses’ after controversial Governor of Western Australia, John Hampton who proposed the use of wooden discs as a road base.
Hampton’s Cheeses were made from sections of tree trunks about 30cm thick and up to 90cm in diameter and were used along major roads and highways around Perth.
City of Belmont Mayor Phil Marks said the City is committed to preserving its history and has acquired the remnants to restore and display them in a future exhibition at the Belmont Museum.
“Once the restoration process is completed, the community will be able to view the find during Museum opening hours and learn more about its unique history,” Mayor Marks said.
The Great Eastern Highway road works remains on schedule to finish ahead of its December 2013 completion date.
Listen to the interview with Executive Director Graeme Gammie and City East Alliance, about the discovery on 6PR's Mornings with Paul Murray show.