Artefacts unearthed at build site

Jessica CuthbertAlbany Advertiser
H+H Architects director Julie de Jong and chair of Advance Housing Peter Adams with an old sewing machine found at the construction site.
Camera IconH+H Architects director Julie de Jong and chair of Advance Housing Peter Adams with an old sewing machine found at the construction site. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Pieces of history are being uncovered at the site of the Old State School on the corner of Collie Street and Serpentine Road.

H+H Architect director Julie de Jong said artefacts were being found beneath the surface as work progressed on the Advance Housing student accommodation project.

“One of the first stages is building a carpark at the back of the old headmasters house. The majority of the artefacts were found in this sort of area, which is where the old domestic school was,” she said.

“This was where the girls did the ironing and things like that.

“We are still turning things up. It’s been great discovering a whole range of things and there’s probably more to find.”

Ms de Jong said she had expected to find some artefacts buried underneath the site but she was pleasantly surprised with the range of items.

“In the first stages when we refurbished the old buildings, we found a heap of artefacts underneath the floor boards, including old school satchels, comic books, letters and notes, and all sorts of things,” she said.

“We expected the site might be rich in history. It’s not the kind of site that has been disturbed for a long time.”

One of the artefacts, an old sewing machine, was found when someone tripped over it.

Other items found at the site include bottles, ink pots, broken crockery, old hooks for school bags — and a lot of marbles.

“I think the nice surprise was how excited everyone was to see what we found.

“The school site has a great association with many people in Albany. A lot of people went to school there and are still living here and there have been multiple generations come through for some families.”

Ms de Jong said the artefacts found could date from the 1880s to 1920s.

“The economy centre was knocked down in the late 1920s so a lot of this stuff was buried under that site so it’s probably pre-1920s — the first phase of the school.”

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