A recent archaeological survey of Lawley Park has uncovered what are believed to be the remains of an almost 200-year-old jail. The three-day survey led by University of Notre Dame archaeology and history senior lecturer Shane Burke and 14 students used ground-penetrating radar to search beneath the ground for physical evidence of Albany’s history. The group chose to survey Lawley Park as the area has had many uses over Albany’s history including as a jail, military barracks, commissariat and storehouse. Dr Burke said he believes the group had found remains of the old jail, which is believed to have been in use from around 1836 to the 1870s, about 0.8m below ground. “Our students set out to find historical and archaeology evidence of how the site has been used by the people who lived in the region over the years,” he said. “What they uncovered was that just below the ground’s surface are the reminders of previous people’s use of the area going back thousands of years. “The gaol was a small structure that was occupied by police constables and prisoners before it disappeared, probably in 1870. “We also found surface artefacts of different dates at the base of the hill that showed the area was also possibly used for recreation and military functions.” Dr Burke said the findings give an insight into the area’s history. “I think the objects that we’ve found indicate how Albany’s role in Western Australia’s history, and also in Australia’s history, by the way, has changed. “The physical evidence of those different uses of Lawley Park are still there . . . but today, people just see it as a lovely park (with) lovely vistas of course. “But once upon a time, there was a jail there, or down the bottom of the hill, there was a military establishment.” Over three days, the team covered 300sqm of the park and presented their findings in daily debrief sessions at Albany Public Library. The students also conducted pedestrian surveys of the park and found surface artefacts of handmade glass bottles and ceramics which Dr Burke said indicated the area had at one stage been used for “food preparation”. In 2019 Dr Burke and a team of students conducted a survey at the Parade Street park which found the remains below ground of what is believed to be WA’s oldest colonial building. Dr Burke said the group may return to Albany later this year to give a final public update on this year’s survey. Their findings will be compiled into a report which will be provided to the City of Albany, who supported the fieldwork, to help guide future developments in the area.