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ASHA NEWS


Jennifer Jones-Travers, GML Heritage

INTRODUCTION

Defence Housing Australia's (DHA) new Akuna Vista residential development is currently under construction at the site of the former Schofields Aerodrome in Schofields, NSW. GML Heritage, led by excavation directors Dr Jennifer Jones-Travers and Abi Cryerhall, completed historical archaeological excavations to mitigate the impacts of development on three sites associated with the c1820 homestead of the Pye family.

The Schofields Aerodrome was established as an airfield by the Royal Australian Air Force in World War II and remained in use until it was decommissioned in 1994. Prior to establishment of the Aerodrome, the site comprised part of a large homestead established by Joseph Pye, son of emancipated convict John Pye, in 1816. The Pye family occupied the site until 1938.

These investigations focused on three sites depicted in a plan showing the property in 1842 (Figure 1):

  • Cottage Site—a rural nineteenth-century cottage with evidence of brickmaking;
  • Orchard Site—a purposefully planted orchard landscape with potential contact period archaeology providing evidence of early interactions between the Pye family and local Aboriginal groups; and
  • Homestead Site—the site of the 'Waawaar Awaa' homestead established by the Pye family by 1825, with remaining evidence of outbuildings and landscape modifications.

Historical archaeological remains recovered at the former Schofields Aerodrome provide rich evidence associated with rural industry, early colonial lifeways, interaction between Aboriginal groups and European settlers, early modifications to the natural landscape and military use of the site.

This blog post consists of a summary report of the remains that GML recorded on the site. A downloadable pdf summary report is also available on GML Heritage's website.

CONTENTS

Figure 1, Detail from ‘Plan of Part of the Windsor District’, drawn by Surveyor J Musgrave in 1842. (Source: SLNSW)

TIMELINE

Date Event
Time Immemorial Archaeological evidence for Aboriginal occupation on the flat terraces of Eastern Creek's banks started to accumulate 6,600 to 5,600 years ago, when locally available silcrete gravels were brought to and worked on raised flat landforms adjacent to the creek.
1802 Large areas of land, including the study area, are set aside by Governor King for use as common grazing land.
1816 Joseph Pye, son of emancipated convict John Pye, is granted 85 acres of land including the study area. His father (John Pye) is granted 85 acres of land immediately adjacent to the south. Joseph and John Pye continue purchasing adjacent properties and enhancing the Pye Farm landholdings. Joseph Pye marries Elizabeth Ward; they eventually have six children.
1825 The site is established and has been cleared by convict labourers. Pye Farm is advertised for lease for not more than seven years. The following description of the site is provided in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser:
It consists of 870 acres, 60 of which are stumped, and 670 enclosed in Paddocks, and in luxurious cultivation. It is well watered, being at the Banks of an extensive Creek. There is a good garden, dwelling-house, farm, out-houses, and newly-planted garden and orchard, of 5 acres.[1]
The homestead is named 'Waawaar Awaa', meaning 'fresh water' in Dharug, likely in reference to its proximity to Eastern Creek. The house is described as being 'tri-level', ''for at the back the ground fell away and a two-storey section backed onto the main front section'.[2]
1842 Plan of Windsor created by Surveyor J Musgrave, including Pye Farm, with an orchard, cottage, roads and 'Burial Ground of the Blacks' to the northwest (Figure 1).
1845 China and common oranges from Pye Farm orchards win awards at the Floral and Horticultural Show.[3]
1852–1853 Elizabeth Pye and Joseph Pye die in 1852 and 1853, respectively.[4] Ownership of the farm transfers to David Pye.
1858 David Pye marries Janet Dick, and the couple proceed to have eight children. David became known as one of the best orchardists and authorities on stock in the colony of NSW.[5]
1 Dec 1864 Railway between Richmond and Blacktown completed, extends along the east side of the study area.[6]
1893 David Pye subdivides the farm and distributes it to his three sons, with Sydney George Pye granted the homestead, James John Pye the land to the north and Charles Ward Pye the land to the east. [7]
1938 James Pye dies and his ageing brother, Sydney George Pye, sells both farms to brothers Joseph and Harold Langlade who establish 'Langlade's Dairy' at the former Pye Farm. [8]
1939 World War II breaks out and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) begins searching for suitable sites to build satellite airfields to RAAF Station Richmond.[9]
1942 Langlade's style='mso-bidi-font-family: Dairy property commandeered by the government. Waawaar-Awaa homestead demolished in June 1942. RAAF Station Schofields formally occupied by September 1942. [10]
1944 Aerodrome loaned to the Royal Navy's Air Arm of the British Pacific Fleet (BPF) and commissioned as HMAS NABTHORPE, recommissioned as HMAS NABSTOCK after World War II declared over. [11]
9 June 1946 Aerodrome returned to RAAF Station Schofields.
1949 Royal Navy buildings at aerodrome used to house approximately 300 male migrants escaping Europe until 1951.[12]
c1950 A disused portion of the airstrip is used as part of a 2.3-mile racing circuit used in the 1950s, closed in 1958.[13]
1951 Schofields Aerodrome came under control of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), recommissioned as HMAS ALBATROSS II, RANARY, Schofields.[14]
1953 Site recommissioned as HMAS NIRIMBA.[15]
1955 HMAS NIRIMBA downgraded from a 'Repair Yard' to a 'Care and Maintenance' facility.[16] In 1956 it also became a naval apprentice training ground.
1993 HMAS NIRIMBA officially decommissioned.
1994 Schofields Aerodrome closed.

COTTAGE SITE

The 'Cottage' site, shown on the 1842 Plan of Windsor, contained evidence of early brick manufacture, a cottage, outbuildings and landscape features. The industrial landscape of brickmaking and habitation was legible and provides insight into how the larger 'Waawaar Awaa' estate site was established.

Brick Making

Evidence of a large clamp, a single-use brick kiln with linear flue channels, was found at the southeast corner of the Cottage site (Figure 2). Clay quarrying was undertaken at the northwest and west parts of the site, with deep extraction completed to remove the naturally occurring orange-red clay with veins of ironstone nodules throughout. The site is low-lying and adjacent to a waterway—ground water begins rising at 1m to 2m below current ground surface. This has rendered the clay in this area softer, damper and more malleable than clay encountered at other parts of the former Schofields Aerodrome. Clay extraction focused on this soft, malleable clay, with outcrops of denser basal clay left in situ with evidence of pick and shovel marks from extraction (Figure 3).

A pug pit for mixing and tempering clay was found at the northeast corner of the site alongside a stratified deposit of charcoal and ash, possibly from repeatedly cleaning out the clamp site between firings. Two rectilinear timber outbuildings, identified as likely being associated with brick manufacture, were located at the site. Stratigraphic context identified that they pre-date later additions to the domestic components of the site, though no structural evidence beyond postholes remained to identify their function.

All structures through all phases at both the Cottage site and at Waawaar Awaa used visually identical sandstock bricks. These bricks have ironstone inclusions and no frogs. The bricks are irregularly fired, with some friable and under-fired, while others were black and nearly vitrified from over-firing. Further analysis of brick samples collected from structures across Pye Farm will be undertaken to clarify the extent to which bricks manufactured at the Cottage site were used.

Brick manufacture was likely established at the site to enable construction of Waawaar Awaa house and associated outbuildings. Demolition rubble with large quantities of brick matching those from the Cottage were found in a drainage channel near the historical mapped entrance to Waawaar Awaa and may represent the remains of the house. The Cottage site could have been established in the early 1820s, and material culture recovered from the site supports this phasing.

Further work will be completed to compare the brick making components from the Cottage site with other early nineteenth-century rural brick manufacturing sites in the region. Reconstructing the final volume of quarried clay and an estimate of the resulting number of bricks that could be produced will assist in identifying the scale of brick production at the site.

Figure 2, Fire-reddened and charcoal stained bands in the earth provide evidence of the brick clamp. (Source: GML 2018)

Figure 2, Fire-reddened and charcoal stained bands in the earth provide evidence of the brick clamp. (Source: GML 2018)

Figure 3, Brick clay quarry pit in section, showing gradual stages of in-fill and temporary use as a dam. (Source: GML 2018)

Figure 3, Brick clay quarry pit in section, showing gradual stages of in-fill and temporary use as a dam. (Source: GML 2018)

Cottage

Excavations at the Cottage site uncovered evidence of a one-room timber cottage with brick hearth (Figure 4). The cottage had four large, round corner posts and timber walls with vertical planks held in place by brick fragments, while the interior had timber plank and brick paved floors.

Multiple phases of construction and repair were identified. The cottage appears to have existed on site prior to and during brick manufacture at the site though extensions were made afterwards. A semi-circular verandah of poorly fired waster bricks was constructed at the front of the cottage. A sandstock brick spoon drain was constructed to the southeast of the cottage and connected to an earthen-walled drainage channel draining into the clay extraction pits, while at least one tree was planted at the front (north) side of the cottage. There is evidence of work to correct for the boggy terrain and re-stabilise the walls of the cottage and one corner post was re-excavated and corrected, while crushed brick was laid at two sides of the cottage, possibly to build up the terrain and improve drainage.

The absence of material culture post-dating 1850 suggests it was abandoned by the mid-nineteenth century and supports the notion that it was situated on a marginal, low-lying part of the site selected for its proximity to suitable brickmaking clays kept soft and malleable by an adjacent waterway.

The Pye family had convict labourers to clear the land and work in the fields at their estate. It is possible that the Cottage was occupied by a convict overseer, the brickmaker, a hired labourer or a tenant farmer. Analysis of structural remains and material culture recovered will make comparisons with c1820 convict huts and other employee residences at rural estates.

Figure 4, Timber cottage with brick paved and timber planked floor. Semi-circular curved brick verandah at the front of the cottage, sandstock brick spoon drain at the southeast corner of the cottage. (Source: Guy Hazell 2018)

WAAWAAR AWAA HOMESTEAD

The Pye family homestead, 'Waawaar Awaa', was constructed c1820 on a rise overlooking Eastern Creek. Historical archaeological excavations encountered evidence of outbuildings and landscape elements associated with occupation and use of the homestead. Further analysis of features excavated will provide new insight into life on the property.

Stable/Workshop

A stone paved structure with timber walls, preliminarily identified as a stable or workshop, was excavated towards the centre of the site. Large dressed sandstone flagstones (approximately 500mm to 950mm in size) pave the north half of the structure, while a cobble paved surface covers the southern portion of the structure which measures 3.9m wide and at least 8.8m long (the southern end was truncated by later disturbance).

Timber planks, likely wall foundations, extend along the north and west walls of the structure and timber posts formed the corners of the structure. Brick post bases on the east side of the building indicate that the building may have been partially or completely open-fronted (Figure 5). Timber planks extending through the cobble paving on the south side of the building created an internal division, possibly for stalls.

Machinery and electrical parts found within the cracks of the flagged floor indicate it remained in use into the twentieth century.

Figure 5, Sandstone flagged paving, with a posthole at the corner of the structure and timber wall base along the north wall. (Source: GML 2018)

Brick Hearth

A hearth base of sandstock bricks, 1950mm by 970mm in size, was located at the northwest corner of the landform on which Waawaar Awaa was situated. A deposit of ash and charcoal was found within and extending out the front of the hearth. Two remnant square timber posts are on the interior edge of the hearth base and a possible wall cut or drainage channel is associated with the face of the feature (Figure 6). The areas surrounding the hearth were highly disturbed and the original function of the structure and associated hearth has not yet been identified.

Further investigation will consider the hearth in association with neighbouring structures and activity areas across the homestead site to try and determine feasible historical uses.

Figure 6, Sandstock brick heath base, view to northwest. (Source: GML 2018)

Brick Privy

A rectangular structure 1840mm by 1720mm in size and constructed of soft, friable sandstock bricks was located at the south end of the site and has been preliminarily identified as a privy. The walls of the structure were two courses wide, the remaining footings were only two courses deep and cut directly into natural clay substrate (Figure 7). No cess deposit or pit was found in association with the structure, suggesting that it may have been a pail closet with an above-ground waste receptacle emptied as required, as opposed to a cesspit.

Figure 7, Sandstock brick privy. (Source: GML 2018)

Stone Paved Structure

A rectilinear structure 6m by 4.6m in size with a semi-circular entrance or hearth stone on its east side was encountered at the northwest corner of the homestead site. The floor of the structure is elaborately paved with small dressed blocks and sub-angular cobbles of sandstone notably harder and greyer than the Sydney or Hawkesbury varieties. The large semi-circular entrance or hearth stone on the east wall is surrounded by fine cobble paving, and a diamond is incorporated to the adjacent paving at the interior of the structure (Figure 8). A potential drain or wall base of smaller cobbles extends north–south near the eastern wall. Extensive brick rubble was recovered to the north and overlying the paving in some areas. It is likely that at least part of the structure was constructed of brick.

Figure 8, Stone paved structure with semi-circular entrance or hearth. (Source: Guy Hazell 2018)

Gardens, Drains, Paths

A range of landscape elements provide evidence of historical attempts to work with and on the landscape at Waawaar Awaa homestead. Evidence of water management includes a large concrete-rendered sandstock brick beehive cistern with a range of drains and later water pipes and sumps forming a network extending from it. A long, curving sandstock brick path extends north of the cistern (Figure 9), while a small section of a second brick path extends east–west of it.

Rich, dark organic soil with small artefacts throughout was encountered at the northeast end of the site and edged in some areas by a single course (width and depth) of sandstock bricks. Two separate garden plots were identified and surveyed, diagnostic artefacts were collected and soil samples were taken to assist with paleoethnobotanical analysis to identify some of the plants cultivated on site.

Figure 9, Curvilinear sandstock brick paving leading towards the cistern and drains. (Source: GML 2018)

Royal Australian Air Force Camp

A deposit of artefacts from the early 1940s—including date-stamped institutional ironstone china, heavy gauge shell casings, belt buckles, glass salt and pepper shakers, ointment pots, hair tonic bottles and a lead bullet—was recovered at the northwest corner of the land formation on which Waawaar Awaa was situated (Figure 10).

These have been interpreted as likely resulting from use of the site by the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II. Tent camps were erected within the site to accommodate soldiers and the artefacts recovered are consistent with a semi-institutional residential setting.

Figure 10, Artefacts associated with twentieth-century military use of the site, including belt buckles, a bullet, salt shaker and plumb bob. (Source: GML 2018)

ORCHARD AREA

An area depicted as an Orchard in an 1842 map has provided potential evidence of early interactions between Aboriginal groups and the Pye family as part of a broader contact period cultural landscape. The Orchard site also provided evidence of early orchard practice and possibly failure of some species.

Contact Archaeology

Contact archaeology provides rare evidence of early interactions between Aboriginal groups and European settlers, as well as experimentation with and adaptation of new materials by Aboriginal groups. High concentrations of Aboriginal lithic materials, as well as small pieces of white refined earthenware and glass with evidence of knapping, were found during historical and Aboriginal archaeological excavations at the Orchard site (Figure 11). Preliminary historical research has identified accounts of ongoing peaceful interactions between the Pye family and Aboriginal peoples in the area.

The Orchard site is located within a significant historical Aboriginal landscape, located in proximity to the Blacktown Native Institution, the Iron Bark Ridge silcrete quarry, the Nurragingy and Colebee land grant, and a site marked 'Burial Ground of the Blacks' to the northwest. It is possible that the Orchard represents a site of ongoing habitation and activity by Aboriginal peoples in the area.

Further analysis will be completed by Aboriginal artefact specialists to confirm whether glass and ceramic artefacts have been worked or knapped and represent contact-period Aboriginal archaeological deposits. Ceramic patterns represented in the collection will be analysed to see if they match materials collected from the Cottage or Waawaar Awaa.

Figure 11, Examples of ceramic fragments recovered from the Orchard site. (Source: GML 2018)

Orchard

Square cuts for planting trees with burnt tree boles, spaced approximately 5m apart, were located within the area of the site identified as an orchard in the 1842 Plan of Windsor. Root systems and tree boles were not extensive; this and the lack of formally established drainage described in historical accounts suggests that this part of the site was not used as an orchard for long. The award-winning mid-nineteenth century orchards may have been situated north of Waawaar Awaa.

Samples of wood collected from the tree boles are being analysed to identify the tree species planted in this orchard and see if the Pye family had tried planting something different that was less successful than their famous oranges (Figure 12).

Figure 12, Burnt tree bole from the Orchard site. (Source: GML 2017)

ENDNOTES

[1] The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 7 November 1825, p 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2184642

[2] Robb, R 1993, The Flight of the Pelican, Tugiri Books, Picnic Point, NSW, p 7.

[3] The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 September 1845, p 3.http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12882393

[4] Extent Pty Ltd, Former Schofields Aerodrome, Nirimba Drive, Quakers Hill—Heritage Impact Statement, prepared for Defence Housing Australia, May 2015, p 14.

[5] Extent Pty Ltd, Former Schofields Aerodrome, Nirimba Drive, Quakers Hill—Heritage Impact Statement, prepared for Defence Housing Australia, May 2015, p 15.

[6] Extent Pty Ltd, Former Schofields Aerodrome, Nirimba Drive, Quakers Hill—Heritage Impact Statement, prepared for Defence Housing Australia, May 2015, p 14.

[7] Extent Pty Ltd, Former Schofields Aerodrome, Nirimba Drive, Quakers Hill—Heritage Impact Statement, prepared for Defence Housing Australia, May 2015, p 15.

[8] Extent Pty Ltd, Former Schofields Aerodrome, Nirimba Drive, Quakers Hill—Heritage Impact Statement, prepared for Defence Housing Australia, May 2015, p 16.

[9] Extent Pty Ltd, Former Schofields Aerodrome, Nirimba Drive, Quakers Hill—Heritage Impact Statement, prepared for Defence Housing Australia, May 2015, p 21.

[10] Extent Pty Ltd, Former Schofields Aerodrome, Nirimba Drive, Quakers Hill—Heritage Impact Statement, prepared for Defence Housing Australia, May 2015, p 21.

[11] Extent Pty Ltd, Former Schofields Aerodrome, Nirimba Drive, Quakers Hill—Heritage Impact Statement, prepared for Defence Housing Australia, May 2015, p 21.

[12] Extent Pty Ltd, Former Schofields Aerodrome, Nirimba Drive, Quakers Hill—Heritage Impact Statement, prepared for Defence Housing Australia, May 2015, p 22.

[13] Extent Pty Ltd, Former Schofields Aerodrome, Nirimba Drive, Quakers Hill—Heritage Impact Statement, prepared for Defence Housing Australia, May 2015, p 22.

[14] Extent Pty Ltd, Former Schofields Aerodrome, Nirimba Drive, Quakers Hill—Heritage Impact Statement, prepared for Defence Housing Australia, May 2015, p 22.

[15] Extent Pty Ltd, Former Schofields Aerodrome, Nirimba Drive, Quakers Hill—Heritage Impact Statement, prepared for Defence Housing Australia, May 2015, p 22.

[16] Extent Pty Ltd, Former Schofields Aerodrome, Nirimba Drive, Quakers Hill—Heritage Impact Statement, prepared for Defence Housing Australia, May 2015, p 22.

Written by Blog Editor

Just two more weeks to go until National Archaeology Week kicks off in Australia! The week begins on 21st May, and there are lots of events happening in and around the week (most are free!) that you can pop in to and spread the word about the wonderful archaeological work going on across the country! For more information, including a calendar of events, see: http://www.archaeologyweek.com/

Written by Nicholas Pitt

This workshop is being organised by the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology with the support of Australia ICOMOS and the Heritage Division, Office of Environment and Heritage. The venue is provided courtesy of Property NSW.

Historical documents: maps, plans and images
This session will:

  • look at how and why we do Land Titles research in archaeology
  • involve an online workshop on how to do Land Titles research and its value in understanding archaeological sites.
  • provide an understanding of historic images and plans
  • look at methods for overlaying maps and plans

    Archaeological Research Questions and Assessing Significance
    This session considers how we construct archaeological research designs and formulate questions to better understand the archaeological resource. This will include consideration of how these questions fit with assessing archaeological significance within a framework of the 2009 guidelines .

    Working in different statutory environments
    This session provides an overview of the s tatutory planning environments that archaeologists work i n , in NSW. It will look at assess ing heritage and archaeology for S tate Significant Development and Infrastructure projects including :

  • the role of an arch aeological assessment in the Environmental Impact Statement and the approvals process
  • managing risk for your clients (costs, time delays, etc.)
  • archaeological obligations under the NSW Heritage Act, 1977

     

    Workshop Presenters

  • Dr Mary Casey, President, ASHA and Director, Casey & Lowe
  • Dr James Flexner, Lecturer in Historical Archaeology and Heritage, University of Sydney
  • Dr Terry Kass, Historian and heritage consultant
  • Dr Siobhan Lavelle, Senior Team Leader, Heritage Division, Office of Environment and Heritage
  • Mr Nic holas Pitt, Webmaster, ASHA, postgraduate student and independent heritage practitioner.
  • Ms Kylie Seretis, Director, Casey & Lowe
  • Dr Iain Stuart , Vice - President, A S H A and Partner, JCIS Consultants

     

    Costs
    ASHA/ ICOMOS Members $110
    Student ASHA/ ICOMOS Members $ 55
    Non - Member $160
    Student Non - Member $ 80

    Venue
    Big Dig Centre, YHA Cumberland Street, The Rocks

    Date/ Time
    Friday 20 April 2018, 9am to 5pm

    ASHA encourages the participation of archaeological and heritage consultants seeking to improve their archaeological assessment and research skills and understanding of the current legislative frameworks .

    For more information and to book see: www.asha.org.au/events

  • Written by the SHAP committee

    Sydney Historical Archaeology Practitioners’ (SHAP) Workshop is running on 18 May 2018. The theme of this year’s Workshop is: The Role of Archaeology in Heritage Conservation. Submissions for sessions and papers have been extended to 22 April so if you have not yet submitted your abstract we would love to hear from you! Please send it to admin@extent.com.au or email us for more info. Abstracts only need to be 150 words and presentations are short – 15 minutes with question time at the end.

    Tickets for the SHAP Workshop are now also on sale at https://shap2018.eventbrite.com.au – head over to reserve your spot now as places are limited! Tickets are $33 for students, $66 for ASHA/AAA/AACAI/ICOMOS members and $88 for general entry, including food and drinks.

    Written by ASHA Committee

    In August 2017 ASHA conducted a survey of members regarding what type of workshop members would be interested in attending. In response to outcomes of the survey, ASHA is proposing to hold a series workshops aimed at enhancing your heritage skills in key areas identified by members.

    The first workshop - Technical and Research Skills - is aimed at refining practitioners’ assessment skills when using documents, maps and plans, providing greater understanding the different statutory environments, and an opportunity to consider archaeological research designs and archaeological significance. The workshop will be held on Friday 20th April, 2018 at the Big Dig Centre in Sydney.

    While the workshop is aimed at archaeologists, it will also be beneficial to heritage consultants who include the outcomes of archaeological assessments in their reports, people who manage general archaeological and heritage issues. Further details, including registration details, are available here: http://www.asha.org.au/events

    Written by Dr Christine Williamson, Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants

    In 2016 Extent Heritage were engaged by the Department of Parliamentary Services, Parliament of Victoria to undertaken excavations within the grounds of Victoria’s Parliament House. This location includes the site of the former St Peter’s Diocesan Grammar School (H7822-2339), which was constructed in 1849. The excavations yielded a collection of 10122 artefacts, among which were 18 pieces of at least two glass target balls. Unfortunately, these pieces were recovered from unstratified contexts that include materials deposited with nightsoil that was dumped across much of inner Melbourne in the late 19th century and therefore cannot be definitively tied to on-site activities. However, in and of themselves, they are interesting objects.


    PLATE 1: Some of the Parliament House target ball fragments (Supplied: Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants).

    The target balls are made of cobalt-blue glass, are 65mm in diameter and have a grid pattern on the surface. The items are round, with the exception of a protruding opening (Plate 1 above). They have been created by blowing glass into a 2-piece mould with the rough lip on the opening formed when the glass was broken away from the blowpipe. The raised pattern on the surface of the balls was designed to prevent shot from ricocheting off the smooth ball (Kerr nd). Unlike the complete items illustrated in Plate 2 below, the Parliament House artefacts do not have a maker’s mark. The style of the Parliament House balls is the same as ‘an extremely rare ball’ that was made in Australia (targetballs.com, Plate 3 below). I have not been able to find any information on Australian glass target ball manufacturers, other than Frederick Bolton Hughes of the South Australian Glass Bottle Company. He made glass target balls between 1896 and 1913, but his items are embossed with his initials ( pssatrap.org).


    PLATE 2: A collection of glass target balls (peachridgeglass.com).


    PLATE 3: Australian-made glass target ball (targetballs.com).

    Glass target balls, in a range of bright colours that would be easily visible as they were launched into the sky, were manufactured from about the 1860s until the end of the 19th century, with their main period of use between 1875 and 1885 (antiquebottles.com; glassbottle marks.com; peachridgeglass.com). At the height of their popularity, the Bohemian Glass Works in New York City produced 1.2 million glass target balls in a six-month period, each of which sold for just over a penny (Finch ndb).


    PLATE 4: Target ball trap (peachridgeglass.com)


    PLATE 5: Target ball trap (targetballs.com)

    The ‘invention’ of glass target ball shooting is credited to Charles Portlock of Boston, who organised the first competitive glass target shoots in in 1867 (Kerr nd). The glass balls were hailed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as an invention that ‘supersedes the necessity of inflicting pain and suffering to pigeons hitherto used by marksmen as a medium for obtaining accuracy of aim’ (Henry Berg letter dated 7/8/1876 in Finch nda) and one patent trap was named ‘The Pigeon’s Friend’. The early traps were of limited popularity as they simply threw the ball straight up into the air. However, in 1877 a trap was patented that cast the balls in a 60-foot-long arc and other patents soon followed (Kerr nd, plates 4 and 5 above). By the late 19th century glass target balls were rapidly replaced with clay targets that were considered safer as they did not lead to large amounts of broken glass falling from the sky and scattering across the ground.

    However, glass target balls remained popular in shooting competitions, exhibitions, circuses and Wild West shows. The ‘Ira Paines’ Filled Ball’, popularised by shooter Ira Paines, was filled with feathers and powder so that when the ball broke apart it resembled a bird being shot (Kerr nd). Annie Oakley is said to have filled her glass balls with streamers that burst from the item when it broke apart (Meyer 2012). The balls were also used as a solid, curved surface for darning socks on and for teething babies (Finch ndb) and were sometimes repurposed as Christmas decorations (glassbottlemarks.com).


    Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants

    Extent Heritage

    References
    Finch, R. nda Who’s on First? Portlock, Paine, Moreson? www.targetballs.com
    Finch, R. ndb. What are Target Balls? www.targetballs.com
    Kerr, A. nd. For Fun, Sure as Shooting – Target Balls Hit the Mark. www.traphof.org
    Meyer, F. 2012. Target Glass, Glass Made to Be Broken www.peachridgeglass.com

    Compiled by Blog Editor

    Jeremy Smith, Principal Archaeologist at Heritage Victoria recently discussed the Wesley Church and Jones Lane excavation with ABC Saturday Breakfast Radio host Hilary Harper.

    From the ABC Radio website: An archaeological dig on Lonsdale Street between Russell and Exhibition has shone a window into life in pre-Gold Rush era Melbourne, showing it was more diverse and vibrant than we might have imagined. Jeremy Smith, principal archaeologist for Heritage Victoria, told Hilary Harper why there were whole houses sitting two metres under street level.

    A recording of the interview can be found here: www.abc.net.au/radio/melbourne/

    Written by Caiti D'Gluyas

    The next ASHA reading group is being hosted by Casey and Lowe and will be held on 22nd March. This is a semi-regular (quarterly) opportunity to catch-up with other historical archaeologists and discuss themes of interest.

    Topic: Historical Artefacts
    Facilitator: Robyn Stocks, Senior Artefact Specialist, Casey and Lowe
    Location: Casey and Lowe Offices, 51 Reuss Street, LEICHHARDT NSW 2040
    Time: 6pm, Thursday 22nd March 2017

    Primary Readings
    Davies, P. 2005 ‘Writing Slates and Schooling in Victoria’, Australasian Historical Archaeology 23:63-69.
    Gojak, D. & I. Stuart 1999 ‘The Potential for the Archaeological Study of Clay, Tobacco Pipes from Australian Sites’, Australasian Historical Archaeology 17:38-49.
    Klippel, W.E. & G.F. Schroedl 1999 ‘African slave craftsmen and single-hole bone discs from Brimstone Hill, St Kitts, West Indies’, Post-Medieval Archaeology 33:22–232.

    Secondary Readings
    Varman, R.V.J. 1993 Bricks and Nails: Building Materials as Criteria for Dating in Sydney and Environs from 1788, A Documentary Survey and Assessment of Dating Potential, Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Sydney. Available online at https://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/handle/2123/1205

    Contact secretary@asha.org.au if you are finding it difficult to find the readings.

    The event is free and open to anyone who is interested, however, RSVPs are essential (to secretary@asha.org.au), so please get in touch if you would like to come!




    Written by Nadia Bajzelj

    Excavations at the Wesley Church precinct were carried out by Dr. Vincent Clark and Associates in 2017, a site which is located between Lonsdale and Little Lonsdale streets in the Melbourne CBD. The residences at Jones Lane were brick houses with bluestone footings, ranging in size from two to four rooms.

    This month’s ‘Artefact of the Month’ was found in one of the residences along Jones Lane, which ran between Lonsdale and Little Lonsdale streets. This masonic stickpin, which is a decorative pin used to secure men’s cravats or neck ties. Stickpins generally date from the early 19th century, and though the date for this one is still being pinned down, it is dated to broadly between the late 19th and early 20th century.

    This stick pin is 76mm in length and is made from copper alloy, delicately shaped in twisted ropes around a clear oval piece of glass. The glass has a thin veneer of shell over the top, cut into the Masonic symbol of a square and compass. The motif is interesting as our background research on the site shows a number of different businesses, but none related to stone masons. The analysis of the artefacts from the site is still in progress, so our knowledge of the site at this stage is still preliminary, but we hope that we can research the inhabitants of this residence and identify any members of the Masonic Lodge.

    For more information see: http://vincentclark.com.au/2017/05/jones-lane-historical-archaeology/



    Compiled by Blog Editor

    An excavation in Wellington has uncovered the remains of an early fort which once sat close to the shoreline, at approximately the level of current-day Bond Street in the city center. The remains, and those of early shops in the area are some of the first examples of European settlement at Wellington. For more information see: www.tvnz.co.nz