His­tory be­low the cap­i­tal’s pavement

The Southland Times - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

Be­tween 50 and 100 cen­time­tres be­low Welling­ton’s pave­ments lies a small win­dow of in­for­ma­tion about the city’s early Bri­tish set­tle­ment.

On Fri­day, Welling­ton City Coun­cil con­trac­tors dis­cov­ered some of the ear­li­est set­tler in­fra­struc­ture recorded in the cap­i­tal.

They were car­ry­ing out work under Lom­bard St, in the cen­tral city, when they dis­cov­ered a drain pre-dat­ing 1850.

‘‘What it rep­re­sents is some of the ear­li­est in­fra­struc­ture – that wasn’t con­structed by Ma¯ori – in Welling­ton city,’’ Vanessa Tan­ner, se­nior her­itage ad­viser at Welling­ton City Coun­cil, said.

‘‘[It] con­trib­utes valu­able in­for­ma­tion to our un­der­stand­ing of early Welling­ton set­tle­ments.’’

The Bri­tish ar­rived in Welling­ton in the 1840s. Tan­ner said the drain must have been con­structed prior to 1850 be­cause a city plan from that year has it marked out.

Be­fore land recla­ma­tion, that area was Welling­ton’s fore­shore and an early cen­tre of com­merce in the city. The area con­tained a cus­toms house, an ex­change house, pri­vate wharves and ac­count­ing firms.

‘‘The whole area is an area that is quite in­ter­est­ing his­tor­i­cally and arche­o­log­i­cal as it turns out,’’ Tan­ner said.

The drain was found while con­trac­tors were dig­ging a trench be­low Lom­bard St to in­stall new ser­vices.

The crew could not es­tab­lish how long the drain was, but will carry out re­search to find that out.

It will be a process of link­ing the dots, us­ing this dis­cov­ery to help ex­pand knowl­edge of the early city, Tan­ner said.

The team took sam­ples from the site and will study the bricks to find out where they came from.

The dis­cov­ery also en­ables them to con­firm the lay­out of early build­ings in cen­tral Welling­ton.

‘‘It is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause items from that early colo­nial pe­riod are rel­a­tively rare.’’

What is most in­ter­est­ing is to imag­ine what life would have been like then, Tan­ner said.

‘‘New Zealand was a dif­fer­ent world.’’

Vanessa Tan­ner and Andy Dodd at the site of the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal dis­cov­ery in Welling­ton.

The dis­cov­ery of the drain be­neath Lom­bard St in Welling­ton CBD will help ar­chae­ol­o­gists learn more about early Bri­tish set­tle­ment in the area.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.