Australian National University (ANU) School of Archaeology and Anthropology
and Navin Officer Heritage Consultants (NOHC) archaeologists are due to begin work unearthing some of the Canberra region’s early European settlement - a lost nineteenth century schoolhouse in Googong.
The schoolhouse was built in the 1880s and operated for around 20-30 years on a property owned by well-known Queanbeyan resident James Brown.
ANU archaeologist Dr Duncan Wright said very little is known about the area in the time period but early test work on the site had already uncovered some significant finds.
“The team has already found a few things like slate pencils where we think the old school is located, and there’s various structural features such as stone walls as well,” Dr Wright said.
“We’re hoping the project gives us a nice window into rural life in that period. There has been very little archaeological evidence found from that period in this area before.”
The project will involve a field school for ANU archaeology students. It will also involve more than 100 primary school students from at least three different schools in the local area to take part throughout the excavation.
The dig is being run in partnership with NOHC and is part of the environmental and heritage survey works being undertaken by Googong township developers Peet Limited and Mirvac.
NOHC project Excavation Director and ANU archology graduate Dr Rebecca Parkes said the school was a missing piece of local history.
“The school operated into the 20th century but there are very few historical records for it and nobody could remember where it was, so it was lost,” Dr Parkes said.
“We want to know how big the structure was and how many kids might have been schooled there.”
Dr Parkes said they were working with The Anglican School Googong to use the materials unearthed as an educational package so kids can learn about their local history.