(Rear L-R) Guraki Aboriginal Advisory Committee Chairperson Luke Russell, Awabakal Descendants Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation Managing Director Peter Leven, City of Newcastle Heritage Planner Tom Smith, City of Newcastle Manager Regulatory, Planning & Assessment Michelle Bisson, AMAC Group Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Director Ben Streat, AMAC Group Principal Director Martin Carney and (front) AMAC Group archaeologist Prue Newton at Cathedral Park for the archaeological excavations.
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UNEARTHED: Archaeological dig at Cathedral Park gets underway

Newcastle’s oldest European cemetery, located high on the hill behind Christ Church Cathedral, is the focus of a new archaeological dig.

The dig at Cathedral Park, the resting place of more than 3300 of the city’s earliest European inhabitants, will delve deeper into the heritage of the site ahead of its planned revitalisation.

“City of Newcastle has engaged the Archaeological Management and Consulting Group (AMAC) to undertake a series of excavations to test for the presence of historical archaeological relics or Aboriginal archaeological objects in areas subject to planned landscaping and heritage interpretation works,” City of Newcastle Manager Regulatory, Planning & Assessment Michelle Bisson said.

“This test excavation program will be supervised by Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) from the local community.

“Appropriate safety measures will be put in place by City of Newcastle to ensure the park will remain open to the public for the duration of these archaeological works, which are required before we can progress with the next stage of the proposed landscaping project.

“The archaeologists on site are also happy to engage with the public and answer any questions they may have.”

Since 2012, City of Newcastle has been carrying out a number of improvement projects as part of a masterplan proposal to transform Cathedral Park into a showpiece destination.

The plan is designed to respect the site’s heritage while also making the most of its spectacular views over the city and harbour and its position adjacent to the Christ Church Cathedral, which attracts upwards of 80,000 visitors each year.