Cato Square archaeological dig uncovers heritage treasures

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Remains of an 1850s farmhouse and late 1900s housing on the corner of Izett and Chatham streets, Prahran.

Remains of an 1850s farmhouse and late 1900s housing on the corner of Izett and Chatham streets, Prahran. Image: Josh Flex

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Remains of an 1850s farmhouse and late 1900s housing on the corner of Izett and Chatham streets, Prahran.

Remains of an 1850s farmhouse and late 1900s housing on the corner of Izett and Chatham streets, Prahran. Image: Josh Flex

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The artefacts found will become part of Heritage Victoria’s collection.

The artefacts found will become part of Heritage Victoria’s collection. Image: Courtesy City of Stonnington.

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The artefacts found will become part of Heritage Victoria’s collection.

The artefacts found will become part of Heritage Victoria’s collection. Image: Courtesy City of Stonnington.

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The artefacts found will become part of Heritage Victoria’s collection.

The artefacts found will become part of Heritage Victoria’s collection. Image: Courtesy City of Stonnington.

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An archaeological dig at the site of the Cato Square development in the Melbourne suburb of Prahran has uncovered a remarkably intact footprint of a residential lifestyle that dates back to the mid-19th century – just a few years after Prahran was proclaimed a municipal district.

Remains of an 1850s farmhouse and late 1900s housing on the corner of Izett and Chatham streets were found and their footprints are clearly visible from above.

The find is already being hailed as one of the area’s most significant.

Archaeology and cultural heritage consultant Dr Vincent Clark, from Dr Vincent Clark and Associates, explained that their team was looking for historical artefacts as evidence of the earliest white settlement of Prahran. 

“It was exciting to uncover the remains of structural walls, children’s toys, clay pipes, buttons, animal bones and, remarkably, intact crockery, pots and bottles,” Dr Negus Cleary said.

“The analysis of these artefacts and subsequent historical research will enable us tell the story about the diverse cultural heritage of Prahran.”

Dr Negus Cleary said the artefacts would become part of Heritage Victoria’s collection.

The Cato Square development will transform a car park into a new 9,000-square-metre park designed by Lyons Architecture and Aspect Studios.

The $60 million project is being funded by the City of Stonnington and includes an underground parking structure to compensate for the loss of above-ground parking spaces.

The temporary enclosure will soon be reinstated as car parking before construction on Cato Square commences in January 2018, with completion due in 2019.

For more on Cato Square see Lyons and Aspect Studios to transform Melbourne carpark into public park.


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