Thompson Square brick drainage

As part of the 2018 archaeological excavation at Thompson Square in Windsor, a complex series of brick drains were found and documented by archaeologists commissioned by Roads and Maritime Services. The brick drains were found under the surface in the lower part of the square.

Thompson Square brick drainageThe archaeologists also discovered a series of brick-lined sump-walls going vertically up about two metres from the barrel drain to a brick box drain on the surface. In a report provided to Council’s Heritage Advisory Committee, the President of the Hawkesbury Historical Society, Professor Ian Jack, highlighted that the nature of the bricks found in all three strata is consistent with a Governor Macquarie-period date.

Thompson Square is the oldest civic square in Australia, dated from 1795, and its heritage significance is widely acknowledged, the Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett said.

“This heritage significance has been even further enhanced by the archaeological excavation of its early drainage system,” she said.

“These well-constructed drains reveal Governor Macquarie’s vision for good town planning and better living conditions. They are also examples of locally made brick work and real archaeological evidence of 19th century construction techniques.

“I’m glad that the drain system has not been removed, and while it has been documented and preserved, it is disappointing that it will not be on display for the community and visitors to appreciate and learn about.”

Also according to Professor Ian Jack’s report:

‘What has been partially uncovered in Thompson Square early in 2018 should be understood as remarkable physical evidence of a complex drainage and land-fill system conceived under Governor Macquarie in 1814 and completed by 1820 through the energy of John Howe and James McGrath. This is the earliest public works of its sort surviving in the colony and the barrel drain is the key element in the sophisticated water management system. There is an overwhelming case for conservation, preservation and display.’

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