Preserving Brisbane’s history in collaboration with the University of Queensland
Client: CBGU JV/Pulse
Industry sector: Transport infrastructure
Services: Heritage management, archaeology
Location: Brisbane, QLD
The project and our role
Since 2018, Niche’s heritage consulting team has provided archaeological services for Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project. The large-scale, State government funded infrastructure program involves building an underground rail system linking North and South Brisbane and the construction of four underground stations at Dutton Park, Woolloongabba, Albert Street and Roma Street.
Niche’s role in the project has included the preparation of detailed archaeological assessments, research designs, advice and archaeological investigations within the underground station precincts and associated areas. These works were guided by the Cross River Rail Archaeological Management Plan, prepared by Niche in 2019, and have involved ground investigation and salvage of targeted areas of archaeological potential within the project footprint, artefact analysis and reporting to the client and State agencies.
Research and employment opportunities for archaeology students
In delivering the project, Niche has taken highly collaborative approach, drawing on existing links and expertise from the Queensland Museum and University of Queensland (UQ) to move the project beyond compliance to one providing opportunities for public education and engagement, academic research and hands-on employment for archaeology students.
“One of the key legacies of the project has been a collection of several thousand artefacts, including unique and rare items, providing a glimpse of life in Brisbane from the 1860s to early 1900s. This collection is being housed by the Queensland Museum for current and future research.”Dr Kevin Rains, Associate – Heritage QLD
Two honours students and two PhD students from UQ had the opportunity to participate in excavations for the Cross River Rail project, under the supervision of Niche’s Dr Kevin Rains, with a further 20 students involved in artefact analysis in the lab.
Sharing a greater understanding of Brisbane’s early development
Despite its status as the capital of Queensland, Brisbane is not particularly well documented archaeologically. This project will provide long-term benefits to the community through the recovery of information and artefacts that contribute significantly to a greater understanding of the city’s early development.
“The project along with its exposures provides invaluable insights for the public and works towards telling the stories as well as experiences of past communities that have previously lacked representation.“Dr Kevin Rains, Assocaite – Heritage QLD
Dr Rains has been able to share with the wider community details of some fascinating finds and what they reveal about Brisbane’s past via talks on the Cross River Rail project’s archaeology for UQ’s archaeology program, Brisbane Club, Royal Historical Society of Queensland, National Archaeology Week and National Science Week. He has also written about Chinatown Excavations for Albert Street Station in a recent article for the Royal Historical Society of Queensland.
- Contact us to discuss how we can support your project with heritage management services
- Find out more about the project and our role: Cross River Rail – Historical archaeology update
- Watch Dr Kevin Rains’ Science Week presentation, Through the Cross River Rail Looking Glass
- Read more about Brisbane’s first Chinatown in the Smithsonian Magazine: Archaeologists Unearth Trove of Artifacts From 19th-Century Australian Chinatown