Maritime archaeology students will this week undertake a research excavation at one of Victoria’s most important heritage sites, the Clifton Springs Spa Complex, the Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney announced today.
With guidance from Heritage Victoria’s maritime archaeology team, the students from Adelaide’s Flinders University will focus on the 1890s Long Jetty site, looking for remnants of Clifton Springs’ heady days as a tourist resort.
This is the second time the State Government agency Heritage Victoria has teamed up with Flinders University to provide access and tuition for its Maritime Archaeology Field School.
Representing the Planning Minister, Ms Tierney joined the Field School during its first day at the Clifton Springs Long Jetty today, hearing first-hand about their unique research project.
“In the 19th century, Clifton Springs was Victoria’s only seaside mineral springs resort and a booming tourist destination. Today, remnants like the Long Jetty piles remind us of the area’s fascinating history,” Ms Tierney said.
“Therefore, it is important that we understand and protect what is left and it’s wonderful to see these students developing their skills while helping to build our knowledge of the site.”
The Clifton Springs Spa Complex archaeological site is included on the Victorian Heritage Register, in recognition of its State heritage significance.
The spa complex operated there from around 1875 to 1920. The Long Jetty was built around 1890 to service the popular bay steamers that delivered tourists and health-seekers to the resort.
Ms Tierney said the aim of the excavation was to better understand the potential for artefacts at this and other historic jetties in Victoria and therefore improve their conservation and management.
“By searching for artefacts at the berthing area of the Long Jetty, we hope the Field School can tell us more about the archaeology of jetties and piers,’’ Ms Tierney said.
“The items that passengers and crew tossed overboard, like empty bottles and ceramics, might now reveal essential clues to the formation of maritime heritage sites all over Victoria.”
Based at Portarlington until February 18, the Field School includes a mix of post-graduate and undergraduate students, as well as international students.
The students will also undertake surveys of two historic shipwreck sites, the PS Ozone at Indented Head and the four-mast schooner Aneiura at Point Lillias, Corio Bay.
Heritage Victoria is part of the Department of Planning and Community Development. It is the State Government agency responsible for Victoria’s non-Indigenous cultural heritage.