10 February - 24 June 2012
Hidden Worlds offered a peek into recent archaeological excavations undertaken in Bendigo with a focus on the 2009 dig at 10 – 16 Forest Street, Bendigo. The site was investigated due to corporate redevelopment by RSD Chartered Accountants and Haven (formally known as Loddon Mallee Housing Services).
Intensively occupied since the first gold rush, the site yielded a wealth of buried archaeological evidence offering great insights into the public and private lives of past generations who inhabited the site. Beneath layers of dirt, archaeologists came upon a complex layering of timber, brick and stone building foundations. As they continued to dig, they uncovered vast amounts of whole and broken domestic items discarded, lost and forgotten by their owners. Over the course of the five week excavation, more than 4000 artefacts were unearthed and have been conserved and stored by Heritage Victoria for posterity .
Focusing particularly on the earliest inhabitants of the site, Hidden Worlds included crockery, bottles and glassware from the public rooms of the site’s hotel accommodation and boarding houses, in addition to personal items such as tea sets, chamber pots, ointment jars, hair combs and children’s toys, hinting at the lives of nineteenth century Bendigo citizens.
The exhibition also highlighted other recent archaeological digs in Bendigo, including the unique Chinese Brick Kiln at Emu Point and a house and Chinese market garden site at Golden Gully.
A full-colour exhibition catalogue is available from the Gallery Shop and Bendigo Visitor Information Centre for $9.95.