In June 2017 ArchLink Archaeologists and Heritage Advisors was commissioned by Albury City Council to conduct a review of the MAMA historical archaeology artefact assemblage. The assemblage was the product of an archaeological excavation and monitoring program undertaken by ArchLink in 2015 during the development of the former Albury Regional Art Gallery at 546-556 Dean Street, Albury, which is now known as the Murray Art Museum Albury (or MAMA).
The Albury Regional Art Gallery comprises 2 extant historic buildings that are listed on the local government heritage overlay: the old Albury Town Hall and Burrows House. Background research discovered that the site has been utilised for a number of purposes over the years including the town’s courthouse, a telegraph station, and the Crown Lands and Survey Office. It therefore possesses occupation phases relating to a larger civic precinct that has been an integral part of central Albury since 1847.
An archaeological excavation and monitoring program was undertaken prior to and during the building demolition and construction works. Deposits from the Town Hall and Municipal Office periods of occupation (1907-1920s) were encountered under the floorboards in which was found old cigarette packets, paper envelopes, pins, paper clips and other discarded objects. Under a layer of capping clay older deposits of demolition material were encountered between stone foundations – the remains of the Telegraph Station building that stood here before the Town Hall (1867-1907). Artefacts found amongst the broken bricks included slate pencils, pins, pen nibs, buttons and other small objects. The findings indicated that the brick walls of the Telegraph building had been completely demolished down to the base of the stone foundations in most places.
Interestingly, the early water storage system for the Telegraph Station was found comprising a brick well and two underground brick tanks with terracotta pipes that would have carried water from the well, and also from two down pipe pits, to the tanks. The remains of a stable comprising stone walls and heavily worn brick flooring was also located at the rear of the property.