Archaeological Investigation and Cultural Heritage

Predictive Assessment Wodonga to Wagga Wagga Gas Pipe

for East Australian Pipe Line Limited.



Archaeologists conducted a surface survey from Wodonga to Wagga Wagga to provide a predicative model for possible historical archaeological sites that may be impacted upon by the construction of the natural gas pipeline.

Many major historical sites were located, identified from cadastral maps, briefly recorded and photographed. Several fine examples of wattle and daub building methods were identified. The gas pipe line was constructed without impact on the sites recorded.

Major sites included:   

The Hermitage  - Barnawartha, Victoria, is listed on the Register of the National Estate and Classified by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). It was the home of David Reid who established the first flour mill in the area and played an important role in the development on the Beechworth goldfield. Construction of The Hermitage was commenced in 1853 and comprises a basement, principal floor and attic in a long gabled structure with a timber verandah across the main facade. It is located on a hill overlooking the surrounding plains towards the Murray River. Stone outbuildings on Barnawartha include stables and blacksmith’s shop.

David Reid, pastoral entrepreneur and later member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, purchased the Barnawartha run from George Barber in 1853. On this property on the flank of Hermit's Hill Reid built a two storey stone homestead comprising a basement, principal floor and attic, in a long gabled structure with a timber verandah across the main facade. Reid named the property The Hermitage.

The main residence has a brick and stone semi-detached building which includes the kitchen with laundry adjacent, a dining room and servant's quarters. The homestead was originally surrounded by a slightly smaller garden enclosed by a picket fence. The garden and orchard was enlarged and the fence replaced by the present stonewall after Reid sold the property to Joseph Taylor in 1865. The property has remained in the hands of Taylor descendents since that time.

The extant original and subsequent 19th century stone and brick, and slab shingle and weatherboard outbuildings, constructions and features comprise:

  • Cold storage room;

  • Groom's quarters, tack room and stables;

  • Blacksmith's shop;

  • Dairy - (which has been modified for use during the 1940s - 50s)

  • Gate Keepers cottage and orchard/garden;

  • Circular stone base for the grain silo;

  • Stone, cement lined water tank at rear dining room in semi-detached building.

  • Water pump located behind the laundry of the semi-detached;

  • Brick cistern on the southern flank of Hermit's Hill;

  • Stone palisade walls on the property driveway leading in from the Murray valley Highway.

Kirndeen  with its historical homestead and stable buildings is located to the west of Culcairn, NSW. The homestead site was selected in 1882. 

Cambusdoon with shearing shed, quarters, and stables extant.

James Kelly arrived at Yerong Creek in the 1870s. From an 1894 report in the Wagga Advertiser:

 “ Cambusdoon is a pretty place surrounded as it is with several beautiful kurrajongs, the owner having paid great attention to these trees. There is an avenue of pines, kurrajongs and pepper trees down to the gate and a very nice fruit and flower garden. The house itself has a verandah extending nearly the whole way around. Mr. Kelly is one of the oldest residents in the district. He owns about 8,000 acres of land and shears about the same number of sheep, footrot and fluke being quite unknown on the place.

There were 400 acres under wheat this season but owing to various causes the yield was only two bags. The crop is put in with one three furrow and three double furrow ploughs....Mr. Kelly uses the woolshed for storing his wheat and other produce. This can be done by having movable pens ...and can be transformed from a wheat shed into a woolshed in twenty minutes.”

In James Kelly’s diary mention is made of Chinese working on Cambusdoon. in grubbing, ringing and burning. There was a Chinese gardener who had the use of two acres near the creek and in return supplied the Kelly’s with vegetables. Dams were also sunk by the Chinese in the Yerong area. They were oblong  with almost vertical sides. The ends sloped to enable the Chinese to carry out the soil in baskets and wheelbarrows.


Moorwatha was a small township located on the coach line from Howlong near Albury.  The original township contained a hotel, church, school and several residences.  Few remains other than church and cemetery which contains two graves. Exotic trees indicate location of town.  A well which served the town and surrounding district was within the pipeline corridor.  Well is constructed from locally made bricks and is contemporaneous with settlement of district, more than 120 years ago. The well is of significant local heritage interest.

Majors Creek

A property settled by Joseph John Wile in 1860.  The homestead was built in three stages - 1870, 1914, 1950, of locally made bricks. The remains of a brick kiln and cellar are extant.  The original shearing shed was destroyed by fire in 1904 and replaced that same year.

Ruins of Anglican Church built in 1860 and the adjoining cemetery adjoin the property. The church was built by Richard Church who was buried in church yard. Cemetery and church ruin and the remains of the ‘old police station’ were adjacent to the proposed pipeline corridor.

HERITAGE ARCHAEOLOGY acknowledge the valued assistance during this project of Chris Carter (Archaeologist) Archaeology Australia. In association with Navin Officer Archaeological Resource Management




Heritage Archaeology ~ Historical, Archaeological & Genealogical Research Consultants

 (Copyright 2013)

Saturday, 09 May 2015