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Light rail construction destroyed a "significant" Aboriginal heritage site in Sydney's east that shed light on early interactions between Indigenous people and British settlers, a report has found.
Mystery surrounded tens of thousands of stone objects that were unearthed at the Randwick tram stabling site in 2016, prompting Indigenous elders to launch a failed bid to halt work on the $2.1 billion light rail line.
Light rail vehicles at a stabling yard next to Randwick Racecourse have been undergoing testing.CREDIT:LOUISE KENNERLEY
A post-excavation report, prepared by consultants GML Heritage for Transport for NSW and light rail contractor Acciona in November, found that Aboriginal people used the area to forge tools from flint brought to Australia on British ships.
The internal report, seen by the Herald, said that the site near the corner of Alison Road and Doncaster Avenue had "considerable heritage". "It is significant to Sydney’s historical narrative," the report said.
Indigenous heritage consultants and Greens MP David Shoebridge seized on those findings to push for bolstered legal protections for Aboriginal heritage sites in areas that are slated for development.
"The whole site has been destroyed," Mr Shoebridge said. "We need to learn the lesson and change the law."
More than 2400 stone artefacts and five glass artefacts among the trove of objects found in a small excavated portion of the site showed that Aboriginal people had used it like a quarry between roughly 1788 and 1830.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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