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FOR more than a century, it was the pub with a name but no fixed address. Until now.
The remains of the White Hart Inn have been unearthed by workers preparing to build the North West Rail Link in Kellyville, sparking a full-blown archaeological dig.
The circa 1830 building fronted Windsor Rd — an unsealed dirt track for much of its life, before disappearing between the 1880s and the early 1900s.
No-one knows exactly why it vanished, and why the competing Royal Oak Inn (now The Mean Fiddler) managed to survive.
The building was found by workers in December, but the discovery has been kept under wraps.
It was found a little more than a kilometre from its namesake road White Hart Drive at Rouse Hill, and a few hundred metres from the former site of The White Hart restaurant.
The footings and a cellar for the two-storey building were found, with 500 artefacts including coins stamped 1816 and 1853, a ceramic tub of cherry flavoured toothpaste with Queen Victoria’s image on it, an iron key, remains of a ceramic doll and medicine bottles.
When the dig is completed, the government plans to bury the site and protect it from the works.
Excavations at the site of the White Hart Inn. Source: Supplied
“One of the pylons for the skytrain landed right in the middle of the White Hart Inn site, so the North West Rail Link project team is now working with contractor Impregilo- Salini to adjust the pylon position so that the site can be conserved,” Hawkesbury state Liberal MP Ray Williams said.
“This is an important archaeological find which will help reveal more about Western Sydney and its vital role in the growth of the colony — with perhaps a bushranger or two in the mix as well.”
Excavation co-director Pamela Kottaras said the buiding would have been a landmark between the Parramatta and Windsor colonies.
Toothpaste found at the site of the White Hart Inn. Source: Supplied
“We don’t know what happened to it after 1881, how it was destroyed and why it didn’t survive as an inn — the clues could be here, it’s a matter of finding them,” said excavation co-director Pamela Kottaras.
“The White Hart could have been a refuge from – or even for – bushrangers, with bushranging a part of life in NSW from the early days of settlement until the late 19th century.
“What we think we’ve found so far is a standard inn design with a long verandah and two rooms, often called the strangers’ rooms, on either side.
The remains of a small saucer found at the site of the White Hart Inn. Source: Supplied
This article first appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au
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