Lake Macquarie history unveiled

Lake Macquarie residents are being called upon to offer information about a historical discovery which was unearthed during excavation work on a Lake Macquarie construction site.

During work on shared pathway project in Argenton, crews uncovered a cobblestone road, curving around Queen Street and heading towards Lake Road. The project will provide an off-road shared pathway linking Wallsend in Newcastle to an existing shared pathway stretching from Boolaroo around the lake to Eleebana.

Assets Management Manager Brendan Callander said work was immediately stopped once the discovery was made, and a careful excavation to remove the surrounding cobblestones occurred.

“This road isn’t on any plans so it came as quite a surprise to the crew working on this project,” Mr Callander said.

“It’s always exciting uncovering something like this – it provides a window into our past and stirs the imagination about what life might have been like back then.”

Local environmental consultants, Umwelt, were contacted and sent an archaeologist to take samples of the roadway materials, photographs and GPS coordinates of its location for further study. Understanding the type of rock used may assist in understanding where and when it was quarried.

Mr Callander said the stone material used in the old road’s construction was extremely solid and heavy, with parts appearing to display leaf fossils.

The earliest land grants in Argenton date back to 1838, when the area was known as ‘Hampton’. The area was subdivided in 1841, but took off after the Sulphide Corporation was established in 1896. Lake Road in Argenton hosted steam trams in the early 1900s, but Mr Callander believes the cobblestone road may pre-date that.

Mr Callander is urging anyone with information about the road and its history to contact local council on 4921 0333.

Work on the project has now re-commenced, after crews had installed a protective layer of material on the cobblestone road.