Kerry Lodge at Breadalbane will become the site for a school holiday archaeological dig

HISTORY: A convict brick and beer bottle found at the site at Kerry Lodge in 2015. Picture: Scott Gelston
HISTORY: A convict brick and beer bottle found at the site at Kerry Lodge in 2015. Picture: Scott Gelston

Convict site Kerry Lodge will unearth its secrets as part of an innovative hands-on school holiday project held this week.

History teachers, artists and aspiring archaeologists will be immersed in Tasmania’s convict past with an excavation taking place in the ruins of the site at Breadalbane.

The excavation will be held between 14-22 and is being coordinated by the University of Tasmania in partnership with the University of Manchester, the Launceston Historical Society and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery.

UTAS Lecturer Louise Zarmati, an archaeologist, said in addition to the dig, a kids dig will be held on Thursday for children aged 5-14.

“Excavating Convict Lives is a fascinating project that will provide people of all ages with the chance to experience a unique chapter of Tasmania’s colonial history,” Dr Zarmati said.

“Children will be involved in a realistic excavation which will take them through the process of archaeology, from excavation to artefact analysis, recording and interpretation.

“By facilitating these activities, we hope to get the next generation engaged with Australian and colonial history at an early age while showing them that there is more to archaeology than just digging.”

The Kerry Lodge Convict Probation Station was established in 1834, operating until about 1847.

Used as a stone quarry and sandstone-working centre for the construction of the Strathroy Bridge and the old highway to Hobart, it housed about 30 convicts.

The project commenced at the site in 2015 when a small test pit exposed a collapsed structure.