Historical and archaeological groups have called for further action after the discovery of a former Tasmanian convict site this month.
The find was located on private land in Kings Meadows, on which a previously approved residential subdivision is set to continue.
This comes amid conflicting responses from both City of Launceston council and the state government around the extent of external consultation sought during the council-supported dig at the site.
The Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology the sectors peak national body said they believed the site would have significance on a state and most likely national level based on their understanding of it, obtained through media reports and a City of Launceston council media release.
The Launceston Historical Society has called for the release of a report arising from the $10,000 study, and said the public are often not made aware of such documents.
The City of Launceston council has declined multiple requests by The Examiner to view the report and said it would consider the public release of the report in due course.
To date, the council has not yet had an opportunity to do so, City of Launceston general manager Michael Stretton said.
The study was negotiated with landowner Darren Goodyer and Southern Archaeology after local historian and surveyor John Dent approached the council about conducting an exploratory dig earlier in the year.
Mr Goodyer was contacted for comment.
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Constructed in 1837, the Kings Meadows Road Station is thought to have operated for a short period until the early 1840s to assist with the unsuccessful Evandale to Launceston Water Scheme and the construction of the Midlands Highway.
Remnants of the oven, a brick reservoir, a shed which included some old horse shoes and ceramic that predated 1840 were found on the site, according to Southern Archaeologys Darren Watton. What is thought to be a previously unseen style of convict hat was also uncovered.
Based on their understanding of the site, ASHA president Anita Yousif said it would satisfy most of the heritage/archaeological significance assessment criteria and noted sites of this type were rare.
Ms Yousif pointed to similar stations as part of the Great North Road in NSW included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the 11 Australian convict sites.
The site would be highly significant for the state of Tasmania as it has the potential to provide tangible evidence of the convict history, in addition to that what is already known from the related sites of Port Arthur, Coal Mines and Cascade Female Factory, she said.
Ms Yousif strongly recommended a full archaeological impact assessment be undertaken to provide an account of the site's known potential archaeological resources, their significance and potential development impacts they may be subjected to.
She also recommended the preparation of a management plan to provide policies and procedures for further investigations, long-term management as part of the new development, and analysis and management of the retrieved artefacts and their public dissemination.
Launceston Historical Society president Marion Sargent said excavations like this were always too short and the reports that stem from them seem to belong to the developers.
Council needs to be more proactive in finding out what history lies beneath our city and surrounds, she added. This report should be made public.
Responding to ASHAs comments Mr Stretton noted they had not been contacted by the society, nor had they provided any information to them.
The professional advice we have received indicates that the heritage value of the site has been fully captured, and we are looking forward to the development continuing as approved, he said.
Mr Stretton said the council had liased with Heritage Tasmania officers throughout the study process.
A DPIPWE spokesperson said they only had a limited role and were unaware of the sites location prior to the recent excavation.
Neither Heritage Tasmania or the Tasmanian Heritage Council have been involved in the initial study conducted by Southern Archaeology, as the site is not entered on the Tasmanian Heritage Register.
Mr Watton said Southern Archaeology had contacted Heritage Tasmania for advice prior to the dig, and provided them with a copy of their Archaeological Method Statement for review, but no further action was required as the site was not listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register.
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