The body tasked with managing three of Tasmania’s five World Heritage-listed convict sites has labelled the discovery of a previously unknown location in the state’s North as “exciting”.
The existence of the Kings Meadows Road Station was confirmed by a City of Launceston council-funded archaeological investigation that concluded in early November.
Labor and the Greens have since urged the Heritage Minister to stop approved works on the site until a state heritage nomination is considered.
Appearing before a Government Business Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority was asked if they were consulted or notified when “new” historic sites were identified – specifically, the site at Kings Meadows.
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Pembroke Labor MLC Jo Siejka asked “whether there is an opportunity for you to share your experience and knowledge and what the processes are for that”.
Dr Jane Harrington, director of conservation and infrastructure with PAHSMA, said they had been “made aware”.
“We have been in communication with Heritage Tasmania, saying how excited we are about this find,” Dr Harrington said.
“We look forward to finding out more about it. We will assist if we can and if anyone asks us to.”
The Kings Meadows site sparked much interest on its discovery, with the Australasian Society of Historical Archaeology – the sector’s national peak body – deeming it “highly significant” on a state and “most likely national” level.
The group, along with the Launceston Historical Society and Woolmers Foundation chair Peter Rae, have called for further investigation and the release of a report provided to the City of Launceston council.
“It’s of limited value unless it’s made available to all people interested in the history of the state,” Mr Rae told The Examiner last month.
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.
The discovery of the site was initially made by Southern Archaeology and local historian and surveyor John Dent earlier in the year.
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