Bonython Park and the end of my CHM placement.

By Sam Hedditch- Graduate Diploma of Archaeology Student.

It is hard to believe that the Cultural Heritage Practicum placement is coming to an end. I can say that it certainly has all been terrific and is ending on a particularly interesting note.

In the past few weeks, Dr Keryn Walshe and the volunteers at the museum have been collecting some surface material from Bonython Park that runs parallel to Port Road. Anyone that has seen the Big Top Circus event or ever been to the Schutzenfest may be familiar with this area.

The idea was that the material may be related to material that was found at the Adelaide Gaol in some previous work done by the museum there. This would only be revealed through some rigorous sorting and description of the material back at the Museum store.

So it was that we proceeded to bag and describe the ceramics, metal and glass material picked from the site. At a glance, the material certainly looked old enough to be 1850s-1880s, but after a number of bags were sorted, a range of about 1880s-1920s seemed the most reasonable for the material.

A collection of material from the Bonython Park area. (Courtesy of the South Australian Museum)

This does remove the material from any early settling story in the city, though there were some terrific pieces of porcelain and other items of interest within the collection. There were also a number of burnt items in the collection , which suggested that the area was probably used as a refuse at some stage, which are burnt to condense the rubbish and keep rats and other pests away.

A range of items collected from Bonython Park. This tray includes a Stones Ginger Beer bottle, made in Port Adelaide in the 1920s. (Courtesy of the South Australian Museum)

Still, there was an interesting story emerging from the site and anyone who had a research topic that they needed to complete on historical archaeology might find it an interesting place to begin.

Another tray of sorted material from Bonython Park. There is an intersting 'noveau' style ladies notepad case on the right front corner of the tray.(Courtesy of the South Australian Museum)

Well, now that my time is finished at the museum, I can say I will certainly miss it very much and have left the museum with a wealth of knowledge of many different types of cultural material. I will also have left with many new friends from the museum; thank you so much Keryn and her team of volunteers who have humbly shared their passion and knowledge with me, I am really so grateful for it!

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