European heritage services for the North West Rail Link Project

EMGA Mitchell McLennan Pty Ltd (EMM) was engaged by Baulderstone PL to provide European heritage services for the North West Rail Link early works package. The contract included providing advice on the appropriate treatment of heritage items and potential heritage items along the alignment including archaeological sites, undertaking photographic archival recording, archaeological assessment with statements of heritage impact and archaeological excavation.

It has been known by the heritage community for a number of years that an inn was once located on Windsor Road about 300 m north of the junction with Old Windsor Road. It was one of a number of inns that serviced local people as well travellers on their way to and from the west. It’s no surprise that the White Hart Inn is one of many that lined the road to Windsor and the Blue Mountains – the other major roads radiating out of Sydney were also lined with inns. The Great Western Highway, the Hume Highway, the Alpine Way and all the roads that took travellers and workers to the goldfields, shale mines, or any other region that was opening up in the colony.

This presentation outlines the archaeological program at the site of the former White Hart Inn, with a focus on the implications of discovering a significant archaeological site in the middle of a project. It discusses how to plan for a heritage item that may be significant on your site and what makes a site significant enough to retain. Most importantly, this paper focuses on the collaboration between the heritage team, the lead consultants and the proponent to achieve a “best practice in heritage outcome” and why that translates into a “best for project outcome”.

Questions raised and answered are:

Why are inns important?

How was the WHI found?

What was the process to conserve it?

What were the implications of conservation to the project?

What are the implications of conservation into the future?