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Convict Heritage Site - Kings Meadow

22 November 2018

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for HERITAGE, Mr HODGMAN

An extraordinarily rich convict site has been uncovered at the site of a 
subdivision development at Kings Meadows in Launceston. A one-week 
investigation by Southern Archaeology confirmed a convict heritage site, 
described as highly significant. It is an historic convict road station 
from the 1830s and 1840s and the significance of this site is so great, it 
could be considered of World Heritage value.

Your agency, Heritage Tasmania, is aware of the discovery and its 
significance but has taken no action to date. Can you confirm that 
development works are continuing on the site and that you have done 
nothing so far to stop it and protect our heritage? Will you order a stop-
work to at least allow further investigation before allowing the 
bulldozers in to flatten an important part of Tasmania's convict story?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the question.

I am advised of a new subdivision in Launceston south of Connector Park. 
It has drawn attention to the existence of the remains of the Kings 
Meadows Road Station. It is an interesting discovery as its existence was 
not recognised or well known until 2016. I am advised that it was 
discovered in part as a result of the property owner's plans to subdivide 
and develop this parcel of semi-rural land. We can be grateful for the 
involvement of the Launceston City Council in this matter. The council 
sponsored archaeological investigations that have helped to reveal the 
remains and more about the nature of this early site.

I understand that the road station was used to base convicts who helped to 
develop the early road network south of Launceston and may have also been 
involved in developing the large but unsuccessful Evandale to Launceston 
water scheme. The archaeological investigations concluded that there was 
limited remnant fabric remaining from the convict era. They indicated 
that it was constructed as a temporary timber structure and limited fabric 
remains. Much of it was bulldozed many years ago and the land has been 
ploughed and used for primary production. These actions have destroyed 
and removed all the original structures over time. This site is not on 
the local Historic Heritage Code or entered on the Tasmanian Heritage 
Register as its exact location was not recognised until recently. 

Now these investigations have been concluded, those involved have been 
able to confirm there is limited evidence of the station that remains at 
the site. However, I am aware a nomination has been received by the 
Heritage Council and is currently under consideration. I am grateful for 
the support of the property owner, the Launceston City Council and the 
team that undertook these investigations and helped to capture some of the 
history of this site and further our appreciation of the convict story. I 
acknowledge the efforts of John Dent and Darren Watton in that regard.

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