15 June 2017
An archaeological dig started this month at Plenty Gorge Park, as part of the Mernda Rail Extension Project.
The mystery surrounding the original Old Bridge Inn is expected to be uncovered as part of the dig. It was built in the 1840s, was once located near the bank of the Plenty River, south of Bridge Inn Road and provided welcome respite to travellers on their way to the gold fields in the 1850s.
Moving at least four times, a modern version of the Bridge Inn Hotel now sits about one kilometre away from the original site, on the corner of Bridge Inn Road and Plenty Road, Mernda, opposite the future Mernda Town Centre. The dig will take place to the east of where the modern-day Bridge Inn Hotel stands today.
The archaeological dig has grown out of the historical investigations as part of the Mernda Rail project that will see eight kilometres of new duplicated train line built between South Morang and Mernda to meet demand for public transport in Melbourne's growing northern suburbs.
Archaeology consultancy, Dr Vincent Clark & Associates, will conduct the dig with support from Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Council, Heritage Victoria, Parks Victoria and the City of Whittlesea. A local team of 12 experts will spend up to eight hours a day digging at the site, weather permitting. The dig is expected to take several weeks.
The archaeological dig is an exciting opportunity for the local community to learn more about the area's history and details will be released shortly about opportunities to visit.