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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Yerrabi Pond hut

A small hut site excavated by the Canberra Archaeological Society Inc in 1992 is now on the northern shore of Yerrabi Pond, Amaroo, on a rise close to the back-yards of houses on the southernmost part of Diamond Street. The site is fenced and marked by a plaque.

There are no historic records of the hut or the occupants, but it was most likely occupied by labourers assigned to Palmerville (Ginninderra Estate) . The assemblage of artefacts recovered suggests that it was inhabited during the 1860s to 1870s.

The hut had a stone hearth and two rooms, one with a timber floor and the other with a levelled red clay floor. It was probably a slab hut with a bark or shingle roof. No above ground features remained, but the stone hearth seems to have been built twice and charcoal under the floor suggests that the hut burnt down once and was rebuilt.

The bricks are poorly pugged and fixed and the mortar also of poor quality, mixed with very coarse sand and a little clay. The window glass is all 1mm or more thick suggesting construction in the second half of the nineteenth century.

The Site B archaeological deposit included wild animal bone from koala and possum as well as butchered pig, sheep and cow bones, indicating that some foods were hunted. Possum and koala stew were common in a dish known as 'Gundaroo bullock'. A supply wagon went around the Duntroon estate and possibly Palmer also provided a source of rations for his indentured labourers.

The hut looked down on a boggy area where crops were grown and a wooden yoke for bullocks was found half-buried near the site. This once solitary hut site is now surrounded by modern houses and the ploughed fields are under Yerrabi Pond.

[An extract from 'A short history of Gungahlin' - ref below]


Canberra Archaeological Society Inc, Helen Cook 2010, A short history of Gunganlin

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