15 Macquarie Street

Timber house on Lot 7 with later additions of an eaves-drip drain on the left feeding in to a wood-capped drain flowing to the east (right).

The Project

Excavation of this site took place between May and August 2009 for the construction of a new Integral Energy substation. Comber Consultants undertook testing for Aboriginal remains and Casey & Lowe were responsible for the historic-period archaeology.

Historical Background

The site lies within the initial settlement at Parramatta and was used for agriculture in the 1790s. Subdivision and development began by 1804. Two lots (6 and 7) and part of a third (5) were within the development site. Hugh Taylor, an emancipated convict, leased Lot 6 in 1822. By the 1840s he was granted all the lots within the site. By 1870 the lots were amalgamated and one large house fronted the street. In the 20th century the site was subdivided and two substantial brick houses built, one owned by Alfred Barry, a well-known music teacher in the 1920s.


Evidence for two early structures was recovered from this site including information about the construction methods, building phases and their occupation. The archaeological remains included:

Lot 6

  • Postholes of the early timber house fronting Macquarie Street.
  • Underfloor deposit associated with this house.
  • Robbed-out footing trenches of a brick house dating to the mid to late 19th century.
  • Postholes and a fireplace of a timber and brick building located in the middle of the lot in the mid 19th century.
  • Drains crossing the lot channelling ground water off the site to the east.
  • Substantial brick footings of Alfred Barry’s house.

Lot 7

  • Evidence of an early north-south watercourse or creek backfilled prior to 1804.
  • Evidence of land clearance and agriculture in the form of burnt tree roots and plough marks.
  • A water dam on the street frontage perhaps dating to the 1790s backfilled by the early 1800s.
  • Remains of a timber building and verandah set back from the street frontage dating from the early 1800s.
  • Brick repairs and drains associated with the house dating to the mid 19th century.
  • An unlined water cistern with an overflow drain dating to the mid 19th century backfilled with fill and domestic rubbish.
  • A timber structure, possible a shed or cart-house at the rear of the lot.
The site during excavation looking north towards Macquarie Street. The blue dashed lines mark the lot boundaries.
Robbed-out footing trenches of the mid to late 19th century brick house fronting Macquarie Street in Lot 6. Scale 1m.


Casey & Lowe undertook this excavation for Comber Consultants on behalf of Integral Energy.


The photos used in this report are by the Casey & Lowe excavation team. The 1822 plan is from State Records. Other images in the preliminary report are from the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW.


15 Macquarie Street


May 2009 and September 2009