Post sponsored by

Source: Government of Queensland

A number of historical artefacts have been uncovered by workers on the Cross River Rail project which have been safely put aside to be studied by archaeologists.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Cross River Rail Kate Jones recently inspected the pieces of the past.

“Cross River Rail is about setting southeast Queensland up for the future. But it’s amazing that already, this project is helping to teach us a little about our history,” the Premier said.

“We are already uncovering some very interesting bits and pieces from the early days in South Brisbane as we excavate for the future.

“Building Brisbane’s new underground complete with four new underground stations means digging deep into the city, so there’s every chance the workforce will uncover more items of archaeological significance.”

Minister Jones said the magnitude of Cross River Rail is awesome.

“Never have workers had to tunnel so far for a major rail infrastructure project. In the months ahead, I’m sure we will get many more artefacts we had forgotten existed,” Ms Jones said.

“We will ensure they are well protected and shared with the community and that they add to our understanding of Brisbane’s early days.”

So far, finds from the Woolloongabba Station excavation site include: – perfume bottles and inkwells from as far back as 1870 and a gin bottle originating from Amsterdam, providing an interesting insight into everyday life in Brisbane at the turn of the 19th century;

  • Evidence of a cobbler’s workshop, with an old anvil and dozens of leather offcuts unearthed and found to be in remarkably good condition having been entombed for up to 100 years or more;
  • Examples of Japanese porcelain and a ceramic ‘aromatic toothpaste’ container from London that also dates back as far as the 1870s

“We will ensure these pieces are shared with the community and that they add to our understanding of Brisbane’s rich history,” Ms Jones said.

“Many of the artefacts found will be housed at Queensland Museum. The historical backgrounds to each of these items and the locations they were found will become part of the evolving historical collection on display. historical collection on display.”
Queensland Museum Network CEO Dr Jim Thompson said projects that involve excavation work provide an opportunity to reveal items that tell a story from a period of time.

“Queensland Museum Network is excited to learn about the artefacts uncovered by Cross River Rail Delivery Authority,” Dr Thompson said. 

“These objects reveal intimate details of life in Brisbane during the 19th and early 20th century.”

Queensland Museum archaeologist Nicholas Hadnutt said the artefacts recovered through the Cross River Rail Project all contribute to an ongoing story of those who lived and worked in the city at the turn of the 19th Century.

“The artefacts recovered to date, particularly highlight Brisbane’s ongoing position within an international trade network,” Mr Hadnutt said.

“They provide a tangible insight into the development of Brisbane as a city as well as the domestic and professional lives of its people.”

Example Artefacts found already:

–          The Crown Perfume bottle

Lavender Salts bottle from The Crown Perfumery, London

First developed in 1885 and quickly became a global success


–          S. Maw .Son & Thompson toothpaste container

Toothpaste container with ceramic lid dating from 1870-1905

S. Maw Son & Thompson was a pharmaceutical company in London

‘An elegant preparation – for the cleaning and preserving of teeth and gums’


–          Lucas Bol Gin Bottle

The Erwen-style of bottle dates to 1880-1910.

Lucas Bol have been distilling gin in Amsterdam since 1545


–          Inkwells and Ink bottles

Antoine & Fils Japanese ink from Paris

Exported to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney

Sold in earthen ware bottles until 1910


–          Udolpho Wolfe’s Aromatic Schnapps Bottle

Schnapps distilled in Schiedam and bottled in New York

Marked as medicinal and sold by chemists

Advertised in the New York Times in 1860


–          Shoes, shoe off cuts and a cobbler’s anvil

Suggesting the presence of a local cobbler and typical of footwear worn more than 100 years ago.


Media contact: Jack Harbour 0419 620 447