Mystery: Metro workers unearth 161-year-old grave
ARCHAEOLOGISTS have identified the person whose gravesite was found by Sydney Metro workers digging at Central Station as it goes through its "biggest upgrade in decades". They now hope to find his family. DO YOU KNOW HIM?
Archaeologists have identified the gravesite of Joseph Thompson, who died in 1858 aged 80, at the heritage-listed railway station, which was once the site of the Devonshire St Cemetery.
One of Sydney's earliest cemeteries, it was consecrated in 1820 and closed in 1867 and is bordered by Elizabeth, Pitt and Devonshire streets.
While about 30,000 bodies were exhumed and relocated to make way for Central station in 1901, many graves have not yet been discovered.
Remains from 60 graves and five vaults have been uncovered so far during construction of new Metro platforms at Central station.
However, this is the first time archaeologists have found a grave with a legible grave nameplate.
Mr Thompson was born in 1779 in England, had 14 children and was a draper and member of the Pitt St Congregational Church.
Metro workers are hoping to contact Mr Thompson's family descendants within 60 days, after which time they will work with authorities to move the remains to a new burial site.
They are currently being held at the University of Sydney's Shellshear Museum for safekeeping.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance said Central station was undergoing its "biggest upgrade in decades" with new Metro platforms being built 27-metres underground.
"We're also constructing Central Walk, a new underground concourse connecting public transport customers," he said.
Central Walk is due to be completed in 2022 with Metro services between Bankstown and Chatswood slated for 2024.
Mr Constance said a specialised team of archaeologists was working on site "to ensure all discoveries are properly processed and treated with the utmost respect".
Sydney Metro chief executive Jon Lamonte said archaeologists had discovered coins and coffin fixtures as well as relics such as sandstone crypts.
"Even structures that were part of the original Central station have been uncovered," he said.
Descendants of Mr Thompson can email email@example.com or call 1800 171 386.