More Toowoomba history uncovered at West Creek Culvert Upgrade project

Further artefacts from Toowoomba's early history have been uncovered under James Street as part of the $10.7 million West Creek Culvert Upgrade project.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the findings were similar to those found at East Creek in June.

"After uncovering a timber bridge, corduroy crossing, cobblestone path and hundreds of small artefacts at East Creek in June, we were expecting to come across something similar at West Creek," Mr McCormack said.

"Archaeologists are still determining the exact history of these new findings, but we believe they've uncovered another corduroy crossing and two timber bridge structures."

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the most recent findings could depict three different eras of transport infrastructure.

"We're yet to determine the exact dates, but it appears as though one of the timber bridges may have been built by a private landholder in the 1850s," Mr Bailey said.

“This was later buried and replaced with another timber bridge over time.

"The corduroy crossing appears to be from a different time period again as this feature has bluestone nearby, opposed to the cobblestones found at East Creek.

"It's incredible to find parts of Toowoomba’s early road network from the mid-1800s still intact in 2020 as we make further improvements to it."

Federal Member for Groom Dr John McVeigh said archaeologists and construction crews worked meticulously to remove the findings from the site.

"A lot of water flows through West Creek during heavy rainfall so we didn't want to risk losing any findings downstream," Dr McVeigh said.

"Now the artefacts have been successfully removed, the project team is looking into long term preservation options.

"We’ve had incredible interest from the local community in these finds with plenty of people wanting to see the artefacts first hand, and I understand the project team will be approaching Council and museums to consider options on how they could be put on public display."

James Street was closed at East Creek and West Creek in mid-May for the culvert upgrades which will see improved flood immunity and safety at the intersections.

The projects will upgrade the existing culverts with larger concrete box culverts that will sit lower in the creek bed, increasing capacity for water flows through the culverts and reducing the risk of flooding roads in Toowoomba’s CBD.

Plans to re-open the road in August have been delayed as historical artefacts continue to be uncovered and safely removed from the site.

The culvert upgrade projects at East Creek and West Creek are expected to support more than 70 jobs in the region. The two projects, with a combined cost of $21.1 million, have been jointly funded, with the Australian Government committing $16.9 million and the Queensland Government committing $4.2 million.

Media Contact:

Mr McCormack – Dean Shachar – 0418 202 860
Mr Bailey – Toby Walker – 0439 347 875
Dr McVeigh – Clare Siddins – 0436 440 494