Speeches

THOMPSON SQUARE - REMOVAL OF 200 YEAR OLD CONVICT-BUILT DRAINS

August 15, 2018

THOMPSON SQUARE - REMOVAL OF 200 YEAR OLD CONVICT-BUILT DRAINS

We are at a crisis point in Windsor. The New South Wales government is removing historic box drains from Thompson Square and covering over for ever the impressive 200-year-old convict-built barrel drains. This will happen over the next few nights under the cover of darkness. It's essentially heritage vandalism of some of Australia's oldest colonial remnants. I don't think this Georgian square, the oldest public square in the country, should be having a modern concrete bridge built through it at all. It should be bypassed, but if the New South Wales government is determined to give the Hawkesbury only one single new lane across the river at the very least it should let people see what's about to go.

When I spoke to archaeologists during my visit to the site in April they thought organising a public opening was relatively easy to do, but they said they hadn't been asked to do it by the New South Wales government. Well, I asked, and there has been absolutely no response from the New South Wales minister for roads or the local member, who happens to be the treasurer. This site is unique. I found it amazing to see the quality of work and the ingenuity involved in channelling water through the early settlement, and others deserve to see it too, before it's too late.

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