Historians praise relics conservation

Local historians Leah Day and Tim McCartney have applauded Woolworths for their conduct during the excavation of the former site of the Fitzroy Ironworks, commending their decision to give up 60 car spaces in their Mittagong Marketplace development to save a section of the relics.

"We are very happy with the way Woolworths has gone about the excavation and the manner in which the archaeological dig has been conducted," Mrs Day said.

"We are also delighted with the extent of the relics which have been discovered."

The Fitzroy Ironworks has been an ongoing project for the historians, who are researching its history, and the history of Mittagong.

Mrs Day and Mr McCartney's report was used as the basis for the archaeological dig at the site.

"In 2002 we started our project on the Fitzroy Ironworks, which was launched at the Mittagong RSL," Mrs Day said.

"However, we had been researching the Ironworks in bits and pieces for 15 years or more."

Mrs Day and Mr McCartney were commissioned by Copeland Developments and Woolworths to write a report on the site in January 2005.

"We provided maps, plans and further information to the archaeologists from Godden Mackay Logan," Mrs Day said.

"We were able to identify the different phases of the Ironworks and, with additional research, were able to suggest particular spots to dig."

Mr McCartney said researching the ironworks had been a painstaking process.

"Some of our major sources have been the Land Titles Office in Sydney, NSW State Records in Kingswood, the Lands Department, the National Library in Canberra and the Mitchell Library in Macquarie Street," he said.

"We have also done research at the Public Records Office in London.

"We have double-checked each document and tried to verify them. We never take documents at face value, but question everything."

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