Halfway house archaeological investigation raises more questions

30 March 2015

An archaeological investigation at the Council-owned Halfway House in Glenside last week uncovered some interesting artefacts typical of a domestic dwelling in the late 1800s.

Workers watching as a digger digs dirt next to the Halfway House.

Archaeologists monitor the excavation of a test trench.

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The Glenside Progressive Association notes that there have been varying opinions on whether the current house was originally used for a Halfway House business or was a private residence for Alexander Brown and his wife Margaret. These archaeological findings appear to indicate the latter.

According to the Association’s website, “What people do agree is that Alexander ‘Sandy’ Brown built it in about 1885 and that he was a licensee who operated a Halfway House in The Halfway, now called Glenside. Brown's descendants say that Alexander operated a public inn and accommodation and way station (place for checking goods in transit) for stage coaches passing along the main road.”

“These findings answer one question, but present us with many more,” says Council Senior Advisor Vanessa Tanner. “Where were the earlier 1840s buildings that are recorded in the vicinity of the present Halfway House and what was the historic role of the current building at the Halfway?”

More details may unfold with further investigation of the artefacts that were found, which include 19th-century bottle glass, a variety of ceramics and metal, and parts of a small child’s tea set and other toys. “Historic rubbish can tell us a great deal about life in the late 1800s at Glenside,” Vanessa adds.

Other findings, such as the location of the original kitchen garden, may also be incorporated into the landscape plan for the Halfway House restoration project in addition to the proposed planting of an heirloom orchard.

This project was made possible through a joint effort by the Council and the Glenside Progressive Association.