Artefacts on show at Metro Tunnel HQ for school holidays

Indigenous artefacts found during the Metro Tunnel’s archaeological dig will go on show next month in a rare chance to get up close with the First Nations’ history of Naarm (Melbourne).

The items were found at the site directly behind the Young and Jackson pub on the corner of Swanston and Flinders streets in 2018, where Town Hall Station is now being built.

Before construction could begin on the station – one of the Metro Tunnel’s five new underground stations – an archaeological dig took place to recover and document artefacts from the site.

More than 280 indigenous artefacts were uncovered when archaeologists went through layers of the site’s history in a painstaking process over several months.

The artefacts, known as flaked stone tools, could have been used as spear tips in hunting weapons, or even implements used to shape objects made of wood, bark and bone.

The nationally significant items will be displayed at Metro Tunnel HQ on Swanston St from June 27 for a limited time.

The award-winning information centre provides an insight into some of the state’s biggest ever public transport projects, including the Metro Tunnel.

It features a 3D city model, panoramic theatrette, kids’ activities and giveaways – with free entry all year round.

Metro Tunnel HQ senior centre coordinator Hedley Imbert said archaeological displays remained one of the centre’s most popular exhibitions.

“I would say there’s a lot of interest,” Mr Imbert said.

“It’s certainly something that’s discussed when people come into the centre, and hear the story about the Metro Tunnel Project.”

Mr Imbert said Metro Tunnel HQ had become a staple of the school holiday experience for families visiting the city.

“There are fun activities for kids to do that are free of charge and we use the opportunity to speak to the families and tell them about the project,” he said.

Crews will soon begin laying track through the completed tunnels as the project starts to recruit more than 100 drivers to operate additional train services when the Metro Tunnel opens in 2025.

Up to 120 new drivers will undergo an intensive 44-week training program to ensure they’re ready to operate the 65 new and bigger trains that will run through the tunnels.

Metro Tunnel HQ is located at 125-133 Swanston St •

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