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ICS Sydney - International Conservation Services

sydney harbour yha



Sydney Harbour YHA and The Big Dig Education Centre, CLICK HERE for project page.


YHA Australia, CLICK HERE for website

The Site

The Rocks DIG Site is located on Cumberland Street in the heart of the Rocks near Sydney Harbour. The site was excavated in 1994 where rare surviving remains from the late 18th century European settlement were uncovered. More than 750,000 artefacts were unearthed as well as brick and sandstone remains of about 30 buildings, some dating back to the 1790s.

In 2007, YHA Australia was awarded the contract to develop the Rocks DIG Site as a youth hostel and archaeological Education Centre. The project is reported to be “the largest archaeological urban development ever completed in Australia”. Central to the design of the facility will be the in situ conservation of the archaeological remains


International Conservation Services (ICS) prepared a strategy for protection of the archaeological site during construction of the new buildings.  We worked closely with both the design team and the heritage consultants to integrate the selection of building techniques and design details so as to minimise the need for protection during construction. 

The approach adopted will allow the construction contractor to select the most cost-effective methods of protection to suit his building methodology whilst still ensuring protection of the archaeological remains.  For much of the site, protective measures were identified that will both protect the archaeological remains and also allow effective use of the site during construction.

ICS also prepared a schedule of conservation works required for the archaeological remains.
The Protection Plan for the Archaeological Remains  and Schedule of Conservation Works were submitted as part of the Part 3A (Major Projects) Application to the Director General of the Department of Planning.


The Sydney Harbour YHA and The Big Dig, CLICK HERE

Sydney Morning Herald, Explorers of the buried city find what really lies beneath, CLICK HERE

Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority

Cumberland Street, looking to the future for Sydney's past, CLICK HERE

The Rocks Dig Site, CLICK HERE



Before Cumberland

Caraher's Lane, off Cumberland Place (c.1900)





After: CL

Original paving of Caraher's Lane flanked by new residences (2007)

Rocks Dig, pic 3

Remains of the back rooms of the terrace houses that fronted onto Gloucester St, front of the houses are currently under Gloucester St.