Heritage discovery has Lawson link

The remains of a lock  dated 1830-80's found at the Prospect Reservoir site connected to explorer William Lawson. Tony Lowe has been commissioned by the Sydney Catchment Authority to investigate the site. The historic site was found in August 2013 when the water levels dropped to carry out upgrades. Prospect, Sydney, NSW. 25th October, 2013. Photo: Kate Geraghty

The remains of a lock dated 1830-80's found at the Prospect Reservoir site connected to explorer William Lawson. Tony Lowe has been commissioned by the Sydney Catchment Authority to investigate the site. The historic site was found in August 2013 when the water levels dropped to carry out upgrades. Prospect, Sydney, NSW. 25th October, 2013. Photo: Kate Geraghty

The remains of a lock  dated 1830-80's found at the Prospect Reservoir site connected to explorer William Lawson. Tony Lowe has been commissioned by the Sydney Catchment Authority to investigate the site. The historic site was found in August 2013 when the water levels dropped to carry out upgrades. Prospect, Sydney, NSW. 25th October, 2013. Photo: Kate Geraghty

The remains of a lock dated 1830-80's found at the Prospect Reservoir site connected to explorer William Lawson. Tony Lowe has been commissioned by the Sydney Catchment Authority to investigate the site. The historic site was found in August 2013 when the water levels dropped to carry out upgrades. Prospect, Sydney, NSW. 25th October, 2013. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Archaeologist Tony Lowe inspects a ink well/pot artefact dated 1830-80's found at the Prospect Reservoir site connected to explorer William Lawson. Tony Lowe has been commissioned by the Sydney Catchment Authority to investigate the site. The historic site was found in August 2013 when the water levels dropped to carry out upgrades. Prospect, Sydney, NSW. 25th October, 2013. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Archaeologist Tony Lowe inspects a ink well/pot artefact dated 1830-80's found at the Prospect Reservoir site connected to explorer William Lawson. Tony Lowe has been commissioned by the Sydney Catchment Authority to investigate the site. The historic site was found in August 2013 when the water levels dropped to carry out upgrades. Prospect, Sydney, NSW. 25th October, 2013. Photo: Kate Geraghty

An ink well/pot artefact dated 1830-80's found at the Prospect Reservoir site connected to explorer William Lawson. Tony Lowe has been commissioned by the Sydney Catchment Authority to investigate the site. The historic site was found in August 2013 when the water levels dropped to carry out upgrades. Prospect, Sydney, NSW. 25th October, 2013. Photo: Kate Geraghty

An ink well/pot artefact dated 1830-80's found at the Prospect Reservoir site connected to explorer William Lawson. Tony Lowe has been commissioned by the Sydney Catchment Authority to investigate the site. The historic site was found in August 2013 when the water levels dropped to carry out upgrades. Prospect, Sydney, NSW. 25th October, 2013. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Archaeologist Tony Lowe inspects a ink well/pot artefact dated 1830-80's found at the Prospect Reservoir site connected to explorer William Lawson. Tony Lowe has been commissioned by the Sydney Catchment Authority to investigate the site. The historic site was found in August 2013 when the water levels dropped to carry out upgrades. Prospect, Sydney, NSW. 25th October, 2013. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Archaeologist Tony Lowe inspects a ink well/pot artefact dated 1830-80's found at the Prospect Reservoir site connected to explorer William Lawson. Tony Lowe has been commissioned by the Sydney Catchment Authority to investigate the site. The historic site was found in August 2013 when the water levels dropped to carry out upgrades. Prospect, Sydney, NSW. 25th October, 2013. Photo: Kate Geraghty

An ink well/pot artefact dated 1830-80's found at the Prospect Reservoir site connected to explorer William Lawson. Tony Lowe has been commissioned by the Sydney Catchment Authority to investigate the site. The historic site was found in August 2013 when the water levels dropped to carry out upgrades. Prospect, Sydney, NSW. 25th October, 2013. Photo: Kate Geraghty

An ink well/pot artefact dated 1830-80's found at the Prospect Reservoir site connected to explorer William Lawson. Tony Lowe has been commissioned by the Sydney Catchment Authority to investigate the site. The historic site was found in August 2013 when the water levels dropped to carry out upgrades. Prospect, Sydney, NSW. 25th October, 2013. Photo: Kate Geraghty

IT HAS been confirmed a heritage site found at Prospect Reservoir late last year is part of the estate of Australian explorer William Lawson.

"At the time we were uncertain if the half-acre site - comprising brick footings, wells, fireplaces and scattered artefacts - was built for William Lawson, who resided at Veteran Hall just a few hundred metres up the hill," Sydney Catchment Authority heritage officer Kate Lenertz said.

"We can now confirm, based on the archaeological report, that it is almost certain that the structure was built for William Lawson after he purchased the land from landholder Fergus Gallagher in 1811."

Experts made two more colonial finds while the reservoir levels were low earlier this year.

"While neither is as substantial as our first find, Ms Lenertz said. "They contribute more to the picture of colonial settlement prior to flooding of Prospect Reservoir in the 1880s."

"The artefacts are fascinating: a gun flint, local earthenware pottery including an item by convict potter Thomas Ball, who we know stopped producing pieces by 1823, and imported Chinese pottery, clay pipes and glass bottle fragments."

Prospect Reservoir is being refilled as construction works move into the next phase.

"The archaeologists have advised the best conservation technique is to actually leave the artefacts and relics in situ and allow them to be submerged again," Ms Lenertz said.

"We've surveyed and photographed the key elements and because they are within protected special areas they are not threatened by public access.

"They have survived 125 years underwater and been exposed from time to time during major dewatering of the reservoir."

Prospect Reservoir is closed to the public until the end of the year.

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