The White Hart Inn, uncovered at Kellyville after more than a century lost, has been listed on the NSW State Heritage Register.
Its foundations were discovered in 2013 by archaeologists near the intersection of Old Windsor and Windsor roads during heritage work for the skytrain section of the $8.3 billion Sydney Metro Northwest.
The White Hart Inn discovery gave us an insight into what life may have been like in this part of colonial Sydney. Aboriginal artefacts were also found in the surrounding area, showing the longstanding connection that Aboriginal people have to the region.
The decision to conserve the site was made after experts identified the significance of the find - an important piece of colonial heritage that reflects early European settlement patterns and life in a remote area.
Built in the late 1820s, the inn is believed to have been demolished around the turn of the 20th century – however, no one is still sure why it was lost to history.
Archaeologists have carefully excavated the site and catalogued finds – the site was then protected, with construction of the skytrain modified as a result.
The finds included:
- A toothpaste canister with Queen Victoria's image on it
- Coins that are almost 200 years old
- Salt container, inscribed ‘Weston and Westalis Superior British Table Salt’
- Slate pencils and slate used for writing, and ink bottles
- Crockery fragments including plates, cups, bowls and serving dishes in blue willow pattern or Asian style scenes
The artefacts will be transferred to the Australian History Museum at Macquarie University, where they will be on display to the public and available for research.
The White Hart Inn archaeological site is of state significance because it demonstrates the importance of the colony’s early road network and provides a rare surviving archaeological resource that provided valuable information about early inns in NSW.
Along the colony’s early major transport routes inns served as vital rest stops for travellers on long and exhausting road journeys. In the early days of settlement, inns also functioned as local court houses, venues for colonial inquiries, places to transact business and social meeting places.
The Inn has now been recognised as being of importance to the people of NSW as it enriches the understanding of our history and identity.
The site is now legally protected under the NSW Heritage Act 1977.
This important part of Sydney’s heritage will now be preserved as an educational and cultural resource for all the people of NSW.