Artefacts from Melbourne’s early years on display

News | 13 September 2017


Earlier this year, the Cato Street carpark in Prahran was the site of an archaeological investigation ahead of the commencement of construction of Cato Square, the City of Stonnington’s exciting new urban redevelopment, scheduled for January 2018.

Artefacts from Melbourne’s early years were unearthed in what was hailed as one of the area’s most significant archaeological finds.

Dr Michelle Negus Cleary, from archaeology and cultural heritage consultants Dr Vincent Clark and Associates, said “It was exciting to uncover the remains of structural walls, children’s toys, clay pipes, buttons, animal bones and, remarkably, intact crockery, pots and bottles.” 

“The analysis of these artefacts and subsequent historical research will enable us to tell the story about the diverse cultural heritage of Prahran,” she added.

Some of the most significant artefacts will be on display at Prahran Mechanics’ Institute Victorian History Library from Thursday 19 October until Friday 3 November. There’ll be a free public lecture from Dr Michelle Negus Cleary about her team’s findings and learnings from the site at 7pm on Thursday 19 October.

City of Stonnington Mayor Cr Jami Klisaris said providing a window into Prahran’s earliest settlers was a great way to start the Cato Square project.

“I’m incredibly excited about what Cato Square will mean for Prahran and Stonnington and this archaeological investigation was such an interesting way to kick off the project,” said Mayor Klisaris.

“Giving our community a chance to learn more about Prahran’s history is a unique opportunity and I’m glad we have been able to partner with the Prahran Mechanics’ Institute to deliver this before construction commences early next year,” she added.

For more information about the display or to book to attend the free public lecture, visit

For more information about Cato Square, visit