Field Work, News

Prospecting the History of the Hills: Volunteer Opportunity in Prospect Hill

Over the weekend of the 29th and 30th of September, ArchSoc will be conducting a field survey at the site of the Deputy Surveyor-General of South Australia, Thomas Burr’s camp in Prospect Hill, South Australia. During this project we will be helping the Prospect Hill Historical Museum and the Prospect Hill Community Association Inc. to identify and interpret material evidence of the existence of the 19th Century surveyor’s camp, which was inhabited by Thomas Burr and his family during the c.1840s.

Participants in this project will assist ArchSoc in producing a high-quality, publishable report about the historical and archaeological backgrounds of the area. Following the field survey, participants will also help in collating the survey data to be included in a final report. The final report will be presented to the Prospect Hill Historical Museum.

Continue reading “Prospecting the History of the Hills: Volunteer Opportunity in Prospect Hill”


Who will receive a Royal Pardon and who will be sent to the gallows?

You are hereby sentenced to one night’s imprisonment in B-Wing of the New Building at the Adelaide Gaol. Your sentence will commence at 6:30pm on Wednesday the 13th of June 2012. In addition to your sentence you will be fined $20. Your sentence will consist of hard trivia labour and other character building rehabilitation activities. The institution in which you will be imprisoned has an eight person per cell policy but due to overcrowding there are only twelve cells currently available. You will need to contact wardens Beasley and Lally prior to the commencement of your sentence otherwise you may be forced to serve your time in another facility. It is your responsibility to provide your own gaol uniform which is to be appropriate to your status as a criminal. Continue reading “Who will receive a Royal Pardon and who will be sent to the gallows?”

Events, Field Work

Old Plympton Railway Station: Mud Map

Here is a mud map prepared by an ArchSoc volunteer. This map was created using careful observations of the landscape and a pacing unit (measuring distances with the length of one’s stride). The hand-drawn map was then animated, as shown below.

Compare to this google satellite photograph:

As we can see, the scale is a little out, however, the mud map captures all significant features of the site. This comes in handy when familiarising oneself with the site and when internet access is limited.

Events, Field Work

Old Plympton Railway Station: Photography

Here are some of the photographs of the site, a greater selection can be found here. The platform is approximately 130m long, 10m wide and 90cm high, with a 30º slope at either end.

One of the things we were interested in was capturing the contemporary significances of the site and the ways in which contemporary people use and change the landscape.

Since the station closed, the platform was used by the community as a stage for public events. As far as the modern material culture can reveal, the site is predominantly used by people for exercise, picnics and to write graffiti.

Help us to answer our survey questions! We are really interested in what people have to say about this site. If you have any comments, suggestions or questions, please leave them below. We will keep updating this page as we process our data.

Events, Field Work

Old Plympton Railway Station: End of the Survey

Tom, Bradley and Andrew working the total station.

Thanks to everyone that came down and enjoyed the day today, it was very successful (and a lot of fun!). We are in the process of compiling the data and will begin writing up our report during the week. We will post all final products to this page.

Events, Field Work

Old Plympton Railway Station: Site Surveys

Dumpy level and total station surveys in action

For the last few hours ArchSoc has been recording the remains of the Old Plympton Railway Station. We have been recording features that can inform us of past uses and contemporary significances of the site.

We have had a lot of public interest in the survey with many archaeology and rail enthusiasts coming down to find out about what we’re up to. Many people that remember using the platform for community events have also come along to meet us and share their stories. We will be here until 4pm so if you can make it, come on down!

Scott on the dumpy
Events, Field Work

Old Plympton Railway Station: Timeline of Major Events

By Angeline Buckler




Holdfast Bay Railway Company  opens its train-line to Glenelg (24th May)


Tom Dunn joins the Holdfast Bay Railway Company

(15th December)

Holdfast Bay RC and Adelaide Suburban RC merge to form the Glenelg Railway Company


Collisions between a goods train and a passenger train occurs at Plympton Station (4th July)


Tom Dunn recalls Judge Boucaut and the Bo ‘sun of the Buffalo as regular patrons of the Adelaide to Glenelg train service throughout his time with the companies.

Adelaide Hunt Club meets at Plympton Station for steeplechase (1st July)


Warden F.W. Vasey knocked down by train at Plympton Station (9th October)


Shelter at Plympton Station being constructed due for completion in 3 weeks (25th November)


Rally to Bronzewing Poultry Farm leaves from Plympton Station

(6th September)


Break-in at Plympton Station, door forced with pick, nothing taken (16th August)


Postmaster General advises that the installation of a post-box and phone is under consideration (10th December)


John Alfred O’Donohoe (junior porter) saves Mary White from being hit by train (2nd June)


Tom Dunn retires from the railway company after 43 years of service (5th January)

John Alfred O’Donohoe awarded Humane Society Bronze Medal for his bravery (24th October)


Last train from Adelaide to Glenelg runs on the North Terrace line (November)


Thomas Stockley drives the last train to Glenelg along the North Terrace line (November)

Events, Field Work

Old Plympton Railway Station: Historical Background

The historical background of the Old Plympton Railway Station has been prepared by Flinders archaeology student, Angeline Buckler:


The historic Plympton Railway Station was one of the platforms along the North Terrace Line that originally connected the City of Glenelg to the City of Adelaide. The South Terrace Line is now known as the Adelaide to Glenelg tram-line; the North Terrace Line was abandoned in 1929 and the rails have since been removed. During this time period there were two Plympton railway stations, one on each line. The station in this report was most often referred to as the North Plympton Train Station as it was located on the North Terrace Line.

While the South Terrace Line, owned and operated by the Adelaide Suburban Railway Company, had been operating since 1871; the North Terrace Line did not commence operations until May of 1880 (Blake 2010:77). The new line was initiated by the Holdfast Bay Railway Company who opened the line in competition with Suburban Company hoping to draw business from the other line by offering a shorter trip and more efficient service (South Australian Advertiser 1880:1-2). After approximately 12 months it became evident that despite the popularity of the trains there was not enough business to support two separate companies and in 1881 the two companies merged to become the Glenelg Railway Company. The Glenelg Railway Company took over management of both the South and North Terrace lines. Continue reading “Old Plympton Railway Station: Historical Background”

Events, Field Work

Old Plympton Railway Station: Aims of the Survey


Today, the Flinders Archaeological Society kicks off National Archaeology Week with our first About Time: SA History Festival event: Community Archaeology Day at the Old Plympton Railway Station, corner of Marion Road and Mooringe Avenue.

The removal of the train line has altered the contemporary landscape of the area as one can see from the existence of the multiple reserves and parklands located on the original train line site.

We are holding archaeological site survey demonstrations and a BBQ, so come down today between noon and 4pm to meet us and join in. Continue reading “Old Plympton Railway Station: Aims of the Survey”