Excavation uncovers Ellensbrook stories | Photos

Excavation and restoration works at the historic Ellensbrook homestead have uncovered items from the property’s past which may tell more of the site’s story.

Dr Sean Winter, principal archaeologist and lead supervisor for the excavation explained that necessary restoration works allowed his team to explore under the house.

“Because the floors are laid over dirt, there was an ongoing issue with moisture which needed to be addressed,” he said.

The National Trust called in heritage architects to complete restoration works on the building while Dr Winter and his team travelled from Perth to undertake the dig.

Accompanied by traditional custodian of the South West, Wayne Webb, the Winterborne Heritage team has gathered numerous bags of soil and what Dr Winter called “life underground”. 

“In rooms such as these, where floorboards are laid straight over the supports, a lot of everyday items can slip through the cracks, quite literally,” he said.

“Paper, buttons, pins, hair accessories, household items and all sorts of other things can slide between boards and are relatively protected from damp thanks to a layer of dust, hair and skin particles which deter moisture.

“As a result we find a lot of very interesting items in scenarios like this one.”

Mr Webb said he was pleased to be part of the excavation, with his own family holding deep ties to the site. 

Mr Webb’s ancestor Sam Isaacs lived for a time in one of the rooms at the Homestead and Mr Webb said he had already seen items that could be traced back to his relative.

Dr Winter said the excavation could also reveal new information about the land prior to the Bussell family’s arrival at Ellensbrook in 1857. 

Excavation results will now be transferred to Perth where they will undergo testing and identification studies.