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AHS helps to record and conserve Bega’s network of historic granite kerbs and gutters for our client Bega Valley Shire Council


AHS helps to record and conserve Bega’s network of historic granite kerbs and gutters for our client Bega Valley Shire Council

The AHS team works with clients located across the country. Recently the  team paid a visit to Bega, the historic regional centre at the heart of the Sapphire Coast in New South Wales.

We were asked by Bega Valley Shire Council to prepare a Heritage Study and Conservation Management Plan for the locally heritage listed granite kerbs and gutters which are a prominent feature of Bega’s streetscapes.

With no records of the original construction retained by council, the AHS team relied upon a combination of fieldwork, primary source research, and digitised archival material to establish the extent of the network’s historical layout.

During the project’s fieldwork phase the kerbs and gutters were recorded spatially and photographically, with the distance of each alignment recorded using a measuring wheel. Start and end points were recorded with a handheld GPS, including intrusive elements and key features.

Granite sourced from quarry in the centre of Bega

The first Europeans passed through the Bega area in 1797 and by 1829 squatters and station owners had occupied land in the Bega Valley which was traditionally held by the Yuin-Monaro. A post office was established in 1856 and Bega was incorporated as a Municipality in 1884.

By December 1885 the Council had decided to kerb and gutter all Bega’s main roads, with Gibbs Street a priority, and contributions were requested from local property owners. The chosen contractor, Mr W Davis, was initially paid one penny per foot to cut the stone.

The granite used for construction was sourced from a quarry in the centre of town. When a monumental mason took a series of stone samples from local quarries in 1909, the Bega granite was described as “a small mottled grey” and “even better than the Moruya granite”.

The installation of this kerbing and guttering is an important phase in Bega’s history, representing some of the first works undertaken by the newly formed municipality. It also reflects the input of ratepayers funding in the development of Bega’s road improvements.

Laying of granite kerbing in front of the Royal Hotel on Gipps Street, 1885, State Library of NSW


Exceptional heritage significance along Gipps Street

The granite kerbs and gutters in Bega have two primary elements: the kerb and the pitched gutter. The kerbs are typically comprised of long granite blocks, sometimes showing evidence of the plug and feather method when the stone was split into form.

The construction method used to create the gutters is called pitching, with individual blocks of granite, called pitch, forming the channel. There were typically at least three courses of pitch forming the complete channel of the gutter, which fits close against the kerbing.

Bega’s kerbs and gutters were found to exhibit a high level of intactness and are represented in relatively complete alignments on several residential and commercial streets.

The sections identified by AHS along Gipps Street are considered to hold exceptional heritage significance, as they are believed to be the first, and only, surviving examples of granite kerb and gutter installed at Bega in 1885.

Photos of Bega Street and Auckland Street, including (right) the position of an original box drain


No directly comparable examples in NSW

The granite kerbs and gutters in Bega are an important and tangible link to the works undertaken by the Municipality at the time of its inception in the mid-1880’s, reflecting efforts to formalise the township and undertake important improvement works.

Bega’s kerbs and gutters also give the town’s streetscapes a distinct aesthetic, playing an important role in forming part of the town’s historical and contemporary identity for residents and tourists.

There are currently no other known granite kerbs or gutters registered on local or state heritage registers anywhere in New South Wales. This makes those identified at Bega a rarity, with no directly comparable examples.

Contact us

To discover how we may be able to assist on your next project, contact us today here or phone (07) 3221 0000. You can also connect with us on LinkedIn.

Granite kerbs and gutters on either side of Gipps Street

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The Challenge

The first Europeans passed through the Bega area in 1797 and by 1829 squatters and station owners had occupied land in the Bega Valley which was traditionally held by the Yuin-Monaro. A post office was established in 1856 and Bega was incorporated as a Municipality in 1884.

By December 1885 the Council had decided to kerb and gutter all Bega’s main roads, with Gibbs Street a priority, and contributions were requested from local property owners. The chosen contractor, Mr W Davis, was initially paid one penny per foot to cut the stone.

The granite used for construction was sourced from a quarry in the centre of town. When a monumental mason took a series of stone samples from local quarries in 1909, the Bega granite was described as “a small mottled grey” and “even better than the Moruya granite”.

The installation of this kerbing and guttering is an important phase in Bega’s history, representing some of the first works undertaken by the newly formed municipality. It also reflects the input of ratepayers funding in the development of Bega’s road improvements.



How we helped

The granite kerbs and gutters in Bega have two primary elements: the kerb and the pitched gutter. The kerbs are typically comprised of long granite blocks, sometimes showing evidence of the plug and feather method when the stone was split into form.

The construction method used to create the gutters is called pitching, with individual blocks of granite, called pitch, forming the channel. There were typically at least three courses of pitch forming the complete channel of the gutter, which fits close against the kerbing.

Bega’s kerbs and gutters were found to exhibit a high level of intactness and are represented in relatively complete alignments on several residential and commercial streets.

The sections identified by AHS along Gipps Street are considered to hold exceptional heritage significance, as they are believed to be the first, and only, surviving examples of granite kerb and gutter installed at Bega in 1885.

Results

The granite kerbs and gutters in Bega are an important and tangible link to the works undertaken by the Municipality at the time of its inception in the mid-1880’s, reflecting efforts to formalise the township and undertake important improvement works.

Bega’s kerbs and gutters also give the town’s streetscapes a distinct aesthetic, playing an important role in forming part of the town’s historical and contemporary identity for residents and tourists.

There are currently no other known granite kerbs or gutters registered on local or state heritage registers anywhere in New South Wales. This makes those identified at Bega a rarity, with no directly comparable examples.

Contact us

To discover how we may be able to assist on your next project, contact us today here or phone (07) 3221 0000. You can also connect with us on LinkedIn.

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AHS ensures cultural preservation of the Mt Coot-tha Kiosk and Lookout, unearthing a rich history at one of Brisbane’s premiere vantage points

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AHS delivered a Conservation Management Plan for the State heritage listed former Cairns Masonic Temple

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Delivering heritage services including an Archival Recording at the Coffs Harbour Forestry Building

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Conserving Willard’s Farm, one of the oldest surviving farms and residences within the Redlands on Brisbane’s Bayside

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AHS projects with Cairns Regional Council include a CMP for Mulgrave Shire Council Chambers

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AHS uncovers a lengthy historical legal challenge while researching the William Mitchner Shelter

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