Convict era bricks from 1821 found at NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park

UNEARTHED: NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park manager Dawn Marchment and groundsman Bob Cain with convict era bricks and a foundation discovered in Port Macquarie.
UNEARTHED: NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park manager Dawn Marchment and groundsman Bob Cain with convict era bricks and a foundation discovered in Port Macquarie.

Convict history has been unearthed in Port Macquarie after a number of clay bricks believed to be almost 200 years old were found.

Dozens of handmade building materials were discovered by staff from the NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park on July 5.

Many of the finds are stamped with convict symbols such an arrow, diamond, heart or clover to denote different quarries where they were made.

Holiday Park manager Dawn Marchment said the newly found bricks would be made into a historical display for park guests.

"I think they're just beautiful. We're going to varnish them so that the guests can come and see them," said Mrs Marchment.

"I scrubbed them all up because they initially came out black, they were all really dirty.

"I've been living in town for 10 years but only managing the park for three, I just love the history of the town."

Holiday Park groundsman Bob Cain unearthed the bricks from a convict era drain discovered at the park entrance.

"All the old drains were built by convicts with brick, there wasn't any piping so there's probably millions under there ," Mr Cain said.

"These are made from clay material and all the mortar is just old lime mortar, it's not that strong.

"They probably weren't fired properly because they're only red clay and not nearly as strong or pure as normal bricks.

"The convicts would have just dug up some clay and made them from whatever was in it, so there are impurities.

"It just goes to show there is a lot of hidden historical spots in Port Macquarie."

Port Macquarie Historical Society president Clive Smith said the area where the bricks were found would have contained a lumberyard and convict barracks.

"Convict-made bricks are well known about, there are plenty around and bricks turn up all over the place," said Mr Smith.

"They'd have to be from the mid-1820s to about 1840s because the convict establishment was wound up by then.

"It is difficult to know if bricks are put there in-situ or when something was demolished.

"If they are found in-situ certainly in the CBD area, they might need to be part of an archaeological excavation to determine if anything else is there.

"They can be donated to local storage for repairing surviving buildings, otherwise they can be reused as decorative elements."

HISTORICAL GUIDE: NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park manager Dawn Marchment with a history book about the area in convict times.

HISTORICAL GUIDE: NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park manager Dawn Marchment with a history book about the area in convict times.

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