NSW Parliament House 'Rum Hospital'
After assisting with separate works in the Speaker’s Garden, AMAC Group were engaged again by NSW Parliamentary Services to provide strategic heritage advice for several of the oldest rooms at NSW Parliament House - one of which was the former Surgeon’s Quarters in the north wing of Governor Macquarie’s ‘Rum Hospital,’ now the Member’s Lounge. Our brief was to enable excavation to install mechanical services in the sub-floor cavity of several rooms and hallway spaces. AMAC Group first prepared a Baseline Archaeological Assessment to examine the statutory heritage listings of the building and surrounds, the site’s history, and its occupants. These results, along with site inspection and AMAC Group’s long history of experience working with sub-floor cavities, were used to predict the archaeological potential for the Rum Hospital and support our application for fieldwork at this State Heritage Register listed site.
Our application also assessed the site for its significance by following the Heritage Council of NSW criteria and guidelines, to provide a statement of its historic, cultural, social, and political importance, as well as its rarity and importance as an archaeological research resource. Based on the site's State significance, AMAC Group prepared a Statement of Heritage Impact that recommended the mechanical services excavation should be preceded by a Research Design and Methodology for archaeological test excavation under a Section 60 Approval from the Heritage Council of NSW.
AMAC Group prepared a Research Design based on the mechanical services development plans, each test trench served a specific archaeological purpose as well as targetting information about the building foundations needed by the renovation team to refine their designs.
The Archaeological Baseline Assessment and Research Design were produced according to Heritage Council of NSW Guidelines which are based on the principals of the Burra Charter.
AMAC Group supplied the project with two Excavation Directors endorsed by Heritage NSW specifically for this test excavation. The first phase of fieldwork took place recently, on schedule and within budget, and preliminary results are available to the proponent to inform the renovation and allow works to continue with monitoring from archaeologists as needed.