The Sydney Metro construction at Central Station is well under way, with project completion scheduled for 2022. Work will continue along the 31km length of the Sydney Metro City & Southwest project to lay tracks and fit out stations before services start in 2024.

According to the Archaeologist and Excavation Director, Dr Iain Stuart, everyone was prepared for archaeological findings.

After all, the site was once a burial ground the size of five football fields.

But the scale of the findings was quite unexpected, Dr Stuart told Urban Village.

Plans for Central Station developed in the mid 1890s, which meant that land spanning Devonshire Street Cemetery was repurposed for the development.

Devonshire Street Cemetery c. 1890. Photo credit: City of Sydney Archives.

Since the initial finding of human remains in October 2018, the archaeological team has found around seven vaults of coffins and 72 grave “cuts,” where coffins lay before exhumation.

An exciting development was made in June when archaeologists uncovered on the grave of Mr Joseph Thompson, 160 years after his death.

“Mr Thompson is unique in that he’s the first burial we’ve been able to definitely associate with a known person,” said Dr Stuart.

Records reveal that Mr Thompson was an elder of the congregational church at Pitt Street and fathered 14 children.

Sydney Metro is in consultation with Mr Thompson’s descendants about the remains. Interestingly, two of his descendants are professors of history.

“If one wanted to reflect on nature and nurture there’s a story to be told there.”

The archaeological clearance work is delicate, with Sydney Metro and contractor Laing O’Rourke working closely to ensure that the process is thorough and respectful.

“I think everybody concerned is aware that these are human remains and we need to be respectful and treat them properly,” said Dr Stuart.

Keep up to date with construction of the new Sydney Metro underground platforms at Central Station and the landmark Central Walk at