Mystery after 'unique and intriguing' grave found during construction in Sydney

Sydney’s metro construction work has uncovered a 161-year-old grave.

Crews uncovered the grave of Joseph Thompson at Central Station recently leading to a hunt to find his descendants.

The Central Station site was once the Devonshire Street Cemetery until it closed in 1867.

It is the first grave with a legible nameplate to be uncovered during construction work on the new Sydney Metro platforms.

A headstone belonging to Joseph Thompson. The plate dates back to 1858 and was found at the old site of the Devonshire Street Cemetery which closed in 1867 and eventually became Central Station. Source: Sydney Metro

Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said in a statement the plate dates back to 1858.

“We have a specialised team on site undertaking the excavation activities to ensure all discoveries are properly processed and treated with the utmost respect,” Mr Constance said.

“We’re inviting any relatives or descendants of Mr Joseph Thompson to make contact with Sydney Metro team for further information,” Mr Constance said.

A worker on site at Central Station which used to be Devonshire Street Cemetery. Source: Sydney Metro (file pic)

Mr Thompson was born in England in 1779 and had 14 children. He worked as a draper and was a member of the Pitt Street Congregational Church before his death in 1858.

Most of the graves were removed prior to the construction of Central Station in 1901. More than 60 graves and five vaults have been discovered.

Sydney Metro chief executive Jon Lamonte said crews have also found coins, gravesite furniture, sandstone crypts and coffin fixtures.

“Even structures that were part of the original Central Station have been uncovered,” he said.

A worker at Central Station which was once Devonshire Street Cemetery. The grave of Joseph Thompson was found here recently during works on Sydney Metro. The grave is 161 years old.

Excavation director Dr Iain Stuart told the ABC the find of Mr Thompson’s grave and tombstone is “unique and intriguing” adding it also “raises questions” about reports the man was exhumed.

His remains are currently being held at University of Sydney’s Shellshear Museum, the Daily Telegraph reported.

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