Indonesian-Born Property Developer Helps Preserve Australian History

Crown Group, a Sydney-based property developer founded by Indonesian-born Iwan Sunito, has opened to the public an archaeological site displaying Australia’s oldest surviving remains of a convict hut and hotel at one of the group's apartment developments in Sydney.(Photo courtesy of Crown Group)

By : Jakarta Globe | on 4:42 PM December 18, 2017
Category : Business, Corporate News

Jakarta. Crown Group, a Sydney-based property developer founded by Indonesian-born Iwan Sunito, has opened to the public an archaeological site displaying Australia’s oldest surviving remnants of a convict hut and hotel at one of the group's apartment developments in Sydney.

The site, located under the 29-story V building by Crown Group in Parramatta, a central business district in Sydney, was unearthed during construction several years ago. Subsequent studies by local archaeologists concluded that the remnants are part of a 19th-century convict hut and was also the site of the cellar of one of Parramatta’s oldest pubs, built in 1801 at the Wheatsheaf Hotel.

"Many developers would have seen the discovery of important archaeological remains as an unwanted hurdle, but we saw it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to create something for the community," Iwan Sunito, Crown Group's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement on Monday (18/12).

"Our vision for V by Crown Group was to bring the past, present and future together," Iwan said.

Iwan and New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian cut the ribbon to open the center on Monday.

The archaeological finds are now showcased in the building's lobby and allows visitors access to a range of artifact displays, including children’s toys, 19th century bottles, dinner plates, the remains of a well and workshops.

"This is the first time that the physical remains of a convict hut have been put on display. The baker’s oven, the wheelwright’s workshop, the later brick cottage could all be matched with the known historical occupants of the site," said Ted Higginbotham, the lead archaeologist on the project.

The site, named the Philip Ruddock Heritage Centre after local politician Philip Ruddock, features a "walk-through" display showcasing the history of the site and a video that details the discovery.

The center is open to the public everyday from 10.00 a.m.–11.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.–4.00 p.m. and no booking is required.

Crown Group is known for developing several landmark apartment buildings in Sydney and Melbourne. The group has built its success by tapping into demands from home buyers from mainland China and Southeast Asian countries who seek to invest in Australian properties to serve as homes for their children studying in the country.

The V by Crown Group building in Parramatta features 590 apartments, a pool, a gym, a five-star hotel and modern restaurants.

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