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Time capsule found at former Target site

Time capsule found at former Target site
31 July 2019

The former Target building on Ferrers Street Mount Gambier was demolished in the past few weeks and is being cleared to make way for the new Coles supermarket development to begin. During the works a foundation stone was salvaged, underneath which a time capsule and an additional historical stone were uncovered.

GLG Developments building contractors Lanskey Constructions found more than they bargained for when they removed the red dolomite foundation stone formerly located on the western side of the Target building.

The Mount Gambier power station foundation stone formerly located on the western side of the old Target store building.
The Mount Gambier power station foundation stone formerly located on the western side of the old Target store building.
The Mount Gambier power station foundation stone formerly located on the western side of the old Target store building.
The stone was originally laid to commemorate the opening of Mount Gambier’s first power station by Mayor of the day C Spehr on 6 March 1924.- City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin
City of Mount Gambier Mayor 1920 - 1924 – C. L. Spehr.
City of Mount Gambier Mayor 1920 - 1924 – C. L. Spehr
City of Mount Gambier Mayor 1920 - 1924 – C. L. Spehr.
A digitised original photograph of the foundation stone being lowered into place by Mayor Spehr in 1924. - Les Hill Historical Collection, Mount Gambier Library.
A digitised original photograph of the foundation stone being lowered into place by Mayor Spehr in 1924. - Les Hill Historical Collection, Mount Gambier Library.
A digitised original photograph of the foundation stone being lowered into place by Mayor Spehr in 1924. - Les Hill Historical Collection, Mount Gambier Library.

“Almost 50 years later in April 1973 the foundation stone was salvaged when the electricity supply buildings were demolished and the stone was then incorporated within the former Target store building.”

In recent weeks, contractors found a cairn behind the stone which contained a glass time capsule.

The cairn found by building contractors on the western side of the old Target store.
The cairn found by building contractors on the western side of the old Target store.
The cairn found by building contractors on the western side of the old Target store.
City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin holds the stone which reads ‘Bienvenu’ the French word for ‘welcome’ and a time capsule found by contractors before the former Target store building was demolished in recent weeks.
Mayor Lynette Martin holds the stone and time capsule
City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin holds the stone which reads ‘Bienvenu’ the French word for ‘welcome’ and a time capsule found by contractors before the former Target store building was demolished in recent weeks.

“From what we can piece together from historical newspaper reports, the time capsule contains copies of old newspapers and documents associated with the site works in 1924 and 1973 and some coins.”

“Council is very excited to receive these significant pieces of history from years gone by and will discuss opening the time capsule to see exactly what it contains in the coming months.”

However, mystery surrounds a stone marked ‘Bienvenu’ which was also recovered during demolition on site.

“We don’t know how the ‘Bienvenu’ stone which is the French word for ‘welcome’, fits into the story,” Mayor Martin said.

“We can only assume that it may have come from a house that may have been on the site during the powerhouse demolition process in 1924. If anyone has further information about this, please do let Council know.”

Council has negotiated an agreement with developers to preserve the power station foundation stone and reinstall it as part of redevelopment on site.

“The Spehr family are particularly keen to see this foundation stone preserved and no doubt are happy to learn that as part of the final approved site plans, it will be laid at the internal carpark entry walkway from Ferrers Street and it will incorporate landscaping.”

It is expected the Coles supermarket and speciality shops will be open for business in 12 months.

A new ALDI store and speciality shops are also being erected on an adjacent property directly to the northeast of the Coles construction site.

Media contact: City of Mount Gambier Media and Communications Coordinator Sharny McLean on 8721 2401 or smclean@mountgambier.sa.gov.au

Target building demolition