A little-known Great Depression-era site in Orange once home to about 13 families is to be considered for heritage recognition.
Interpretative signage, sculptures and structures would be placed at the site known as The Springs, which is on the Hawke Lane travelling stock route, bike path and walking track near the Shiralee housing estate.
Orange City Council will consider reports from the state government and archaeologists on Tuesday night about the future of the site.
The old settlement site is important to many Aboriginal families throughout the Central West of NSW who had people once living there.Orange City Council report
It is expected the reports will be put on exhibition to invite public comment.
They state that while there was evidence of people living at The Springs, named for an abundance of water at the site, from the late 1800s, the population increased significantly in the 1930s.
It said mainly Aboriginal families, and some itinerant Caucasian people, lived in tents and rough huts made from tin and timber.
Many of them were unable to source government assistance as the Depression left many people unemployed.
The reports state the area was gradually demolished in the early 1940s after complaints from people living in nearby properties about the poor living conditions.
While little remains at the site they said archaeologists have found artefacts, scarred trees and the footings of some huts.
"Located five kilometres south of the city of Orange, the old settlement site is important to many Aboriginal families throughout the Central West of NSW who had people once living there," a report to the council said.
"The Springs was a good place to live as it had a permanent water supply. Residents supported themselves by picking cherries and blackberries for local farmers and the population of the camp swelled during the picking season in August and September."
The council report said the site came to public attention two years ago when work to install a power line from Orange to the Cadia mine "disturbed the bluestone footings" of a hut at the site.
"Community response to this indicated that The Springs site is vulnerable and required safeguarding for the future," it said.
The reports propose bush and creek line restoration work ahead of installing commemorative structures.
They include interpretive sculptures, silhouettes, a totem pole to provide a visual link to Wiradjuri culture, a boardwalk over a waterway known as 'the Soak,' creating pathways to link the area to the proposed Orange Health and Innovation Precinct at Bloomfield, picnic areas and seats, information signs and public art.
It is also proposed to write phrases in the footpath, including using the family names of former residents.
Silhouette designs include children stepping over the creek, a woman hanging laundry, a school child with a bicycle and a Wiradjuri man keeping lookout at the top of a hill near the dam.
One former resident, Aunty Joyce Williams, has given an oral history of her time growing up at the camp, which forms part of the study.
"I mostly remember how fresh the water at The Springs was. The spring was on private property but the owner let us onto his property to get water," she said.
"There were about nine humpies when I first moved there, and lots of children. We all got along well. It was a quiet place."
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