Drysdale Bypass

Drysdale Bypass is Bellarine Peninsula’s biggest road infrastructure project. Running 6 km from Jetty Road to the north of Whitcombes Road, the project involved the construction of four new traffic lanes separated by a central median, along with the construction of intersections, roundabouts and traffic lights.

The alignment was set aside in 1983, generally consisting of residential rural properties and farm paddocks The project provides benefits such as making Drysdale safer and reducing congestion for more efficient travel times.

The salvage excavation was a collaboration between Archaeological Excavations Pty Ltd, Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, Major Road Projects Authority, VicRoads and Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants. The salvage resulted in the recovery of approximately 120,000 artefacts across five locations. Nine Aboriginal Places had been recorded in the previously undertaken standard and complex assessment, five artefact scatters and four low-density artefact distributions, with a total of 807 artefacts found. Most of these artefacts were flakes and angular fragments, but cores and cobbles or pebbles were also identified.

The Wadawurrung people of the Kulin nation are the Traditional Owners of the area. They have an enduring and deep connection with the land, sea, waterways and coastal areas. The Bellarine Peninsula is known as Bella Wiyn in Wadawurrung language, which means ‘recline on the elbow by the fire’ – resting place.

During the salvage, 500 students from four schools in Drysdale were able to participate in the excavation which provided them with the opportunity to learn about the history of the land they are living on. As part of their search for artefacts, Wadawrrung elders also shared storytelling.

The Bypass opened to traffic in July 2020, benefiting locals and visitors to the area. The road has also included a pedestrian underpass and a shared walking and cycling path.