A TIME capsule has been discovered buried under the WWI heritage-listed Miranda War Memorial, which is being dismantled and shifted to Seymour Shaw Park.
The war memorial is the focus of the biggest Anzac Day dawn service in NSW outside the CBD.
It is being moved 50 metres from the end of Central Avenue, Miranda, into a landscaped area in the park to better accommodate crowds attending services.
The time capsule, which appears to be made from an old artillery shell, was discovered last Friday by heritage consultant James Gardner. It was buried in sand at the base of the memorial.
The copper gun shell measures just over 50 centimetres and is soldered shut. It was buried with two tobacco pouches originating from Holland and Zig Zag cigarette papers.
"We were dismantling the memorial when we got to the bottom and discovered the shell buried in sand," Mr Gardner said.
"In 25 years in the industry I've never encountered a time capsule.
"I've found bottles, plates, even a body floating in the harbour off Fort Denison, but this is the first time I've found a time capsule."
Miranda RSL Sub-branch president Bruce Grimley led efforts to have the memorial moved and said he had "suspicions from the start that we might find something under the memorial".
"But to actually witness it being pulled from the base of the memorial was heart-stirring," he said. "We would love to see what's inside but it may be buried under the setting of the relocated memorial along with another time capsule we are putting together."
Sutherland Shire mayor Steve Simpson described it as a marvellous find and an important piece of history.
"We will liaise with Miranda RSL Sub-branch on what we should do with the items," he said.
"We're looking for historical records detailing the capsule and tobacco pouches but we've not yet managed to find any information."
Dismantling the war memorial also created another mystery.
A concrete statue of a Digger originally stood on top of it but was later removed.
It was rumoured to be buried inside the war memorial when it was moved the first time in 1968.
But no trace of the statue was found when the memorial was dismantled this week.
■ What do you think is in the time capsule?