The renovation of an old convent in Sydney has uncovered liquor bottles, Christmas cards, and even old shoes dating back to 1906.

“We've uncovered paintings, easels, bottles, cigarette packages, all kinds of neat little things,” says business development manager Douglas MacLennan, “even a registry from 1906 of all the students that were in the school.”

This former 19th century convent is being transformed into a new centre for arts, culture and innovation. There were six layers of drywall and four layers of flooring that needed to be removed, but as each piece was ripped up, another artifact was underneathed.

According to Ian Brody at Cape Breton University, it's something that's been done for more than 500 years.

“Nobody knows exactly why, but obviously there is some good luck associated with it the warding off of spirits or the humanizing of the building,” says Brody. “I'd image if many more buildings in Sydney were to undergo reconstruction they'd find similar artifacts, especially the prominent buildings of the city.”

For now, the found treasures sit in a room inside the new Dawn Centre, but the question now is what to do with all of them.

“I think we have a lot of creative people in the community and hopefully tenants of a future building,” says MacLellan. “I think we will try to engage them on how to properly display, share and really show what has been found.”

The renovations to the convent are expected to be completed by the summer of 2019.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.