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Sanitary Pan - Galvanised Iron, circa 1890 Object Reg. No: HT 16332

Night-soil or sanitary pan used for collection of toilet wastes. Also known as a nightman's pan. Nightsoil pans similar to this were widely used in many of Melbourne's suburbs prior to the construction Spotswood Pumping Station and the first sections of the Melbourne's underground sewerage system in the 1890s and early 1900s. Because sewers were only gradually extended to outer suburbs often years or decades after the suburbs were first closely settled, night-soil pans continued to be used in many areas as an alternative to septic tanks or for temporary toilets such as those provided on building sites.

This pan was collected from Mr Ron Graham, who until November 1995 operated the last nightsoil collection service in Melbourne, covering the Sunshine portion of what is now the City of Brimbank. Nightsoil collection was usually the responsibility of local municipal councils, with the Melbourne & Metropolitan Board of Works establishing and managing a depot at Brooklyn where contractors took the nightsoil pans for emptying and washing. The Brooklyn depot discharged its waste directly into the Werribee Outfall Sewer. During the early 1900s, the Board of Works also operated a farm at Campbellfield with nightsoil was delivered and ploughed into the pasture as a fertilizer.
Pan with two side handles and spring-clip lid. Rubber sealing ring inside lip of lid slightly perished. The can is made of galvanised iron, coated inside and out with thick bitumous black paint.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Mr Ron Graham
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 380 mm (Height), 460 mm (Width), 375 mm (Diameter)
Dimension Comment: Height with lid off: 346mm. Width measured at widest point at handles.

More information

Tagged with: sewerage, sanitation, night soil collection, sewage disposal equipment, toilet pans
Themes this item is part of: Engineering Collection, Municipality of Sunshine, Victoria
On Display at: Melbourne Museum
Primary Classification: CIVIL ENGINEERING
Secondary Classification: Sewerage
Tertiary Classification: sanitary pans
Date Made: Australia, circa 1890
Place & Date Used: Victoria, Australia, circa 1890

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