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Little Lon

Little Lonsdale ceramics

Image: Little Lonsdale ceramics

Source: Museum Victoria

'Little Lon' is an inner-city block in Melbourne bordered by Lonsdale, Exhibition, Little Lonsdale and Spring Streets. The area, also known as the Commonwealth Block as it was acquired by the Commonwealth Government in 1948, has been subject to five archaeological excavations since 1988. Museum Victoria is custodian of the 500,000+ artefacts excavated from four of the five digs: Little Lon in 1988, Black Eagle and Odd Fellows Hotels in 1990, 17 Casselden Place in 1995, and Casselden Place in 2002.

During the mid to late nineteenth century, Little Lon evolved as a predominantly working class area. It was characterised by a series of laneways, with small properties packed together creating crowded and unsanitary conditions. In the public's consciousness, Little Lon was a slum, riddled with poverty, prostitution and drug addiction.

Little Lon was the city's 'Red Light District', but it was also home to the city's poorest residents and recently arrived immigrants from Ireland, Italy, China and Syria. And what recent archaeological and historical research shows us is that under adverse conditions, many individuals and families managed to make homes, raise children, and establish businesses in Little Lon.

Items per page: 10 50 (showing 21 - 30) 398 items

  • Tambour Hook - Bone, circa 1880 (Incomplete) Archaeology

    Tambour Hook - Bone, circa 1880 (Incomplete)

    Alternative Name(s): Tambour Needle Part of carved bone tool, probably for tambour work (originally identified as bobbin). Excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It has a carved acorn o ...

    Images: 1
  • Earring - Gold & Semi-precious Stone, 1870s-1880s Archaeology

    Earring - Gold & Semi-precious Stone, 1870s-1880s

    This 18ct gold earing pendant was the one piece of Australian manufactured jewellery uncovered from the Casselden Place dig in 2003. The workmanship and vine leaf motif allows us to spe ...

    Images: 1
  • Gun Flint - Stone, circa 1880 Archaeology

    Gun Flint - Stone, circa 1880

    This gun flint was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It does not appear to have been used.

    Images: 1
  • Gun Flint - Stone, circa 1880 Archaeology

    Gun Flint - Stone, circa 1880

    This gun flint was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It does not appear to have been used.

    Images: 1
  • Bottle - Green Glass, circa 1880 Archaeology

    Bottle - Green Glass, circa 1880

    This dark green bottle was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It was most likely used for beer or wine. Alcohol and Drinking. There were 15 hotels at Little Lon in 1900. The profus ...

    Images: 1
  • Brooch - Garter Design, Gilt Metal, circa 1880 (Part) Archaeology

    Brooch - Garter Design, Gilt Metal, circa 1880 (Part)

    This gilt metal brooch with a garter design was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. Jewellery and ornamentation. Poverty did not prevent Little Lon's inhabitants - women and men ali ...

    Images: 1
  • Pipe - Clay, circa 1880 (Part) Archaeology

    Pipe - Clay, circa 1880 (Part)

    This clay tobacco pipe bowl was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It has been made in the shape of man's head. A pipeful of tobacco was long-lasting and its aroma disguised the ste ...

    Images: 2
  • Pipe - Clay, circa 1880 (Fragment) Archaeology

    Pipe - Clay, circa 1880 (Fragment)

    This fragment of a clay tobacco pipe was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It depicts an Celtic harp. Cultural diversity in Little Lon. Little Lon was home to a diverse population. ...

    Images: 1
  • Toothbrush - Bone, circa 1880 (Part) Archaeology

    Toothbrush - Bone, circa 1880 (Part)

    This bone toothbrush was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. Health and hygiene. 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness'. This is a difficult maxim to follow when 'there is not one bath ...

    Images: 1
  • Medal - Cessation of Transportation 1853, Bronze, London, 1853 Archaeology

    Medal - Cessation of Transportation 1853, Bronze, London, 1853

    This commemorative medal was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It was made in 1853 to commemorate both the cessation of transportation in Tasmania and the Jubilee of the foundation ...

    Images: 2
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