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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 391 - 398) 398 items

  • Spoon - Ceramic, Chinese, circa 1880 (Part) Archaeology

    Spoon - Ceramic, Chinese, circa 1880 (Part)

    This ceramic spoon was excavated during one of the digs conducted at the Commonwealth Block site between 1988 and 2003. Cultural diversity in Little Lon. Little Lon was home to a diver ...

    Images: 1
  • Coin - Penny, Great Britain, 1812 Archaeology

    Coin - Penny, Great Britain, 1812

    This British penny was was excavated at the Commonwealth Block site between 1988 and 2003. Cultural diversity in Little Lon. Little Lon was home to a diverse population. Germans, Jews ...

    Images: 1
  • Bottle - Porter Ale, Glass, circa 1880 Archaeology

    Bottle - Porter Ale, Glass, circa 1880

    This glass porter bottle was excavated at the Commonwealth Block site between 1988 and 2003. Alcohol and Drinking. There were 15 hotels at Little Lon in 1900. The profusion of beer, w ...

    Images: 1
  • Coin - Penny, Great Britain, 1806 Archaeology

    Coin - Penny, Great Britain, 1806

    This British penny was excavated at the Commonwealth Block site between 1988 and 2003. Working in Little Lon. Alongside the tightly packed cottages, commercial enterprise thrived ...

    Images: 1
  • Coin - Token Penny, Hobart, circa 1880 Archaeology

    Coin - Token Penny, Hobart, circa 1880

    This token penny was excavated at the Commonwealth Block site between 1988 and 2003. Working in Little Lon. Alongside the tightly packed cottages, commercial enterprise thrived i ...

    Images: 1
  • Toy - Sugar Bowl, Porcelain, circa 1880-1900 Object

    Toy - Sugar Bowl, Porcelain, circa 1880-1900

    This glazed ceramic sugar bowl, is part of a child's tea set. It was uncovered in an archaeological dig at the Commonwealth Block site between 1988 and 2003. 'When I was a child, we pl ...

    From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 1
  • Toy - Cup, Porcelain, circa 1880-1900 Object

    Toy - Cup, Porcelain, circa 1880-1900

    This glazed ceramic cup, is part of a child's tea set. It was uncovered in an archaeological dig of the Commonwealth Block site between 1988 and 2003. 'When I was a child, we played in ...

    From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 1
  • No Image Available Archaeology

    Pipe - Squatter's Bungaree, Clay, circa 1880

    These fragments of a tobbacco pipe were excavated at the Commonwealth Block site between 1988 and 2003. The style of these pipes is known as a 'Squatters Own Budgeree' or a 'Squatter's ...

    Images: 0
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