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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 41 - 50) 398 items

  • Whet Stone - Stone, circa 1880 (Fragment) Archaeology

    Whet Stone - Stone, circa 1880 (Fragment)

    This fragment of whet stone was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. Working in Little Lon. Alongside the tightly packed cottages, commercial enterprise thrived in little Lon. S ...

    Images: 1
  • Candle Stick - Red Ware, circa 1880 (Part) Archaeology

    Candle Stick - Red Ware, circa 1880 (Part)

    This body of a red ware candle stick was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. Homewares. Numerous crockery pieces were found all over the Little Lon site. Crockery gives us a glimpse ...

    Images: 1
  • Cup - Ceramic, Chinese, circa 1880 (Incomplete) Archaeology

    Cup - Ceramic, Chinese, circa 1880 (Incomplete)

    This Chinese ceramic cup was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. Cultural diversity in Little Lon. Little Lon was home to a diverse population. Germans, Jews and Irish arrived in th ...

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

    Bottle - Green Glass, circa 1880

    This green glass 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 profu ...

    Images: 1
  • Ink Well - Stoneware, circa 1880 Archaeology

    Ink Well - Stoneware, circa 1880

    This light brown ceramic ink well was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. Writing implements, found throughout Little Lon, indicate that writing was a commonplace activity. The pens, ...

    Images: 1
  • Container - Ceramic, Asia, circa 1880 (Damaged) Archaeology

    Container - Ceramic, Asia, circa 1880 (Damaged)

    This Asian, dark brown glazed ceramic container was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. Cultural diversity in Little Lon. Little Lon was home to a diverse population. Germans, Jews ...

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

    Pipe - Clay, circa 1880 (Part)

    This bowl of a clay tobacco pipe was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It has Irish symbols on it, including a Celtic harp. Cultural diversity in Little Lon. Little Lon was home to ...

    Images: 1
  • Bottle - Medicine, Glass, China, circa 1880 Archaeology

    Bottle - Medicine, Glass, China, circa 1880

    This single dose medicine bottle was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It was manufactured in China. Cultural diversity in Little Lon. Little Lon was home to a diverse population. ...

    Images: 1
  • Bottle - Medicine, Glass, China, circa 1880 Archaeology

    Bottle - Medicine, Glass, China, circa 1880

    This clear, single dose medicine bottle was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It was manufactured in China. Cultural diversity in Little Lon. Little Lon was home to a diverse popul ...

    Images: 1
  • Pot - Tiger Balm, Glass, Chinese, circa 1880 Archaeology

    Pot - Tiger Balm, Glass, Chinese, circa 1880

    This glass tiger balm pot was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It is missing it's lid but has a maker's mark and was manufactured in China. Cultural diversity in Little Lon. Littl ...

    Images: 1
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