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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 61 - 70) 398 items

  • Astragalus - Bone, circa 1880 Archaeology

    Astragalus - Bone, circa 1880

    Alternative Name(s): Knucklebone This astragalus bone was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It is from the hindquarter of a goat or sheep and part of a group of eight that may hav ...

    Images: 1
  • Astragalus - Bone, circa 1880 Archaeology

    Astragalus - Bone, circa 1880

    Alternative Name(s): Knucklebone This astragalus bone was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It is from the hindquarter of a goat or sheep and part of a group of eight that may hav ...

    Images: 1
  • Astragalus - Bone, circa 1880 Archaeology

    Astragalus - Bone, circa 1880

    Alternative Name(s): Knucklebone This astragalus bone was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It is from the hindquarter of a goat or sheep and part of a group of eight that may hav ...

    Images: 1
  • Scissors - Metal, circa 1880 (Damaged) Archaeology

    Scissors - Metal, circa 1880 (Damaged)

    These small embroidery or sewing scissors were excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. Working in Little Lon. Alongside the tightly packed cottages, commercial enterprise thrived i ...

    Images: 1
  • Chisel - Iron, circa 1880 (Part) Archaeology

    Chisel - Iron, circa 1880 (Part)

    This chisel blade was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. Working in Little Lon. Alongside the tightly packed cottages, commercial enterprise thrived in little Lon. Shops sold ...

    Images: 1
  • Necklace - Metal, circa 1880 (Incomplete) Archaeology

    Necklace - Metal, circa 1880 (Incomplete)

    This fine link necklace was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. Jewellery and ornamentation. Poverty did not prevent Little Lon's inhabitants - women and men alike - from following ...

    Images: 1
  • Key - Bronze, circa 1880 (Incomplete) Archaeology

    Key - Bronze, circa 1880 (Incomplete)

    This key was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It would have been used to open a valve, such as on a gas lamp. Homewares. Numerous crockery pieces were found all over the Little Lo ...

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

    Bottle - Medicine, Glass, China, circa 1880

    This clear glass 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 ...

    Images: 1
  • Badge - Melbourne City Mission, Plastic, circa 1880 (Incomplete) Archaeology

    Badge - Melbourne City Mission, Plastic, circa 1880 (Incomplete)

    This badge was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It is a Melbourne City Mission Badge. Cultural diversity in Little Lon. Little Lon was home to a diverse population. Germans, Jews ...

    Images: 1
  • Badge - Plastic, circa 1880 (Incomplete) Archaeology

    Badge - Plastic, circa 1880 (Incomplete)

    This badge was excavated at Casselden Place in 2003. It is a Melbourne City Mission Badge. Cultural diversity in Little Lon. Little Lon was home to a diverse population. Germans, Jews ...

    Images: 1
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