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Dirt and Disease

In the 1880s, Melbourne had as much stench as style.

Scraps, slops, urine and faeces flowed through the streets in open gutters. Diseases such as diphtheria and typhoid flourished.

Believing that bad air from low-lying areas would make them ill, wealthier residents built on higher ground and took to using smelling salts.

Following a public outcry and numerous government inquiries, the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works was formed in 1891 to build an underground sewerage system.


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'A Bad Smell'

Sanitary pan

Scent and smelling salts bottle

Board of Works honour board
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