An Archaeological Time Capsule

Past Event: 17 May 2010 to 25 February 2011

Dinner plate with blue transfer-printed Willow pattern design
Dinner plate with blue transfer-printed Willow pattern design, after 1805. Excavated from John Maloney's cesspit in Casselden Place, 1988.
Source: Museum Victoria and La Trobe University

Get a glimpse into working-class life in late 19th century Melbourne during Archaeology Week.

On display are the thousands of artefact fragments excavated from a cesspit in Irish labourer John Maloney’s backyard. John lived with his brother and two sisters in a three-room, weatherboard house on Casselden Place in inner-city Melbourne.

John Maloney’s cesspit, filled during the 1870s, remained undisturbed for over 120 years. Its excavation in 1988 provided archaeologists a glimpse into working-class life in late 19th century Melbourne.

The display is arranged by use and features bottles, glasses, dinner and tea ware, chamber pots, ornaments, clothing remnants and faunal remains. As an ensemble, the contents of the cesspit provide a glimpse into the Maloney family’s daily life.

Comments (3)

sort by
newest
oldest
Discovery Centre 15 November, 2010 15:01

Hi Wayne, the museum focuses on the history of Australia so it may be better for you to contact an organisation in your own country that can advise on where to begin. You might wish to try the British Columbia Genealogical Society, which has a large number of resources related to family history research.

close this reply
Write your reply to Discovery Centre's comment All fields are required

We love receiving comments, but can’t always respond.

WAYNE ANTHONY MELBOURN 14 November, 2010 17:53
HI MY NAME IS WAYNE ANTHONY MELBOURN AND I WAS BORN IN 1968 IN MEDICINEHAT ALBERTA I AM SEARHING MEY FAMILY HISTORY AND SO IF YOU CAN HELP ME THAT WOULD BE GOOD
reply
John Brooks 7 October, 2010 10:19
My wife and I went to see Titanic, we both enjoyed the show. We are both cerebral palsy by birth, the help we receive by the museum staff was much appreciated.
reply