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Author: Nadia Bajzelj,Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants

In 2019, GML Heritage Pty Ltd (GML) were engaged by ISPT Pty Ltd (ISPT) to undertake an historical archaeological investigation of 364-378 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. This location encompasses two sites listed on the Victorian Heritage Inventory (H7822-1024 and H7822-1025). The sites were used as domestic residences (1864-1918) before the construction of a Women’s VD Clinic (1918) and a Tuberculosis Bureau (1928) (GML 2019). The recovered artefact collection, comprising approximately 40,000 artefact fragments, was catalogued and analysed by Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants.

364-378 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne toilet wares

Photo 1: toilet wares from 364-378 Little Lonsdale Street (photograph by Grace Stephenson-Gordon, Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants)

The items pictured are ceramic artefacts relating to 19th-century hygiene practises. The majority of these items are chamber pots, but a chamber pot lid, wash basin and a brush box and lid were also identified. All are made from earthenware and decorated with transfer printed designs in black, blue, green and purple. These artefacts are from high significance contexts associated with the single-storey cottages of 366, 368 and 370 Little Lonsdale Street.

Concepts of hygiene during the 19th-century were evolving and changing dramatically from those of previous centuries. In earlier eras a link had been made between bathing and the spread of disease, but the people of the 19th-century began to see the relationship between cleanliness and disease prevention, with cleanliness becoming closely tied with a person’s respectability (Davidoff and Hall 2002: 382; Everleigh 2002: 65; Grigg 2008; Halliday 1999: 17). 'Cleanliness, like good manners became an indicator of respectability while dirt and squalor were seen as threats to moral as well as physical health' (Everleigh 2002: 65). Having a full toilet service was therefore highly desirable for 19th-century homes, and would have included items such as the chamber pot (possibly with a cover), large and small wash basins and ewers, a covered soap box with drainer, a covered sponge bowl, a covered toothbrush box or toothbrush vase, a foot bath and many additional extras (Copeland 2000: 24).

The chamber pots excavated from 364-378 Little Lonsdale Street represent the most common hygiene items recovered from 19th-century domestic sites. Chamber pots were stored under the bed or in a nightstand. When looking at the alternative toilet solution of the 19th-century – the water closet – which was located outside the house, the usefulness of the chamber pot is obvious. The chamber pot was a convenient option when needing to use the toilet in the middle of the night as it did not necessitate trudging outside in the cold and dark. In the morning, the pot would be emptied and cleaned and the waste disposed of. But wouldn’t this smell be rather overwhelming when you went back to bed? Yes, strangely enough human waste was no better then, than it is now. In order to minimise odours, chamber pots were usually (but not always) covered with pieces of cloth, newspapers, or a chamber pot lid (as pictured).

364-378 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne toilet wares

Photo 2: chamber pot with lid from 364-378 Little Lonsdale Street (photograph by Grace Stephenson-Gordon, Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants)

REFERENCES
COPELAND, R. 2000: Ceramic Bygones and other unusual domestic pottery. A Shire Book. Great Britain.
DAVIDOFF, L. and C. HALL 2002: "'My own fireside': the creation of the middle-class home." Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class 1780-1850. Revised Edition. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 357-396.
EVELEIGH, D.J. 2002: Bogs, Baths and Basins: The Story of Domestic Sanitation. Stroud, England: Sutton.
GML 2019: 364-378 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Historical Archaeological Research Design. Report to Case Meallin Pty Ltd & ISPT Pty Ltd.
GRIGG, T. 2008: Health & Hygiene in Nineteenth Century England in Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/1615, accessed 02 May 2019.
HALLIDAY, S. 1999: The Great Stink of London: Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the Cleansing of the Victorian Capital. Sutton Publishing Ltd, England.

Author: Alison Frappell

Education and Interpretation Officer, Sydney Harbour YHA and the Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre

Celebrating 25 Years since The Big Dig excavations in 1994, a new documentary titled ‘Archaeology at The Big Dig’ explores how an archaeological site can give special insights into understanding the history of The Rocks and Sydney.

The documentary ‘stars’ many people who are familiar to ASHA members, including Professors Richard Mackay and Grace Karskens, Dr Wayne Johnson and Committee members Helen Nicholson and Alison Frappell.

The documentary will be shown on Monday 27th April 2020 at 4.00pm on SBS One as part of their special public holiday programming. What better way to spend half an hour on a public holiday afternoon under the COVID-19 shutdown?


Following the first broadcast, the documentary will be viewable on the SBS On Demand platform, just in case you miss it first time around.

The documentary was funded through contributions made by guests staying at Sydney Harbor YHA, and created with the film making expertise and collaborative approach of the Art of Multimedia team.

ASHA events
Daniel J. Leahy, University of New England, Armidale, NSW

In late February 2020, two service trenches were dug across Curtis Park, which is located along the Dumaresq Creek in central Armidale, NSW. The trenches are believed to be works associated with the initial developments of a current million-dollar project which will see a section of the park converted into a regional playground (Green 2019). In the process of digging these trenches, numerous historical artefacts – including broken glass, broken ceramics, and iron nails – were removed from their context and strewn across the publicly accessible surface of Curtis Park. This situation mobilised members of the University of New England (UNE) Archaeology Society to volunteer their time to conduct field-walking surveys in early March in an effort to identify and record these artefacts. During this process the risk these artefacts posed to the public (jagged metal/glass/ceramic etc), as well as the risk to the artefacts themselves through surface exposure or trampling, was highlighted and the decision taken to systematically recover the artefacts from the surface of the park.

IMAGE 1 – Front view of Lea & Perrins’ glass bottle stopper that was located on the surface of Curtis Park, Armidale, NSW, March 2020 (M. Zarb).IMAGE 1 – Front view of Lea & Perrins’ glass bottle stopper that was located on the surface of Curtis Park, Armidale, NSW, March 2020 (M. Zarb).

IMAGE  2 – Side view of Lea & Perrins’ glass bottle stopper that was located on the surface of Curtis Park, Armidale, NSW, March 2020 (M. Zarb).IMAGE 2 – Side view of Lea & Perrins’ glass bottle stopper that was located on the surface of Curtis Park, Armidale, NSW, March 2020 (M. Zarb).

European use of the site dates back to about 1846 when John Trim, a former convict , built a store along the North Road near the ford crossing the creek (Gibbs 2019:3). In 1927 the site was named ‘Curtis Park’ after one of Armidale’s prior mayors, William Curtis (1858-1934) (The Armidale Express 13 Dec. 1927:6; Armidale Regional Council 2017). The area was prone to flooding, with damaging floods reported to have occurred in 1863, 1893, and during the early 1950s (The Armidale Express 4 Apr. 1863:2, 14 Mar. 1893:4, 9 Oct. 1950:6), and required subsequent levelling through the import of landfill. In October 2019, a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey of the park was conducted by Professor Martin Gibbs and volunteers from UNE, in collaboration with the Armidale Regional Council, as a student training exercise (Gibbs 2019:2). This survey located a buried compressed surface which, when aligned with historical maps, was interpreted as being the historic North Road, which ran roughly northeast through the park (Gibbs 2019:11-14). Due to these results, and the fact that a number of artefacts were found on the surface of the park during the GPR survey, it was recommended that ‘the area still contains significant archaeological deposits that should be preserved and interpreted’ (Gibbs 2019:14). However, to the best of the author’s knowledge at the time of writing, no formal archaeological consultancy or additional archaeological investigation has been conducted at the site.

One of the artefacts recovered during the March 2020 survey was a - small glass bottle stopper measuring approximately 31mm long and 25mm at its maximum diameter, with the brand name ‘LEA & PERRINS’ embossed on its top. Lea & Perrins was formed in Worcester, England, in 1837 when John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins began selling their newly created Worcestershire Sauce and, by the 1850s, the condiment was being exported to all parts of the British Empire (Lea & Perrins n.d.). Plain corks were initially used to seal the sauce bottles, but by about the 1840s Lea & Perrins adopted a glass stopper with a cork-wrapped shank, which continued to be used until it was replaced by a patented polyethelene pour plug and plastic screw-type closure in the late 1950s (Lunn 1981:3). Today, the sauce continues to be exported to over 130 countries (Lea & Perrins n.d.).

IMAGE 3 – Two styles of Lea & Perrins’ glass stoppers have been located in archaeological contexts at Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan, Canada (reproduced from Lunn 1981:4). The stopper located in Curtis Park is most similar to the style depicted on the right.

IMAGE 3 – Two styles of Lea & Perrins’ glass stoppers have been located in archaeological contexts at Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan, Canada (reproduced from Lunn 1981:4). The stopper located in Curtis Park is most similar to the style depicted on the right.

While a number of other artefacts have been located during the recent field-walking surveys, the Lea & Perrins’ bottle stopper has so far proven to be the most iconic. Once the brand name was read aloud while on site, all those taking part in the exercise immediately understood its connection to the condiment still sold at local supermarkets. The artefact has been robbed of its context through the digging of the service trench, and therefore it is impossible to say whether it is directly related to events which took place at the site in the nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, or whether it was redeposited in landfill when the park was levelled at some point during the mid-late twentieth century. It has, however, given a handful of archaeology students and volunteers a brief glimpse into the past lives of those in Armidale region, while remaining as a tangible connection to the present.

IMAGE 4 – Lea & Perrins’ Worcestershire Sauce available to purchase in an Armidale supermarket, March 2020 (D.J. Leahy).

IMAGE 4 – Lea & Perrins’ Worcestershire Sauce available to purchase in an Armidale supermarket, March 2020 (D.J. Leahy).

Thanks to Dr Mark Moore, Dr James Roberts, Julie Harm, Peter O’Donohue, and Meaghan ‘May’ Zarb for taking part in various aspects of this exercise. Thanks also to Professor Martin Gibbs, Jeanne Harris, and Emma Watt for sharing their expertise and knowledge. It is hoped that a more complete paper documenting the historical artefacts located at Curtis Park will be published in a future volume of Australasian Historical Archaeology.

REFERENCES

THE ARMIDALE EXPRESS

ARMIDALE REGIONAL COUNCIL 2017, ‘William Curtis’, https://www.armidaleregional.nsw.gov.au/our-region/history-and-heritage/mayors-of-the-region/armidale-city-council/william-curtis, accessed 12 March 2020.

GIBBS, M. 2019, Ground Penetrating Radar Survey, Curtis Park, Trim’s Store Site, Armidale. Unpublished report prepared for the Armidale Regional Council, October 2019.

GREEN, S. 2019, ‘Armidale’s Curtis Park super playground a year with little to show’, The Armidale Express, 17 September 2019, https://www.armidaleexpress.com.au/story/6389851/million-dollar-super-playground-hard-to-get-off-the-ground/, accessed 11 March 2020.

LEA & PERRINS n.d., ‘Our story’, Lea & Perrins UK, https://www.leaandperrins.co.uk/our-story, accessed 11 March 2020.

LUNN, K. 1981, ‘Identification and dating of Lea and Perrins’ Worcestershire Sauce bottles on Canadian historic sites: Interpretations past and present’, Canadian Journal of Archaeology 5:1-17.

 

Queen Street umbrella components picture 1 
Queen Street umbrella components picture 2
Author: Bronwyn Woff

Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants

A group of umbrella/parasol fragments were recovered from the site of 1-5 Queen Street, Melbourne (H7822-1871) during excavations undertaken by Extent Heritage in 2018.

The site’s European history (Clark et al. 2019) starts in 1837, beginning with Pitman’s Store (a small building from which Frederick Pittman, a key trader of early Melbourne, ran a store) and a residence set back from the street. This was followed by a candle and soap works factory (Rae, Dickson & Co), which occupied the site from the 1840s to 1872. This factory then demolished, and a new building housing a range of shipping-related businesses was constructed in 1872. In 1911, the building was purchased by the Mercantile Mutual Insurance Company and was used as their Victorian headquarters until the 1950s. In 1955, the building was purchased by Fletcher Jones & Co for a retail store and was used for this purpose until 2011 (Clark et al, 2019).

The artefact collection was catalogued by Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants, and included a total of 6674 artefact fragments. Of particular interest were a group of artefacts excavated from what was interpreted by the excavators as a filtering tank, possibly for lye leeching, which is part of the candle making process. The artefacts recovered from the tank represent a one-off fill event, which most likely occurred at the time of the closing and abandonment of the candle and soap factory and before the new structures were constructed in 1872. The artefacts were probably deposited in the late 1860s or early 1870s, as none of the artefact manufacturing start dates are later than 1870 (Woff, Williamson & Biagi, 2019).

Queen Street umbrella components picture 3

Photo 1: Umbrella/parasol fragments from 1-5 Queen Street, Melbourne (Image supplied: Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants)

The tank context contained an interesting group of artefacts, which included nine fragments of composite umbrella/parasol stretchers (representing eight complete umbrella/parasol stretchers, enough for one complete umbrella/parasol) and three fragments of organic/wooden umbrella ribs, which were round in profile. The context also contained a large quantity (n=278) of textile fragments, which have at least three different weave styles, some of which may be associated with the umbrella/parasol (Woff, Williamson & Biagi, 2019).  

Parts of an umbrella

Photo 2: Parts of an umbrella (Image from: https://www.goinginstyle.com/blogs/news/parts-of-an-umbrella )

Umbrellas are multi-part objects, and a simple umbrella/parasol can include up to 112 different parts (Hooper 2016: 30-31). These parts can be made from a range of materials including, but not limited to: wood, textiles, metals, baleen and ivory (Hooper 2016: 1). Our fragments are comprised of a range of materials. The stretchers are composite, made from iron alloy, copper alloy and a wood-like organic material. The ribs are made from the same wood-like organic material, which may be cane or a similar material. Hooper suggests that baleen “was the primary material used for ribs until 1852” when steel ribs were invented that were much lighter and stronger (2016: 8), however, both materials were shaped to be flat or rectangular in section (Hooper 2016: 8), whereas our fragments are round. The textiles recovered from this context were not obviously related to an umbrella or parasol by style or construction, but some may be associated with the umbrella fragments recovered.

fashion plate

Photo 3: Fashion plate showing umbrella (Image from: https://vintagedancer.com/victorian/lace-victorian-parasol-and-umbrellas-for-sale/ )

The terms umbrella and parasol were used interchangeably in 19th century advertising (Hooper 2016: 24 – 30). These items were seen as “primarily public objects, used to shield their bearers from the elements encountered when venturing outside. These objects function in images as fashionable and practical tools, mediating the relationship between individuals and their rural or urban surroundings” (Hooper 2016: 166). Although the reason for the discard of this object is unknown, this group of artefacts links to ideas of fashion and domestic life, and provides a glimpse in to the fashions of early urban Melbourne in the 1860s.

References:

Clark, C, Douglas, P, Petkov, B & Rubio Perez, R 2019. 1–5 Queen Street, Melbourne (H7822-1871) Historical Archaeological Excavation Report HV #4930. Prepared by Extent Heritage for Hutchinson Builders.

Hooper, R 2016. Out of the shade: uncovering the manufacture and use of umbrellas and parasols, 1830 -1840. Masters Thesis submitted for the University of Delaware.

Woff, B, Williamson, C & Biagi, C 2019, Artefact Report 1 – 5 Queen Street, Melbourne (H7822-1871). Prepared for Extent Heritage

Going in Style 2017, Parts of an umbrella, image, Going In Style, viewed 12 Februaru 2020 < https://www.goinginstyle.com/blogs/news/parts-of-an-umbrella >

Buck, A, 1961, Fashion plate showing umbrella, image, Vintage Dancer, viewd 13 February 2020 < https://vintagedancer.com/victorian/lace-victorian-parasol-and-umbrellas-for-sale/ >

 

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Upcoming Event Short
Richard Morrison, ASHA ACT Representative

This very successful event was held on the morning of 4 May 2019 within the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival. It was the second such symposium partnered with the Canberra Archaeological Society (CAS) - a body established in 1963 (prior to ASHA) to provide a forum for academics, students and members of the public on all types of archaeology. It conducts archaeological projects and monthly lectures.

The Symposium, ‘Contemporary archaeology: How archaeology is practised today’ was held at the prestigious National Museum of Australia with 5 eminent speakers, including one who Skyped-in, and was jointly organised by Richard Morrison of ASHA and Dr Iain Johnston of CAS. The Symposium flyer is available here.

It was advertised in numerous places and was attended by more than 60 people (we had 100 Eventbrite registrations) including the ACT’s Minister for Environment and Heritage, archaeology and heritage students, academics, and a broad cross section of the public.

We opened with a traditional Welcome to Country undertaken by Paul House, a Ngambri man, including a short didgeridoo presentation with some audience participation on clapping sticks.

The symposium introduction presented information on historical archaeology, ASHA and and CAS.

Three speakers, including Emeritus Professor Richard Wright AM (who came out from retirement in Sydney to speak), illustrated their important work in historical archaeology.

Dr Michael Pearson AO discussed the work, including his own, of Australian archaeologists across Antarctica in the context of activity by all nations.He highlighted the issue of a lack of ongoing and current involvement of archaeologists in Mawson’s Hut conservation.

Emeritus Professor Richard Wright AM spoke on his important and sensitive work under difficult circumstances in providing archaeological evidence war crimes trials related to various European conflicts. His paper provided confronting and compelling insights into terrible crimes and the pursuit of those responsible. He also reflected on his more recent key role in identifying 250 Australian soldiers buried in mass graves from WWI at Fromelles, France.

Dr Alice Gorman spoke on her current research into Apollo 11 heritage found at Tranquillity Base on the Moon. In particular, she focussed on the conceptual significance of shadows which have been used both by scientists, to investigate the Moon’s topography and geomorphology, and conspiracy theorists, to attempt to disprove that Apollo 11 ever went to the Moon.Dr Gorman gave her paper (from Adelaide, via Skype) on Space Archaeology and, in so doing, met the Heritage Festival’s theme of Space.

Dave Johnston, Indigenous heritage and archaeological consultant, presented and discussed a video illustrating the story of a positive collaboration between farmers and the Indigenous community concerning an ochre quarry in the Canberra region as shared heritage.

Dr Iain Johnston spoke on his Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies project returning Indigenous cultural heritage. He focussed on an aspect of this project related to an important rock art site at Kakadu and it’s recording through usual techniques and oral histories from the descendants of the creators still connected to the site. This illuminated the most recent repainting, in possibly, a very ancient process of traditional renewal - the site has been dated to about 25,000 years ago.

A Q&A panel concluded the Symposium.

The audience definitely seemed to appreciate the interesting and varied topics, in comments explicitly referring to the astonishing scope and diversity now covered in the broad field of archaeology, including historical archaeology.

The President of CAS, Dr Duncan Wright, congratulated (on behalf of CAS) Iain Johnston and myself ‘for an extremely successful ‘Contemporary Archaeology’ symposium. This included a remarkable array of fascinating presentations - archaeology of mass burials/ war crimes, space archaeology, archaeology of Antarctica, local ACT archaeology, also rock art and repatriation. It was attended by 60+ members of the public (including Senator (sic) Mick Gentleman) and Richard and Iain should be congratulated for how smoothly this went, not to mention their sparkling MCing!’

As an initiative of ASHA to promote historical archaeology and hopefully encourage new memberships in the regions, this was an undoubted success.


Compiled by Richard Morrison, ACT Representative

The protection of Australia's commemorative places and monuments report

This document has been released recently, prepared by the Australian Heritage Council and the Department of the Environment and Energy heritage staff, on the request of the Minister, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, who sought advice on the adequacy of existing legal protections for places and monuments that relate to the early interactions between European explorers and settlers and Australia's Indigenous peoples.  The report finds that the current legislative and policy framework across the country is adequate, but also makes a number of recommendations to allow Australians to further recognise and promote our shared Indigenous and colonial heritage.

The report can be found at https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/4474fb91-bd90-4424-b671-9e2ab9c39cca/files/protection-australia-commemorative-places-monuments.pdf

Re-appointments to the Australian Heritage Council (AHC)

in March 2018 the Minister responsible for the AHC, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, announced that five AHC members were being re-appointed: the Hon Dr Kemp AC (chair), Dr Jane Harrington (historic heritage), Associate Professor Don Garden OAM (historic heritage), Dr Lyndon Ormond-Parker (Indigenous heritage) and Ms Rachel Perkins (Indigenous heritage). They join current members Dr Steve Morton (natural heritage) and Dr Jennie Whinam (natural heritage) on the seven-seat Council.

For further information on these people see http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/organisations/australian-heritage-council/about

Melbourne Domain and Parkland Precinct added to the National Heritage List (NHL)

Also, in March 2018, it was announced that this place had  been added to the NHL after a review of the earlier Emergency Nomination Listing.  It was seen as an iconic part of Melbourne and the place as a whole is a parkland landscape developed and shaped by its historic and on-going function as a rare government domain. The Kings Domain Resting Place within the parklands is also of particular significance because of its association with Australia's national story of the repatriation of Indigenous people's remains.

For further information see: https://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/national/melbourne-domain-parkland-memorial-precinct


Susan Lawrence, Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University

Alister Malcolm Bowen, PhD

7 November 1968-16 May 2018

It is with sadness that we mark the death of Dr Alister Bowen.

Alister graduated with Honours in Archaeology from the ANU in 1999 and then moved to Melbourne where he completed his PhD in at La Trobe University in 2007. His ground-breaking research on Chinese fish curing was based on excavations at Chinaman’s Point, Pt Albert. The work was subsequently published in several journal articles and as Archaeology of the Chinese Fishing Industry in Colonial Australia in the ASHA monograph series, Studies in Australian Historical Archaeology. While a PhD student Alister received the ‘Best Student Paper’ prize for his paper at the 2005 ASHA conference and he later received ASHA’s Maureen Byrne Award for Best PhD Thesis.

Alister believed strongly in the public dissemination of research and worked closely with the local community in Pt Albert to develop a display at the Port Albert Maritime Museum. In documenting the full extent and importance of Chinese fish curing Alister’s work made a significant contribution to the study of the overseas Chinese. Alister worked in commercial archaeology after moving back to Canberra in 2012.

Alister was a fine scholar, valued colleague, and good friend. He is survived by his partner Carol and children Harriet, Hugh and Samm. He will be greatly missed.



Compiled by Blog Editor

Members may be interested in a range of archaeology-related blogs available to access, that can be found no the following link: http://pastthinking.com/links/

Written by Blog Editor

Just two more weeks to go until National Archaeology Week kicks off in Australia! The week begins on 21st May, and there are lots of events happening in and around the week (most are free!) that you can pop in to and spread the word about the wonderful archaeological work going on across the country! For more information, including a calendar of events, see: http://www.archaeologyweek.com/