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ASHA NEWS

Written by AHA Editors

A reminder that submissions to Australasian Historical Archaeology are due on 31 March.  We welcome original articles and short reports about historical archaeology in Australasia and the wider region. Please see the website for more information.

If you would like to contribute but need more time please contact us before the deadline to discuss options (email: editor@asha.org.au).

Regards,
Annie Clark, Penny Crook, James Flexner & Sarah Hayes
Editors
Australasian Historical Archaeology



Written by Nadia Bajzelj

Excavations at the Wesley Church precinct were carried out by Dr. Vincent Clark and Associates in 2017, a site which is located between Lonsdale and Little Lonsdale streets in the Melbourne CBD. The residences at Jones Lane were brick houses with bluestone footings, ranging in size from two to four rooms.

This month’s ‘Artefact of the Month’ was found in one of the residences along Jones Lane, which ran between Lonsdale and Little Lonsdale streets. This masonic stickpin, which is a decorative pin used to secure men’s cravats or neck ties. Stickpins generally date from the early 19th century, and though the date for this one is still being pinned down, it is dated to broadly between the late 19th and early 20th century.

This stick pin is 76mm in length and is made from copper alloy, delicately shaped in twisted ropes around a clear oval piece of glass. The glass has a thin veneer of shell over the top, cut into the Masonic symbol of a square and compass. The motif is interesting as our background research on the site shows a number of different businesses, but none related to stone masons. The analysis of the artefacts from the site is still in progress, so our knowledge of the site at this stage is still preliminary, but we hope that we can research the inhabitants of this residence and identify any members of the Masonic Lodge.

For more information see: http://vincentclark.com.au/2017/05/jones-lane-historical-archaeology/



Compiled by Blog Editor

The iconic Flinders Street Railway Station in Melbourne has recently undergone renewal works. In order to determine the original colour of the buildling, conservators have tested the layers of original paint. During 2017 the building was wrapped in scaffolding and re-painted, and has recently been revealed to the public. Works are also taking place on the interior of the building, including Ball Room. For more information and images see: www.timeout.com/melbourne/blog



Bronwyn Woff

This month’s Artefact of the Month an interesting looking bulk ink bottle with multiple impressed marks found on its body and base. This bottle was found on a historic excavation in the north of Melbourne’s CBD. It was excavated during works for a multi-story apartment building, from a c1850s+ light industrial site.


The ink bottle is made from stoneware, with a light brown salt glaze, and has an unusual square-shaped finish and spout. It stands 205mm tall, and has a diameter of 90mm. The bottle is well marked, with two makers marks (17 / DOULTON / LAMBETH and 3 / DOULTON / LAMBETH) on the base and on the body near the base respectively, as well as a registration diamond (IV / 28 / 9 Rd V / W) representing 28 March 1876 on the body near the base.

The two Doulton / Lambeth marks on the base and body of the bottle indicate that it was made by Doulton & Co. The company began as a partnership in the early 1800s, and worked from a pottery in Lambeth. From 1854 the company became Doulton and Co, and began using marks similar to those seen on this artefact. The company was granted a Royal Warrant in 1901, and from 1902 began adding ‘Royal’ to their mark, as well as a crown and lion (http://thepotteries.org/allpotters/356.htm).


Registration diamond marks such as these were used to denote that the design of an object, or the design of the decoration (for example, ceramic or textile patterns) were copyrighted to the designer. The diamond itself notes the date that the registration occurred, and therefore marks only a start date for that object. For more information on registration diamonds on ceramics, see A. Brooks An Archaeological Guide to British Ceramics in Australia 1788-1901 2005:74 which was published by The Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology and The La Trobe University Archaeology Program (although out-of-print, the complete book is available as a download for all current ASHA members through the members portal HERE).



Compiled by Richard Morrison

Of relevance to members,from the Heritage Branch, Department of the Environment (Cwlth), the Abbotsford Convent, Yarra City, (Vic) and the Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct, (NSW), have been added to the National Heritage List (NHL) in the last few months.

Abbotsford Convent For more than 100 years the Convent, provided shelter, food, education and work for tens of thousands of women and children who experienced poverty, neglect and social disadvantage. Run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd from 1863 to 1974, the Convent’s harsh conditions and hours of long work offered few comforts but provided shelter for desperate women and girls through the great Depression, two World Wars and other social upheavals.

Abbotsford Convent shows the role of religious and charitable institutions in Australia’s social and welfare history during the 19th and 20th centuries. The Convent’s asylum laundry is a rare surviving example of its type within Australia, reflecting the social attitudes of the time. For further information see http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/national/abbotsford-convent

Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct From 1821 onwards, tens of thousands of women and children passed through this place in the care and custody of the state. The Precinct, which housed female convicts, orphaned children, and vulnerable girls and young women, is considered a leading example of a site which demonstrates Australia’s social welfare history.

Institutionalisation was a core part of Australia’s welfare system over two centuries, and the Precinct is outstanding in its capacity to tell the stories of women and children in institutions over the course of Australian history. It includes a rare surviving example of a convict female factory, and offers us the opportunity to find out even more about convicts experiences as a potential source of future archaeological finds. See http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/national/parramatta-female-factory-and-institutions-precinct

Australia’s National Heritage List - the story so far by Australian Heritage Council (2017) - The NHL is now considered to be at a stage of development that the ‘remarkable story of our unique country is emerging with some clarity and impact’. This recent book, tells the stories of the places on the current list, and setting them in their wider context, and is intended to assist us to appreciate the nature of the journey so far, pointing towards ‘a future defined by the aspirations of the descendants of the continent’s first peoples and by the hopes and dreams of those who have come to live here from every country in the world’. See http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/ahc/publications/australias-national-heritage-list         



AACAI Victorian Chapter

The Victorian Chapter of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. invites you to celebrate the end of year with us. Join us for canapés and drinks at Hotel Spencer Bar & Grill at 475 Spencer Street, Melbourne on Friday 1 December, 6:30pm start. RSVP details to come.



Bronwyn Woff

Excavations of the Harrietville Chinese Mining site are currently being undertaken in Victoria's gold field region. The one of the project's staff members, Melissa Dunk, is putting together regular blog posts on her wordpress site called Overseas Chinese Archaeology. The blog can be found here: https://oschinesearch.wordpress.com/ and contains updates on the excavations and the behind the scenes activities.



Zvonka Stanin

These trousers are some of the more complete textiles items recovered during the 2017 Alpha Archaeology excavation of the former Carlton United Brewery (CUB2) complex in Swanston Street, Carlton. When excavated, they appeared to be sandwiched between wooden floor boards and a mid-19th century cesspit deposit. Their original condition, was described by the CUB2 conservator Jeff Fox as a ‘mass of unidentified textile covered in mud. Unable to determine form/shape’.


The conservation process which included wet cleaning, immersion by an ultrasonic bath, and freeze drying, separated the textile mass into a more recognisable pattern of garment components. These include front and back ‘trouser’ panels with folded edges that appeared to have been once stitched and before being unpicked. All the major panels appear to be made of a coarse brown and black cotton or wool material, woven tightly on the weft. Thick, horizontal lines are barely apparent on each panel; whether this fading is due to use or taphonomic conditions has yet to be determined. Button holes and matching button imprints on different pieces confirm that the trousers were once more complete.


By tracing individual fragments to create a working canvas mock-up, we were able to show how the trouser panels were placed together, with a front ‘panel’ buttoning onto an underlying waistband which was also buttoned, most likely by four-hole sew through bone or wooden buttons which were common types at the CUB2. The back panel creates exceptional room, in a fit that is otherwise tall and slim, and a good example of the style of construction not commonly discussed in Australian archaeological literature: the ‘fall front‘, ‘drop front fall’, ‘flap pants’ style of men’s pants. The style is understandably associated with convenience; the pattern allows the ‘fall’ to be opened without necessarily unfastening the waistband (or ‘drop your trousers’). A narrower version of the fall (narrow fall) seems to have been the dominant style for breeches, pantaloons, trousers, and overalls from the French Revolution (1790) until the 1840s, when the centre button closure became more common. The ‘broad fall’ style of the CUB2 example, where the ‘fall’ stretches from hip to hip, may have been introduced later (http://www.northwestjournal.ca/VI6, sourced 10/10/2017, but see the Met pants below).


Analysis of the CUB2 trousers so far hints at a manifold significance. The combination of the ‘broad fall’ style and striped fabric appears to have few publicly known comparisons (see for example, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/79497?rpp=20&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Trousers&pos=17, sourced 10/10/2017). The striped design is reminiscent of the popular taste for patterns in ‘gentleman’s’ fashion of the 1850s and early 1860s, the period that coincides with the Victorian gold rush; and all that it entails. It counters any expectations of ‘dullness’ and ‘conformity’, typical of the latter 19th and early 20th century city clothing for men - all dark colours and creased trousers - and even widens the gaze past those numerous S. T. Gills’ paintings, with their whimsy neckerchiefs at the centre. Can the paintings tell us what kind of man wore these? Broader fashion discourse tells us to ‘go easy’. Through the interplay of economic wealth, and contact between large numbers of people of different classes, social or other standing during this period, fashion became much less of a marker of status than previously known; or than continued in England or Europe (Maynard 1994). The trousers do indicate care and re-use, through the effort it would have taken to unpick all the seams and button holes, which may suggest that both the pattern and material continued to be important.

The brief mock-up experiment was a collaborative effort between Allison Bruce (La Trobe), Olivia Arnold (UNE), Felicity Buckingham and myself. The latter can be contacted on felicitybuckingam@yahoo.com or zstanin50@gmail.com

Images by Z Stanin:
1 Trouser fabric recovered in association with cesspit deposits from CUB2. The right half shows the back of the trousers most completely.
2 The front trouser panels, with the blue marker showing the position of the button holes.
3 The front trouser panels, not including the lining for the ‘fall’ (see image 1). Note that the pockets were more likely under the ‘fall’ as in image 2.

References:
Maynard, Margaret 1994, Fashioned from penury: dress as cultural practice in colonial Australia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge [England]; New York
http://www.northwestjournal.ca/VI6, sourced 10/10/2017.
https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/79497?rpp=20&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Trousers&pos=17, sourced 10/10/2017



Bronwyn Woff

A resident of Maffra, VIC has recently been interviewed by the ABC network as an interest story on his collection of C20th century electronics. The early kettles (numbering between 1,500 and 2000), radios and other appliances and collectables are on display throughout his home, which he regularly opens for tours by interested groups.

For more information, see: www.abc.net.au/news



National Trust of Australia (Vic)

On Saturday 28 October, the Greater Shepparton City Council and their Heritage Advisory Committee will be hosting an open day. The day aims to create awareness and understanding of the Greater Shepparton diverse and unique range of heritage places. There are three ways to visit the sites: bus tours, walking tours and independent visiting.


This free event will take place from 10am to 4pm at various sites across the Council, for more details see: www.greatershepparton.com.au