Brothels, bordellos and bagnios: Sex work in nineteenth-century Melbourne
September 21 @ 8:00 pm - 8:30 pmFree
In nineteenth-century Melbourne there were no supporting pensions and no childcare options, so for many women the solution was sex work. They could work their own hours; they could do it in their own homes and it paid a great deal more than factory or domestic work. But deserted wives and mothers were not the only women who turned to sex work for a living.
In this talk Barbara Minchinton will follow the stories of some of the women of Little Lon, Melbourne’s premier sex work precinct in the nineteenth century. These stories give some insight into the social conditions of the time and challenge the idea of sex workers as poverty-stricken outcasts living on the margins of society.
Barbara Minchinton’s new book, The Women of Little Lon published by La Trobe University Press in conjunction with Black Inc. was launched on 18 August 2021.
Barbara Minchinton completed her PhD on nineteenth century land selection in the Otways, Victoria, at the University of Melbourne in 2011. Since then she has been working with archaeologists on Victoria’s post-1835 history, collaborating on digs in Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura and Melbourne without leaving her office. She is an independent researcher and a volunteer at Public Record Office Victoria.