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[DATE & TIME T.B.A.] Brothels, bordellos and bagnios: Sex work in nineteenth-century Melbourne

October 31


Date and time still to be confirmed.

If your husband left you with young children, no money and no job, what would you do? If you were an unmarried mother with no family to turn to, and no work available where you could take a child, how would you survive?

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.

Following the stories of some of the women of Little Lon – Melbourne premier sex work precinct in the nineteenth century – gives some insight into the social conditions of the time, and challenges the idea of sex workers as poverty-stricken outcasts living on the margins of society.

Dr Minchinton completed her PhD on nineteenth century land selection in Victoria. She is currently working with Sarah Hayes on the people of Little Lon, in nineteenth century Melbourne.


North Melbourne Library
66 Errol Street
North Melbourne, Victoria 3051 Australia