Sex workers in nineteenth-century Melbourne were judged morally corrupt by the respectable world around them. But theirs was a thriving trade, with links to the police and political leaders of the day, and the leading brothels were usually managed by women.
While today a city lane is famously named after Madame Brussels, the identities of the other ‘flash madams’, the ‘dressed girls’ who worked for them and the hundreds of women who solicited on the streets of the Little Lon district of Melbourne are not remembered.
Who were they? What did their daily lives look like? What became of them? Drawing on the findings of recent archaeological excavations, rare archival material and family records, historian Barbara Minchinton brings the fascinating world of Little Lon to life.