Behind the glittering ‘Marvellous Melbourne’ of the 1880s was another colonial metropolis of ‘low life’: crowded slums, street life, pollution, corruption and inadequate infrastructure.
EXPLORE the city centre’s history and ancient infrastructure invisible to most modern Melburnians: old typographies, former factories, sly grog shops, warehouses, stables, pipes, underworld portholes, bluestone, sanitation traps, hydraulic plates, timber guards, horse troughs and outhouses.
TRAVEL the fascinating maze of inner city lanes.
LEARN about the outcasts on the street: Madam Brussell’s ‘celestials’, musicians, oyster sellers, opium dens, washing women, con men, gangsters and politicians on the take.
ENTER our 1880 world of outcasts in the role of a lowly sanitation worker working the lanes system. We are just seeking to make an honest wage!
COMPETE to earn your Dunny License and a great career.
TRAIN in the Dunny arts and skills on an 1880s sanitation crew. Successful members will graduate with a Dunny License and a great career. ‘
Where we go: About 20-30 lanes starting at Flinders Lane via Desgraves and Manchester Lanes, north to the former Coles Book Arcade and the Bourke Street Mall, then east into the myriad back lanes of Chinatown towards Exhibition Street.
SEE – BOOKINGS AND PRICES – FOR INDIVIDUALS, GROUPS AND SCHOOLS
‘Congratulations. Your application for a trainee as a member of a newly formed sanitation crew, servicing the lanes of Marvellous Smellboom’ in 1884, has been accepted!
To gain your full licence, you must however be one of the elite that pass our training session today . But don’t’ despair! We provide you with expert training in both dangers and dunnyskills. Pay close attention. Some of you will graduate today with a real dunnymans licence and a fabulous career. Others will fail.
The first hour we train in Toffsville the wealthy fashion and shopping district. In the second hour we move to Slumsville or Little Lon and Chinatown and put your training into practice. You will be tested. You will also be trained to recognise the other outcasts working the streets. We need them badly. They provide us with our day jobs. We share the lanes with them. Their carts provide us with food, light and heat.
You will work in two competing teams each with your own foreperson. There is the Number One’s Team and Number Two’s team. Your mission is to count dunny traps, dunny pipes and outhouses. The winning team will have the highest score. The lane system is growing rapidly and the last crew was sacked for missing too many dunnies.
Do not miss any. Don’t get lost.Do not fail. Remember you have eleven hungry bairns at home! So up with your cans and on with your shift.’
Further Reading about Melbourne’s history