Little Lon and the Fallen Women of Marvellous Melbourne
Deemed ‘loose’ and culpable for crimes of social evil, the women of Little Lonsdale Street involved in the vice market remained tainted in the eyes of society for the remainder of their lives. The true story of the Melbourne’s ‘fallen women’ has remained untold, or at least hidden behind social prejudices of the past. Their occupation and locality would forever haunt them and render them outcasts of society.
The Little Lon project offers a series of ceramic and glass objects that are inspired by the lives of these women living in Melbourne’s most notorious red light district of the 19th century. The project seeks to reclaim part of these women’s lives that was lost to the extreme prejudices of the period, namely their loss of innocence, integrity and freedom. Centred on the dichotomous identity possessed by these women – the lives they were believed to lead, and the reality of their situation – the collection seeks to reclaim part of their identities that have been lost throughout history.
Design as narrative, semiotic and semantic explorations used throughout the design process provide integral areas of study for the investigative and explorative work conducted. The collection focuses on the distinct contrast between sociocultural understandings of the Victorian era and the fallen women. Their dichotomous identities juxtapose the innocence and morality of the genteel woman with the immoral depiction of the women of the vice market. The series of objects created utilises particular visual language to generate the narrative of the fallen women of Little Lon, to convey their story, and reveal a very different reality of their everyday lives.