Little Lon district

40 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 3000

“The Little Lon district in Melbourne CBD’s north-east corner, where the “dressed girls” were kitted out and lived in the “flash brothels” under the supervision of madams, and the less expensive street-walkers took their customers to the “short-time houses” and timber cottages in the back lanes.

Perhaps the most famous inhabitant of this patch was Madame Brussels and her Bellevue-Villa, still commemorated today with a bar of the same name on Bourke Street.

Clientele came from everywhere and every class, but proximity to the all-male enclave of Parliament and treasury was a distinct advantage for these fancy brothels.

The area has been extensively excavated by a series of archaeological projects over the last 30 years, and our recent intensive research on the artefacts recovered (held at Museum Victoria and Heritage Victoria) is revealing much more about the brothels and the women who owned them that had disappeared from memory.”1

ABC News: Sex and the sisterhood: How prostitution worked in 19th-century Melbourne 1

Museums Victoria: Little Lon Collection