Material Culture: Stories from Objects

Aust Heritage Festival organisers 

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This seminar was fully booked. Many in the audience sent out tweets during and after the presentations. The tweets have been assembled in a storyline - see here:

Note that, sadly, Storify will cease to operate after 16 May 2018 - so the above link won't work after that date.

As a longer-term alternative, click HERE to download the Storify version as a PDF.


The two presenters were interviewed for the ABC Radio National program, Life Matters. The interview was broadcast on 10 May 2018. Click HERE to access the program webpage (including images of the objects discussed).


We live in a material world, as the songs say, but decoding the objects of the past is not always straightforward. In this seminar, two leading practitioners reflect on the stories they have teased from objects.

Sarah Hayes is a prominent historical archaeologist who researches quality of life and social mobility in 19th-century Victoria through the lives, homes and rubbish of everyday people. She is a Senior Research Fellow in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University and has a passion for making archaeological collections more visible. Margaret Anderson is a senior museum historian with a specialist interest in women’s history. Sarah and Margaret are collaborating on a new exhibition for the Old Treasury Building, Gold in Victoria: 20 Objects, 20 Stories.

The discussion will be chaired by Margaret Birtley, Executive Officer of the History Council of Victoria and experienced museum consultant.

Please book your seat at this free event by clicking the RSVP button at the foot of this page.

Update, 5 March 2018: This event is filling up fast. If you see a 'Sold Out' message instead of the RSVP button, you are welcome to join the waitlist by sending an email request to: [email protected]

This seminar is an event in the 2018 Australian Heritage Festival, organised by the National Trusts of Australia.

With thanks to our sponsors, Monash University Publishing and the Monash University History Program:

Monash University Publishing   Monash University History Program 

and the organising partners:

Old Treasury Building     Monash University History Program      HCV

The seminar is part of an ongoing series, Making Public Histories, that is offered jointly by the Monash University History Program, the History Council of Victoria and the Old Treasury Building. Each seminar aims to explore issues and approaches in making public histories. The seminars are open, free of charge, to anyone interested in the creation and impact of history in contemporary society. Click HERE to learn about other events in the series.

Alarming Prospect - by Leech

Zealous Gold Diggers by artist S T GillSly Grog Shanty by artist S T GillDigger's Wedding in Melbourne by artist S T Gill

The upper work, Alarming Prospect: Single Ladies off to the Diggings, 1853, is by artist John Leech.

The remaining three works are by artist S T Gill: 'Zealous gold diggers', 'Sly grog shanty' and 'Digger's wedding in Melbourne'.

All images are from the collections of State Library Victoria.



May 08, 2018 at 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Old Treasury Building
20 Spring St
East Melbourne, Victoria 3002
Google map and directions
Margaret Birtley · · 0418 814 957

Who's RSVPing

Jill Wheeler
Claire Rioult
Kevin Molloy
Alexander Potocnik
Gillian Bowen
Zachary Kendal
melanie thorn
Mia Goodwin
Kimberley Meagher
Holly Parker
Alistair Thomson
Clare O'Hanlon
Ramona Angelico
Jane Watson
Katrina Nicolson
Paul Roser
Keith Gaff
Ainsley Thompson
Jon Crosbie
Emma Russell
Alannah Croom
Hannah Viney
Angela Hill
Tony Williams
Kylie Best
Alexandra Gerner
Amelia Marra
Judith Smart
Sorry, this event is sold out.

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  • Jill Wheeler
    rsvped 2018-03-06 17:17:19 +1100
  • Claire Rioult
    rsvped 2018-03-06 14:34:49 +1100
  • Kevin Molloy
    rsvped 2018-03-06 12:30:50 +1100
  • Alexander Potocnik
    rsvped 2018-03-05 15:13:55 +1100
  • Gillian Bowen
    rsvped 2018-03-05 10:31:22 +1100
  • Zachary Kendal
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  • melanie thorn
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  • Mia Goodwin
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  • Kimberley Meagher
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  • Holly Parker
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  • Alistair Thomson
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  • Clare O'Hanlon
    rsvped 2018-03-04 11:11:34 +1100
  • Ramona Angelico
    rsvped 2018-03-03 12:54:40 +1100
  • Jane Watson
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  • Katrina Nicolson
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  • Paul Roser
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  • Keith Gaff
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  • Ainsley Thompson
    rsvped 2018-03-02 15:48:40 +1100
  • Jon Crosbie
    rsvped 2018-03-02 15:43:47 +1100
  • Emma Russell
    rsvped 2018-03-02 15:35:00 +1100
  • Alannah Croom
    rsvped 2018-03-02 15:30:13 +1100
  • Hannah Viney
    rsvped 2018-03-02 10:11:17 +1100
  • Angela Hill
    rsvped 2018-02-28 20:45:45 +1100
  • Tony Williams
    rsvped 2018-02-20 15:54:24 +1100
  • Kylie Best
    rsvped 2018-02-15 22:48:07 +1100
  • Alexandra Gerner
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  • Amelia Marra
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  • Judith Smart
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  • Mícheál O'Dhonnabháin
    posted about this on Facebook 2018-02-06 11:11:28 +1100
    I'll be at Material Culture: Stories from Objects
  • Mícheál O'Dhonnabháin
    @PMFDonovan tweeted link to this page. 2018-02-06 11:11:19 +1100
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