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

Paul Michael Donovan
Rebecca Grant
Katherine Sheedy
Lucy Bracey
Ashley Robertson
Barbara Minchinton
Samantha Courtier
Caitlin Mitropoulos
Amber Evangelista
Mary Sheehan
Justin Croft
Sorry, this event is sold out.

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  • Paul Michael Donovan
    rsvped 2018-02-06 11:09:29 +1100
  • Rebecca Grant
    rsvped 2018-02-05 16:27:12 +1100
  • Katherine Sheedy
    rsvped 2018-02-05 09:42:24 +1100
  • Lucy Bracey
    rsvped 2018-02-05 09:27:50 +1100
  • Ashley Robertson
    rsvped 2018-01-31 11:34:09 +1100
  • Barbara Minchinton
    rsvped 2018-01-30 11:44:01 +1100
  • Samantha Courtier
    rsvped 2018-01-18 11:06:37 +1100
  • Caitlin Mitropoulos
    rsvped 2018-01-15 09:40:05 +1100
  • Amber Evangelista
    rsvped 2018-01-13 20:44:08 +1100
  • Mary Sheehan
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  • Justin Croft
    rsvped 2018-01-12 16:23:48 +1100
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