SAHA 4 | An Archaeology of Institutional Confinement: The Hyde Park Barracks, 1846-1886

Publication cover

An Archaeology of Institutional Confinement: The Hyde Park Barracks, 1846-1886, Peter Davies, Penny Crook and Tim Murray, 2014

Studies in Australasian Historical Archaeology 4

The archaeological assemblage from the Hyde Park Barracks is one of the largest, most comprehensive and best preserved collections of artefacts from any 19th-century institution in the world.

Concealed for up to 160 years in the cavities between floorboards and ceilings, the assemblage is a unique archaeological record of institutional confinement, especially of women.

The underfloor assemblage dates to the period 1848 to 1886, during which a female Immigration Depot and a Government Asylum for Infirm and Destitute Women occupied the second and third floors of the Barracks.

Over the years the women discarded and swept beneath the floor thousands of clothing and textile fragments, tobacco pipes, religious items, sewing equipment, paper scraps and numerous other objects, many of which rarely occur in typical archaeological deposits.

These items are presented in detail in this book, and provide unique insight into the private lives of young female migrants and elderly destitute women, most of whom will never be known from historical records.

About the authors

Peter Davies is a research assistant in the Department of Archaeology and History at La Trobe University. He is the author of Henry’s Mill: The Historical Archaeology of a Forest Community (2006) and coauthor (with Susan Lawrence) of An Archaeology of Australia Since 1788 (2011). He also co-edits the journal Australasian Historical Archaeology.

Penny Crook is a Discovery Early Career Researcher in the Department of Archaeology and History at La Trobe University. She is co-author (with Tim Murray) of An Archaeology of Institutional Refuge: The Material Culture of the Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney, 1848-1886 (2006) and other titles of Sydney’s historical archaeology.

Tim Murray is Charles La Trobe Professor of Archaeology at La Trobe University. His most recent books include Milestones in Archaeology (ABC-Clio, 2007), co-editor with C. Evans Histories of Archaeology: A Reader in the History of Archaeology (Oxford University Press, 2008), co-editor with C. Smith Caring for Our Collections: Papers from the Symposium ‘Developing Sustainable, Strategic Collection Management Approaches for Archaeological Assemblages’ (Museum Victoria, 2011), and co-editor with A. Schnapp, L. von Falkenhausen and P. Miller World Antiquarianism: Comparative Perspectives (Getty Research Institute, 2013).