To examine gender in Late Victorian Brisbane, I analyse an assemblage excavated by Niche Heritage from South Brisbane in 2019 and now held by the Queensland Museum Network. I focus upon the ceramics and leather shoes present within the assemblage and investigate the implications of an investigation of an archaeological refuse assemblage for gender in Late Victorian South Brisbane. I argue it is indeed possible to engender such an assemblage by examining the construction of gender, with respect to women, through a Feminist, Agency-centric perspective. After outlining a brief history of the intersection of Feminism and Agency with archaeology, with respect to Late Victorian Queensland, I then overview the Late Victorian cultural context and my methodologies, which synthesise archaeological and historic sources, which include interviews, newspaper articles and the 1901 diary of a teenage girl, Dorothy Leslie. I then discuss my results, and finally, I conclude that it is indeed possible to engender a refuse assemblage, on the level of a community. While my results largely affirm existing research, they demonstrate the agency of women, and how gender roles were constructed, performed, and replicated in Late Victorian Brisbane.  

About the Presenter

Ethan Clark-Kistowski is a postgraduate student at the University of Queensland and a historical research assistant at Converge Heritage. He graduated from the University of Queensland with a Dual Arts/Science Degree in 2021 (with extended majors in Ancient History and Archaeological Science). In his University of Queensland Archaeological Science Honours in 2022, he examined the constriction of gender in Late Victorian South Brisbane using a refuse deposit, and a combination of feminist and agency theory. Having graduated Honours in 2023, he is now examining the gender and agency of professional Hellenistic women of the Aegean Sea in a Master of Philosophy at the University of Queensland. His research interests include gender studies, feminist archaeology and reception studies generally, and especially those examining the Victorian and Hellenistic periods.  

About Archaeology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Archaeology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of archaeological research and ideas amongst UQ archaeology students and staff. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment. It is hoped that anyone interested in current archaeological directions, both within and outside the School and University, will be able to attend and contribute to the series.


443; Michie Building (9)