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Casselden Place

Casselden Place leads south from Little Lonsdale Street towards Lonsdale Street, between Exhibition and Spring streets. In 1850, the lane primarily contained domestic and commercial buildings. This remained the case up until 1920, when the only non-residential building was a bellows manufacturer. Because of the unsanitary conditions in Melbourne laneways, laneway residences generally housed the lower classes. The conditions in Casselden place were described in a report by the Assistant Inspector of Nuisances, Edward Thunderbolt, in 1891.

I visited the premises occupied by K Rahirnbux at 8 Casseldean Street where I found two overflowing Privy Pans in a most filthy state yesterday 9th inst. I have cautioned the same man on the 3rd inst about the same class of nuisance then, when I informed Mr K Rahirnbux how to abate the nuisance and that he may be summoned if he did not abate the same on the 3rd inst I counted 33 men on the same premises and yesterday 29 men on the same premises all Indians.

In 1911, the lane was known to supply sly grog (that is, to sell alcohol with no licence). Casselden Place was cleared for construction of the Commonwealth Offices in 1988, but before the new skyscraper was erected, archaeologists and volunteers unearthed a great variety of domestic and industrial artifacts in the laneway. Some of the brick cottages of the 1870s still stand in Casselden Place, with historical installations describing their previous occupants. Casselden Place now connects to Lonsdale Street via the restaurant and café-lined pedestrian walkway known as Madame Brussels Lane.

Edwina Byrne

The Argus, 23 February 1911, p. 8. Details
Sands & McDougall’s commercial and general Melbourne directory, Sands & McDougall, Melbourne, 1920. Details
'Central Melbourne - Lanes C-D', in Amendment C105 - CBD Laneways Review, City of Melbourne, 2007, http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/info.cfm?top=195&pg=3065&bp=1902&coll=8. Details
Bate, Weston, Essential but unplanned: The story of Melbourne's lanes, State Library of Victoria and the City of Melbourne, Melbourne, 1994. Details
Unit 674, no. 3265; VPRS 3181/P000, City of Melbourne Town Clerk's Files Series 1; Public Record Office Victoria, Victorian Archives Centre. Details