Night-soil or sanitary pan used for collection of toilet wastes. Also known as a nightman's pan. Nightsoil pans similar to this were widely used in many of Melbourne's suburbs prior to the construction Spotswood Pumping Station and the first sections of the Melbourne's underground sewerage system in the 1890s and early 1900s. Because sewers were only gradually extended to outer suburbs often years or decades after they were first developed night-soil pans continued to be used in many areas as an alternative to septic tanks or for temporary toilets such as those provided on building sites.

Nightsoil collection was usually the responsibility of local municipal councils, with the Melbourne & Metropolitan Board of Works establishing and managing a depot at Brooklyn where contractors took the nightsoil pans for emptying and washing. The Brooklyn depot discharged its waste directly into the Werribee Outfall Sewer. During the early 1900s, the Board of Works also operated a farm at Campbellfield with nightsoil was delivered and ploughed into the pasture as a fertilizer.

Physical Description

Painted metal sanitary pan with lid. The pan is cylindrical in shape and has a metal handle on each side. There is a black rubber seal around the lid of the pan.

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