Inside the Collection

Christmas is the time for tipping….

Printed poem 'With the Compliments of the Season'
Collection, Powerhouse Museum

In the lead up to Christmas we are reminded by many causes and charities to remember those “less fortunate”.

This Christmas card in our collection from the “Sanitary Man” (c.1950) reminds his customers of the nature of his service in its appeal for tips.

Our nightly toil is hard to bear,
With odour from the pans,
Yet Christmas time it gives us cheer,
For tips will come to hand.

A small army of sanitary carters or “Dunny Men” operated in the days before flushing toilets and sewerage were common place.  People had outdoor toilets with a seat constructed over a removable sanitary pan and on a regular basis – usually weekly – the full sanitary pan was taken away and replaced with an empty one. This is the job of the sanitary carter or “dunny man”.

Traditionally the “dunny man” operated out of sight in the small hours of the morning and along the back lane, but at Christmas it was time to remind people to be generous!

Lynne McNairn

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