Profile image of Sarah Hayes

Dr Sarah Hayes



Senior Research Fellow


Faculty of Arts and Education


Alfred Deakin Institute


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Sarah Hayes is a material culture researcher working primarily within the People, Place, Heritage stream of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation.  Her work spans Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, Archaeology and History with particular interest in the Gold Rush, consumerism and identity, the production of waste and waste infrastructure, women’s history, childhood and orphanages/care homes. She also collaborates with organisations like Museums Victoria and the Old Treasury Building to deliver exhibitions.

Her current research for her Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award examines the role possessions play in quality of life and social mobility, and in turn opportunity, inequality and wastefulness in Victoria utilising collections from Museums Victoria and Heritage Victoria. This project will also look at similarities and differences in cultural values between the Gold Rush cities of Melbourne, Bendigo, San Francisco, Sacramento and Dunedin.

Sarah is also currently involved in two projects focusing on orphanages and children’s homes:

  • The Material Culture of the Geelong Orphan Asylum
  • Places of trauma and healing? Managing the heritage of orphanages and care homes.

For an introduction to her work read her Conversation articles Sex and the sisterhood: how prostitution worked for women in 19th-century Melbourne and Gold Rush Victoria was as wasteful as we are today.

Read more on Sarah's profile

Research interests

Material culture studies; urban life; consumerism; Gold Rushes; social mobility; quality of life; women’s history; childhood; archaeological collections management


  • Honorary Associate, Museum Victoria
  • Member, Australian Museums and Galleries Association
  • Member, Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology

Professional activities

Sarah is HDR Co-ordinator for the Alfred Deakin Institute, co-editor of the Australasian Historical Archaeology journal, honorary associate with Museum Victoria and member of the Archaeology Advisory Committee for Heritage Victoria.

Media appearances

Sarah has contributed to articles in the Age, Herald Sun and ABC News including Tidying is Timeless: Victorians decluttered 150 years ago in the Herald Sun and First Photo of Madame Brussels, the red-light queen of 1880s Melbourne in the Age.

A selection of interviews can be found here.


Filter by


Brothels and sex workers: variety, complexity and change in nineteenth-century Little Lon, Melbourne

B Minchinton, S Hayes

(2020), Vol. 51, pp. 165-183, Australian historical studies, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

Managing Difficult Heritage at Kildonan/ Allambie: The heritage values of former orphanages and children's homes

Steven Cooke, Sarah Hayes, Edwina Kay, Antony Catrice

(2020), Vol. 32, pp. 28-43, Historic Environment, Melbourne, VIc., C1

journal article

Diversity and change in Little Lon: ongoing historical and archaeological research

S Hayes, Barbara Minchinton

(2019), Vol. 7, pp. 103-115, The commonwealth block, Melbourne: a historical archaeology, Sydney, N.S.W., B1

book chapter

Pursuing the Comparative Analysis of Gold Rush Lives by Tracing Material and Quality-of-Life Trajectories

S Hayes

(2019), Vol. 23, pp. 678-709, International Journal of Historical Archaeology, C1

journal article

The Commonwealth Block: A Historical Archaeology

Tim Murray, Kristal Buckley, S Hayes, Geoff Hewitt, Justin McCarthy, Richard Mackay, Barbara Minchinton, Charlotte Smith, Jeremy Smith, Bronwyn Woff

(2019), Sydney, N.S.W., A7

edited book

A golden opportunity: Mayor Smith and Melbourne's emergence as a global city

S Hayes

(2018), Vol. 22, pp. 100-116, International journal of historical archaeology, New York, N.Y., C1

journal article

Cesspit formation processes and waste management history in Melbourne: evidence from Little Lon

S Hayes, B Minchinton

(2016), Vol. 82, pp. 12-24, Australian archaeology, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

A doomed business: the material culture of Ann Jones and the Glenrowan Inn

S Hayes

(2014), Vol. 32, pp. 37-46, Australasian historical archaeology : journal of the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology, North Parramatta, N.S.W., C1-1

journal article

Amalgamation of archaeological assemblages: experiences from the Commonwealth Block project, Melbourne

S Hayes

(2011), Vol. 73, pp. 13-24, Australian archaeology, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

Gentility in the dining and tea service practices of early colonial Melbourne's 'established middle class'

S Hayes

(2011), Vol. 29, pp. 33-44, Australasian historical archaeology, Sydney, N.S.W., C1-1

journal article

Managing the Commonwealth Block Archaeological Assemblage: an Australian case study

Charlotte Smith, S Hayes

(2010), Vol. 6, pp. 171-187, Collections: a journal for museums and archives professionals, Lanham, Md., C1-1

journal article

Consumer practice at Viewbank homestead

S Hayes

(2007), Vol. 25, pp. 87-103, Australasian historical archaeology, Sydney, N.S.W., C1-1

journal article

Yorktown: the cultural landscape of the first European settlement in the North of Tasmania

S Hayes

(2005), Vol. 28, pp. 4-14, Artefact: the journal of the Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria, Carlton, Vic., C1-1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

An Archaeology of Quality of Life During Victoria¿s Gold Rush

Dr Sarah Hayes

ARC DECRA - Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

  • 2018: $183,990

Industry and Other Funding

The Material Culture of Geelong Orphan Asylum.

Dr Edwina Kay, Dr Sarah Hayes

Ochre Imprints Pty Ltd

  • 2021: $19,909
  • 2020: $114,437
  • 2019: $4,158


No completed student supervisions to report