This is a traditional Australian dunny can commonly used in outdoor toilets. Can toilets were still in use in some parts of Orange in 1975. The toilet was generally located near the back fence so the can could be easily removed and a clean empty one replaced by the nightsoil collector. This dunny is missing the inside removable can and also its lid, which was essential to keep flies out of the waste.
There is a rich folklore about the wildlife of the Australian dunny and the unexpected arrival of the nightsoil collector. In the heyday of the outdoor dunny the majority of red back spider bites occurred on male genitals exposed on the thunder box. Despite their cultural significance such objects are rare in Australian museums. This may be the first time that a dunny can has been displayed in an Australian gallery.
Loan courtesy of Orange and District Historical Society