Dirt: Filth and Decay in a New World Arcadia

Pamela Wood

Author: Pamela Wood
Format: Paperback
Pages: 300
Published: October 2005
Specs: 21.0cm x 14.8cm
ISBN: 9781869403485

Coming to the New World paradise of New Zealand the nineteenth-century colonial settlers did not expect to find the Old World evils of dirt and decay. But this original and fascinating book shows that dirt there was and that over time opinions changed about just what it was, what should be done about it and who had responsibility for dealing with it. 

Pamela Wood, drawing on extensive research largely in Dunedin, wades through topics like mud and swamps, sewerage, toilets, slums, abattoirs and cemeteries with cheerful attention to the polluted and the putrid. She explores the roles of doctors and hospitals and of local authorities in the protection of public health from disease and decay. 

In Dirt Wood offers a refreshing, unexpected and valuable insight into our social and cultural history.


More about Pamela Wood 


. . . a most worthy addition to Dunedin, and indeed New Zealand, early history. . . . A jolly good read if you don’t mind wading through open sewers, stinking swamps, outdoor toilets and crude abattoirs. – Jim McLees, Wanganui Chronicle