the great backyard dunny search

In a bid to preserve the iconic Aussie backyard dunny, Queensland Urban Utilities is on a mission to track down the nation's last remaining thunderboxes before they disappear.

Before many areas were sewered, a trip to the loo meant braving the elements and warding off creepy crawlies to visit the backyard dunny. 

Night soil men used horse-drawn carts – and later, trucks – to collect and empty the waste bucket from each household’s dunny. It was a very different system to what we have now!

These days sewerage is a hidden service that we don’t tend to think about, but a lot goes on behind the scenes. In fact, more than 1.4 million people rely on Queensland Urban Utilities' sewerage network, which includes more than 9000km of sewer pipes, 332 pump stations and 29 sewage treatment plants.


Did you know?

  • Outhouses were made mandatory in Brisbane in 1879.
  • Dunnies were still in use in some suburbs of the south east up until the 1960s and 70s.
  • Queensland Urban Utilities treats around 11,0000 ML of sewage every year, which is equivalent to around 44,000 Olympic swimming pools.

 backyard dunnies

Contribute to Australia's first 'Looseum' 

Queensland Urban Utilities is setting up Australia’s first ‘Looseum’ to pay homage to the backyard dunny and we need your help. 

The 'Looseum' will be a one of a kind mini-museum at our Luggage Point Innovation Centre, featuring outdoor dunnies which have been rescued and restored to their former glory. 

To flush out local history for our display, we are calling on residents across Australia to submit their photos, old film, stories and memories of the humble backyard dunny.

Submissions will feature in an online gallery and the most interesting entries will be displayed at the 'Looseum' when it launches next year.


This restored dunny was rescued from Carina, and will feature in our 'Looseum. 

If you have a dunny in your backyard, or a memory to share, get in touch with us:

  • Visit the online gallery to upload your submission
  • Share your submission using the hashtag #BackyardDunny (note: your post must be set to 'public' to appear in our gallery).