The artefact, dated at around 1860, is undergoing its final stages of restoration after being netted by a trawler fishing off the south-east coast.
The Museum’s June Negri said the brass and ceramic marine Hopper Closet was delivered unexpectedly, and thankfully smelled of “the sea.”
“The first course of action was to immerse the closet into a tub of water. The second action was to notify Heritage Victoria’s Maritime Unit of its arrival,” she said.
“[It] was in quite good condition and a decision was made to seek funding to have the closet conserved for display at the Museum.”
The trawler crew hauled the loo to the surface in June 2014.
Melbourne University has since used the toilet as a study piece, bringing in leading Western Australia-based conservation scientist Dr Ian McLeod to provide expert restoration advice.
“Dr MacLeod was most pleased that the closet had been placed into water as soon as it arrived at the Museum, minimal drying out had occurred so the ceramic insert and glaze had not been adversely affected,” Mrs Negri said.
The Queenscliff Point Lonsdale Community Enterprise has provided a $3,000 grant to house the artefact in its own display case. It is due to return to the Museum in coming weeks.