Prostitution has played an important role in the social and labour history of Australia since the arrival of the First Fleet. However, very little of this history has made its way into the nation’s established museums and galleries — the official guardians of our past. Here the history of sex work in Australia remains a marginal topic. This is in stark contrast to the public interest, both here and overseas, in ‘sex museums’ and heritage tours which ‘lift the veil’ on the sex industry. How can we explain these gaps and silences? This article explores this issue, and also suggests some ways in which the history of sex work might be effectively represented in both local and national contexts.