Kim Connor, intern, Hyde Park barracks

Hyde Park barracks intern, Kim Connors examining bones from the barracks archaeology. Photo © Fiona Starr Sydney Living Museums

Kim Connor is an Honours student in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sydney. Her thesis, ‘Feeding the confined’ is an analysis of the animal bone from Hyde Park barracks in order to investigate the diet of the women of the Immigration Depot and the Destitute Asylum (1848-1886).

By studying the bones, I’m discovering other unofficial ways that the women supplemented and varied their diets. One of the big surprises has been how much evidence there is for meat that wasn’t on the official ration: rabbit, chicken and other fowl, oysters and even crab! Explaining why there is a difference between the archaeological record and the historical sources is key to understanding how these institutions worked, and the experience of the women who lived there.

Kim also writes about historical food for her blog Turnspit & Table with ‘an anti-miserablist approach to historical cooking’ and is a regular participant in the Historical Food Fortnightly.

Off to the Nowra show!

At the Nowra show, ca1910. From 'Shoalhaven scenes and people; Cyrus S Moss photographer. State Library of NSW ON436

Agricultural shows have always been centers for display as much as community get-togethers. For the inhabitants of Meroogal the annual Nowra show – which opens next week – was an anticipated event, and not just because they were its immediate neighbors. Continue reading

Pantry pickles

Pickles in the pantry cupboard at Vaucluse House. Photo © James Horan for Sydney living Museums

Latoya Schadel shares one of the pleasures of working in the Vaucluse House team:

I just love our days at Vaucluse House when we begin the working day with a walk through the bountiful kitchen garden. Sometimes, when produce is at its peak, our gardeners bring us a basket full of goodies to sample. Continue reading

Introducing Latoya Schadel

Latoya Schadel, Sydney Living Museums Visitor & Interpretation officer. Image courtesy Latoya Schadel

We have guest bloggers on The Cook & the Curator this week and next from the kitchens at Vaucluse House –

Latoya Schadel has been an enthusiastic lover of history since the tender age of seven when she visited Elizabeth Farm for the first time, dressed as a convict-lass. Since then she has (grown up and) completed a First Class Honours in History at the University of Sydney, specialising in the Australian ‘history wars’ and their impact on children’s literature. For the last two years she has been a proud member of the House Museums Portfolio at Sydney Living Museums as a Visitor Interpretation Officer, and hopes to instill her love of the past in a new generation of seven year olds – and beyond!

Introducing Leila Wallace

Leila Wallace, Sydney Living Museums’ Visitor and Interpretation officer, Photo © Sydney Living Museums

We have guest bloggers on The Cook & the Curator this week and next from the kitchens at Vaucluse House –

If you are looking for Leila, you will find her either in the staff kitchen creating authentic pickles and preserves for the Colonial Kitchen display at Vaucluse House; in the cellars hosting holiday ‘crafternoons’; writing stories for the newsletter and website; or Instagraming anything with a bit of old world charm. Originally from a science background with specialisations in environmental conservation and natural heritage, Leila has found her calling as a Visitor Interpretation Officer at Sydney Living Museums. With her love of farm yard animals, beautiful vistas and a passion for nature, there’s nowhere else she’d rather be.

Eat your history – the book!

Jacqui Newling, author of Eat your history: stories and recipes from Australian kitchens Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Handwritten recipes passed through the generations, tales of goats running wild in colonial gardens and early settlers’ experimentation with native foods…
Eat your history dishes up stories and recipes for Australian kitchens and dining tables from 1788 to the 1950s.

Jacqui Newling, resident gastronomer at Sydney Living Museums, invites you to share forgotten tastes and lost techniques, and to rediscover some delicious culinary treasures. Continue reading

Punch drunk on guava jelly

Photograph of cherry guavas and flowers

Cherry guavas and flowers from the kitchen garden at Vaucluse House, September 2015. Photo Helen Curran © Sydney Living Museums

There’s a special pleasure in tasting a fruit straight from the tree. Just a few months ago, the cherry guavas in the kitchen garden at Vaucluse House were tiny, unpromising-looking green orbs. This week, the first of them ripened: little rose-coloured marbles of sweet-tart deliciousness, each a perfect mouthful – and the perfect ingredient for a clear fruit jelly.

Continue reading