A good time had by all! Dickens Fellowship members celebrating Charles Dickens at Vaucluse House Tearooms. Photo © Shane Rozario www.shanerozario.com
Late last year, Vaucluse House Museum and the Vaucluse House Tearooms played host to over 100 Charles Dickens ‘fellows’ – delegates from across the world who gathered in Sydney for the 112th International Dickens Fellowship Conference. The conference theme was ‘Boz in Oz: Charles Dickens’ colonial connections’.
Funeral shortbread 'cakes' Photo © James Horan (detail) for Sydney Living Museums
Cake seems synonymous with parties and celebration – for birthdays, weddings, in fact, quite a pleasure and a treat. We have fairy cakes, angel cakes, red velvet… but what about funeral cakes? Continue reading
Joanna Nicholas, curator, Sydney Living Museums. Photo © Stuart Miller for Sydney Living Museums
Joanna Nicholas is Curator in the House Museums Portfolio, responsible for Vaucluse, Elizabeth Bay and Rose Seidler Houses. She is passionate about the immersive experiences house museums can provide for visitors – the power of their collections, gardens and grounds. Continue reading
Detail of Many Happy Returns of the Day_engraving after Frith. Rouse Hill House collection, Sydney Living Museums
In the schoolroom at Rouse Hill House an engraving shows a child’s birthday party in full swing – with the very real risk that some of the party-goers will end up on the floor! Continue reading
Pickled lemons, made from Margaret Pearson's Cookery recipes for the people, 1890, in The Colonial Kitchen by Charmaine O'Brien, 2016. Photo © Jacqui Newling
As Charmaine O’Brien points out in her book The Colonial Kitchen, Margaret Pearson’s Lemon Pickle recipe reminds us that the relatively recent trend for ‘Moroccan preserved lemons’ is not new to Australian tables at all. Continue reading
Old fashioned sticky buns at the Wentworth picnic at Lucknow, NSW. Photo © Jacqui Newling, Sydney Living Museums
On the Queen’s birthday holiday on Tuesday May 24, 1887, the miners at the Wentworth goldfields experienced a ‘unique and enjoyable event’ – a picnic with their families, hosted by the mine manager, Henry Newman and his wife. Continue reading
The preserves pantry at Vaucluse House. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums
Adding some flavour to their labour, the staff at Vaucluse House have been adding some colour to the pantry under the stairs in the colonial kitchen. Museum guide, Nicole Sutherland takes us through the process: Continue reading
Mrs. Macpherson's cookery class: the Christmas pudding [detail]. Alfred May and Alfred Martin Ebsworth. Australasian Sketcher, December 20, 1879. State Library of Victoria. A/S20/12/79/145
Judging by the fashionable dress of the women in Mrs Macpherson’s plum pudding class shown above, the traditional plum pudding was a standard requirement, if not the centrepiece, on all the best tables. But in the true spirit of Christmas, our archives tell us that the less fortunate were also tucking in to the classic plum pud!
What is the best ever piece of table paraphernalia? Photo (c) Scott Hill for Sydney Living Museums
I may be slightly biased in this, but today I’m talking about the guaranteed, best-ever, most superb piece of dining accoutrements ever – grape scissors! Continue reading
Bee skep (detail) in Jeremy L Cross, ‘The true Masonic chart’ AS Barnes and Co, New York, 1855. Courtesy State Library of New South Wales call number T0402300
A hive of industry, and busy as a bee – the work of the humble ‘bumble’ and ‘honey’ bee is extraordinary – their efforts providing honey for sweet treats, such as the honey toffee (recipe below) and bees wax, highly coveted for candles in our colonial past. But more importantly, bees are integral to agriculture, and our own survival, globally.