An invitation to the grandest house in the colony

Front façade of Elizabeth Bay House

Elizabeth Bay House. Photo © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Dining with a sensational view: welcome to Elizabeth Bay House. From the ‘Lion of Sydney’, to an artists’ squat, reception house and bedsit apartments: Elizabeth Bay House – the ‘grandest house in the colony’ – has seen a chequered and Bohemian life since it was built for the residence of Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay (1767-1848) and his family. Continue reading

Let them eat cake! Empire Day, May 24

A black and white photograph of Queen Victoria.

Gelatin paper print photograph of Queen Victoria (detail), photographer unknown. Rouse Hill House & Farm Collection

May 24 was Queen Victoria’s birthday, later celebrated as Empire Day. To mark the occasion I’ve been looking for Victoria Sponge recipes in my nineteenth century cookbooks – to no avail. Perhaps, like many other traditions, it is not so traditional at all – at least not for its claimed origins. Continue reading

Bethany Leyshon, project volunteer

Bethany Leyshon in front of an artwork, A Crucifixion, at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Bethany Leyshon / photo © Thomas MacRae. Artwork: A Crucifixion, Reuben Paterson, 2012, glitter and synthetic polymer paint on canvas, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, purchased NGV Contemporary, 2012 © Reuben Paterson, courtesy Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland

I have always had a fascination with old houses and the stories they tell, so when the opportunity came up to do an internship at Sydney Living Museums’ Rouse Hill House & Farm (one of my favourite properties) – I couldn’t let it slip. Continue reading