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. I started working on a project involving the costume collection and when it was finished, asked if I could stay on as a volunteer. That was about a year ago, and since then I’ve done many different things for SLM, the most recent being working with the Eat Your History team.

As part of this project, I’ve been lucky enough to look through Meroogal’s old cookbooks, photographing and transcribing some of the recipes that will appear on this blog. I’ve also gotten to know the Thornburn’s and their friends through their handwriting, old photos and diaries. And as a bonus, I’ve had the chance to try the fruits of Jacqui’s labour as she tests out the old recipes! I am constantly amazed and intrigued by what simple things like clothes and cooking books can tell us, not only about the past, but about the people who wore and used them.

Being involved in this project has been a great experience and I hope you all enjoy eating your history as much as the team has enjoyed cooking it up for you.