Yana Nura

A school student exploring the Yana Nura garden at Museum of Sydney. Photo © Declan May / James Horan Photography Pty Ltd for Sydney Living Museums

A native garden among the skyscrapers

Yana Nura, “to walk on Country” is a native garden at the Museum of Sydney that invites visitors to reflect, reconnect and learn about Aboriginal culture, past and present, on Gadi Country. Located on the outdoor mezzanine that overlooks the site of Australia’s First Government House and the area that the first colonial garden was installed on Aboriginal landscape, in 1788.

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Chin-chin! its cocktail time.

Cocktail cabinet, veneer with cubistic marquetry design by P E Kafka, c1947 (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences collection) on display in The Moderns. exhibition, Museum of Sydney, 2017. Photo © Nicholas Watt for Sydney Living Museums

This weekend is your last chance to see The Moderns exhibition at Museums of Sydney. We thought we’d celebrate its last huzzah! with a cocktail or two, inspired by the stunning Paul Kafka inlaid cabinet in the image above.

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Eating modern

The kitchen and servery at Rose Seidler House Photo © Nicholas Watt for Sydney Living Museums (detail)

We’re ‘thoroughly modern’ here at SLM, with The Morderns: European designers in Sydney and Marion Hall Best: interiors exhibitions in full swing at Museum of Sydney. Modernism came into its own on our shores with European émigré architects, interior designers and furniture makers working in the 1930s to 1960s. Not only did modernism change the way we live, it changed the way we cook and eat.  Continue reading

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

The de Maliez mystery – in search of the governor’s French cook

A drawing of first Government House, Sydney, showing the surrounding gardens, water and meeting of Aboriginal and European peoples.

Governor's House at Sydney, Port Jackson 1791 by William Bradley. State Library of NSW Safe 1/14

Historical research is a curious thing. You find a fleeting reference or snippet of information that prickles your interest about a place, a person, an object or an incidence, then find yourself chasing leads that might shed more light on the subject. In this case, it is the mystery of Governor Arthur Phillip’s ‘French cook’.

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Ladies who lunched

The Womanhood Suffrage League of NSW

The Womanhood Suffrage League of NSW by Freeman Bros Studio, 1892. State Library of NSW ON 219/96

Nicola Teffer, curator of the Celestial City exhibition, is our guest blogger this week, giving us an insight into the ‘ladies who lunched’ in the late nineteenth century…
Sydney in the 1870s was no place for a lady. Not only were there no public toilets for women, the city offered few places where they could eat and drink.  Pubs were off-limits, and cafes, oyster saloons and cigar divans were a bit too racy for girls keen to protect their good reputations.

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Nicola Teffer

Curator Nicola Teffer with Sydney Living Museums chairman Michael Rose, the Hon Helen Sham-Ho OAM and Sydney Living Museums director Mark Goggin in the Celestial City: Sydney's Chinese Story exhibition.

Curator Nicola Teffer with Sydney Living Museums chairman Michael Rose, the Hon Helen Sham-Ho OAM and Sydney Living Museums director Mark Goggin (left to right) in the Celestial City: Sydney's Chinese Story exhibition. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Nicola Teffer is curator of Celestial City: Sydney’s Chinese story, showing at the Museum of Sydney until 12 October 2014. Sydney’s Chinese story is intrinsically linked with food. The Chinese community has supplied, served and inspired hungry Sydney-siders from market gardens, merchants’ shops, street hawking businesses and Quong Tart’s tea rooms, synonymous with Sydney in the late nineteenth century. Nicola joins The Cook and the Curator as guest blogger, relating food stories prompted by the Celestial City exhibition.

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Quong Tart’s famous tearooms – and scones!

Quong Tart teapot detail

Quong Tart teapot (detail). Private collection. Photo © Jamie North for Sydney Living Museums

Quong Tart, celebrated in the Celestial City: Sydney’s Chinese story exhibition currently showing at the Museum of Sydney, played a significant part in Sydney’s colonial history. The exhibition explores many aspects of Quong Tart’s life, but he is famously remembered for his tearoom establishments, which helped revolutionise casual dining in the city in the late 1800s. Continue reading