Marching onwards

View of Rouse Hill House

View across the carriage loop at Rouse Hill House. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Here at the Cook and the Curator we’re bidding a fond farewell to Eat Your History: a shared table exhibition which closed on Sunday after six fantastic months at the Museum of Sydney. We’re also gearing up for another busy series of posts, as we visit Rouse Hill House and Farm, welcome in Celestial City: Sydney’s Chinese story and bake an Easter treat.

It was a strange sensation as Jacqui and I walked around the exhibition after giving our last floor talk on Sunday. An exhibition is after all a major undertaking, and Eat Your History: a shared table has been a big part of our working lives for over two years now. As I write this the individual exhibits are already dismantled, the wall panels all taken down, and the many objects are being prepared to head back to the houses or lending institutions. You can just make out the remains of the letters from the curio wall:

Eat your history ghost letters

The last traces of Eat your history: a shared table, the vestige of the curio wall. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

We’re going to be bringing a large part of the Eat Your History exhibition on-line, from the fascinating contents of the curio wall to the videos of Jacqui making calves foot jelly and June Wallace baking the “Meroogal sponge cake”. And yes, maybe the blooper reel.

Celestial City

But it never stops down at the Museum of Sydney, and within a week Celestial City: Sydney’s Chinese Story will be taking shape, to open on March 29th. We’ll be exploring aspects of this new exhibition on the blog, especially the story of Quong Tart and his famed Tearooms, a recipe for “Quong Tart scones” and of course Chinese market gardens. You may already have seen the market garden project in the MOS forecourt, created for Celestial City.

Quong Tart and Dr On Lee, on the deck of the Australian by Kerry and Co., Sydney , 1898

Quong Tart [in robes to left] and Dr On Lee, on the deck of the Australian by Kerry and Co., Sydney , 1898. Tart McEvoy papers, Society of Australian Genealogists LON13_CEL_0093

Chinese garden project at the Museum of Sydney

Chinese garden project at the Museum of Sydney. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

Welcome to Rouse Hill House & Farm

We’re also introducing Rouse Hill House and Farm, Sydney Living Museum’s largest property and one of the country’s most unique and complex house museums – it’s also where I spend most of my time as curator. Its an extraordinary property, complex and layered with evidence of 6 generations of the Rouse and Terry families in its landscape, gardens, Georgian house and precious outbuildings. If you visited Eat Your History; a shared table you’ll remember the Rouse family cookbooks including the wonderful “beaten up Beeton”. We’ll meet the cows (and probably end up chasing them) and chickens, take tea in the summerhouse, leave behind the ‘Francaise’ as we set the table in a ‘wholly new style’, decide whether we bake or roast,  and look at archeological remains from the earliest European occupancy on the site. And as always, there’ll be plenty of recipes to try along the way.