Then and now – the dining room at Elizabeth Bay House part 2

Detail of the the dining room at Elizabeth Bay House 11 August 1987. Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, Sydney Living Museums. Photo Andrew Payne Photographix

This week we’re back at Elizabeth Bay House, in one of Sydney’s grandest dining rooms. After the departure of the Macleays, Macarthur-Onslows and Michaelises, its years as a reception house and then as flats, the ‘Lion of Sydney’ began its new life as a house museum. But, as this continuing ‘Then and Now’ series shows, it certainly wasn’t without controversy!

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To market, to market…

Copy of a sketch of the Queen Victoria Markets Building labelled “The new city markets” (detail) looking SE from the corner of York Street and Market Street towards the Town Hall. © State Archives Office SRC10890

Welcome this week to guest contributor, Heather Hunwick, who takes us into the story of Sydney’s early markets, and from a nostalgic allusion to London’s bustling Leadenhall Market, to the splendid Queen Victoria Building 110 years later.

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Eel Festival 2019

Gumaroy Newman playing the Yidaki (Didgeridoo) at the 2018 Eel Festival at Elizabeth Farm. Photo © Alex Wisser for Sydney Living Museums

Kicking off this year’s Aboriginal Cultural Calendar is our annual Eel Festival on Sunday 3 March at Elizabeth Farm which celebrates the seasonal migration of eels, or burra in local language, into Darug Country. Continue reading

The art of tea, and tea as art

Kylie Douglas, Womandala (detail), Cuttlefish bone. Meroogal Women's Art Prize 2018 entry. Photo © Nicholas Watt for Sydney Living Museums

The restorative power and ritualised nature of tea, whether elegantly poured from a pot into a fine china cup, or a bag languishing in a mug on a kitchen bench or work-desk gives inspiration to many of the artists who have entered works in the Meroogal Women’s Art PrizeContinue reading

When Dickens comes to dinner

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’.
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Christmas by the book

'Christmas Dinner' (detail) by Robert Seymour in 'The Book of Christmas' (1837). Hervey Thomas Kibble, 1837. Image source The British Library, B20070 97

Many Australians today have departed from the conventional trilogy of ham and turkey and plum pudding, in favour of seafood or barbecues with salad, and a cold dessert such as trifle or pavlova. But how ‘traditional’ is our perceived idea of Christmas fare? Continue reading

Previously on the menu