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Explore the hidden stories of your home

Written by City Reporter

Explore the hidden stories of your home

Looking for something enjoyable and different to do during lockdown? Become your own detective and discover intriguing stories about your home by learning how to research its history.

As part of History Week 2021, the City of Sydney invites you to join our online house history research workshop on Saturday 11 September from 1pm to 3pm.

City of Sydney historians Lisa Murray and Laila Ellmoos will introduce key sources for research and archivist Naomi Crago will be online to answer participants’ questions.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the workshop will provide tools to enable participants to become local historians and revel in discovering the history of their local area.

“As a former history teacher I may be biased, but I think that researching and reflecting on our past is engaging and rewarding,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“Your house is a piece of the bigger jigsaw that makes up our city, and our historians and archivists are on hand to help you learn a little more about it.

“Through lockdowns, many of us have spent more time at home than ever before. Researching your local history will hopefully help you feel more informed about and connected to our wonderful local community.”

City of Sydney Historian Lisa Murray said the workshop could be done alone, or people could encourage their family and neighbours to join in and discover the history of where they live.

“Join us and discover who has lived in your home, when and why it was built, or other intriguing stories that you never anticipated,” Lisa Murray said.

“Feel more connected and involved with its past and feel a part of history in the making.”

The City of Sydney’s online House & Building Histories Guide will provide the framework, focusing on resources in the City of Sydney archives and history resources.

The session will be followed with a Q&A, where the panel will address the most popular topics nominated by you. Viewers can send requests when registering.

Online talks

The City of Sydney ‘Citizen History: House History research workshop’ is part of our state’s annual festival on history. This year the theme is ‘From the ground up’ and includes online talks and lectures.

Curator Margaret Betteridge is hosting an online lunch time talk, ‘Look up Sydney: from the ground up’, that will bring a new level of curiosity and greater respect for the architectural vision which has brought ornament to landmark buildings. Using historical and contemporary artworks in the City’s Civic Collection, she will discuss places you haven’t thought to look at, for a piece of history.

In ‘Remembering and forgetting the Great Strike of 1917’, Historian Laila Ellmoos will look at the way that Sydneysiders who lived through one of Australia’s largest industrial conflicts remembered it in later life at a lunch time talk.

Join Curator Rebecca Anderson for a virtual wander from the National Art School in Darlinghurst, through Woolloomooloo and the CBD to Circular Quay. In ‘Sydney down to the ground’Rebecca will be pausing at intervals along the talk to discuss how the pavements, paths, streets and side roads reveal a history of continuous transformation and the way this has been interpreted by contemporary artists.

Archivist Janet Villata will help you discover photographs of Sydney held in the City Archives. Try some search techniques and find iconic images to share. See the new Covid-19 Pandemic collection and find out how you can contribute to it, documenting history from the ground up.

These workshops and talks are part of the City of Sydney’s program for History Week from 4 to 12 September. See whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/programs/history-week

Register for the City of Sydney Citizen History: House History research workshop at whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/events/citizen-history-house-history-research-workshop

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