These three displays in the library complemented the Museum of Sydney exhibition, Eat Your History: A Shared Table, and formed part of Sydney Living Museums’ Food program.

Vegetable gardens

Vegetable gardens were among Australia’s first European gardens – by necessity. Vegetable plots helped to feed the colony in the lean times. Since then, vegetable or kitchen gardens have been an important feature of the home. On display are guidebooks on planning and planting your garden, illustrated seed catalogues, seed packets and other ephemera.


In the 19th century Australian kitchen, tinware utensils were a common sight. Tinware was manufactured by thinly coating sheet iron with tin and was formed into an array of items including bowls, canisters, trays, pots, moulds and dish covers. Examples of 19th century tinware, trade catalogues and books on domestic economy are all on display.

Kitchen wallpaper

Before the 1950s, kitchens were usually painted rather than wallpapered. But from the 1950s, colourful wallpaper designs on plain white or cream backgrounds became popular. Newly invented vinyl-coated wallpapers were easy to clean and a practical alternative to paint in the Australian kitchen.

Follow the signs to The Mint Reception from the front entrance of The Mint, and you will find the Library entrance nearby.

Please note that the Library's opening hours are 10am-4pm, Tuesday to Friday.

Take a look at some images from these displays below or look for references to kitchens in our library catalogue.


15 October 2013 - 5 March 2014