Sydney Tower in LEGO bricks. Cover of Summer 2014 Unlocked. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Unlocked Summer Edition 2014

Welcome to the Summer 2014 online edition of the Sydney Living Museums' Gazette: Unlocked.

Here at Sydney Living Museums we are passionate about discovering the hidden histories of 12 historic houses and museums. Objects lost below the floorboards, a coat of paint or even a mark on a wall can potentially tell us so much about the everyday lives of people who called our places home long ago. 

These stories are shared in Unlocked, our new quarterly magazine. Within each edition, tales from inside our homes and gardens will be told by staff throughout our organisation. 

In our latest issue we visit our exhibition Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO bricks, get a behind-the-scenes look at curatorial work on our homes and museums in a continuation of our If These Walls Could Talk series, and see works from the 2014 Meroogal Women's Art Prize. 

These are just some of the great articles on offer, so jump right in and read the stories of your city.

Certified LEGO builder Ryan McNaught places piece on LEGO model.
Certified LEGO Builder Ryan McNaught puts the finishing touches on the model of Marina Bay Sands. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

From our director

Portrait of Mark
Mark Goggin. Photo © Stuart Miller for Sydney Living Museums
Our purpose is to enhance the heritage values of our houses, museums and gardens for current and future generations, and to engage our audiences with passion and creativity. With this in mind, we continue our series of feature stories ‘If These Walls Could Talk …’

In this issue curator Scott Hill turns to the arcade at Rouse Hill House & Farm, describing recent conservation works to the area and exploring its use as a place of entertainment and celebration in the 1890s and early 1900s. Ed Washington from our programs team tells the important and poignant story of six Sydney Mint workers who enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force during World War I. We also take a look at our exhibition Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO® Bricks, at the Museum of Sydney, which comprises hundreds of thousands of colourful LEGO bricks. Also in this issue you can see a selection of the innovative and imaginative works created by women artists across NSW for the Meroogal Women’s Art Prize.



Throsby Park: back in the family

Intensely coloured image of farmhouse against blue sky with green grass in foreground with words 'Throsby Park, Moss Vale' and Christies Auction house name and logo.
Throsby Park. Christies

Following a four-month tender process, Mr Tim Throsby has been awarded the lease of Throsby Park historic house and rural estate.

Mr Throsby, a direct descendant of pioneer settler Dr Charles Throsby (1777–1828), will share in the ongoing stewardship of the property, which includes the main homestead (c1834), Throsby Cottage (c1821), outhouses, stables (once Del Throsby’s famous riding school), extensive gardens and 75 hectares of grounds


If these walls could talk: The Mint

Black and white photo of a man working a coin press
A gold ingot is flattened and stretched through a rolling mill to form a long, thin ‘fillet’ ready for cutting blank coins, Sydney Royal Mint Rolling Room, January 1927. National Library of Australia: © Fairfax Syndication

Charles Miller, Frederick Sydney Hoptroff, Arthur Kilgour, Edgar Upton, Oliver Whiting, Theophilus (Theo) Bowmaker and John Gilchrist were all employees of the Royal Mint’s Sydney branch. Between 1914 and 1918 they enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and their service is remembered with an honour board that hangs in the southern stair hall of The Mint.


If these walls could talk: Rouse Hill House & Farm

Paper ticket entitled 'Special Entertainment', an invitation to Rouse Hill House & Farm
Ticket to the concert held in the arcade at Rouse Hill House, 28 April 1899. Rouse Hill House & Farm Collection, Sydney Living Museums.

On the evening of 28 April 1899 the first act of a concert held at Rouse Hill House finished with a song performed by the jovial host, Edwin Stephen Rouse (1849–1931).


Conserving the arcade

Man in blue pants and black shirt with power drill crouches in front of wooden fence
New fixings being applied to the fence palings. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

The conservation of the Rouse Hill House arcade is an ongoing process of evaluation and cautious intervention.



two young boys playing with colourful LEGO in front of large LEGO towers against a white background
Boys building LEGO towers. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums
Build your own towers of tomorrow in this world premiere exhibition of astonishing LEGO skyscrapers at the Museum of Sydney.

Skyscrapers are the ‘towers of tomorrow’. They point to the future – even those built half a century ago. Piercing the sky, ever taller and more incredible, their heads in the clouds, skyscrapers hint at what is to come. They can be outlandish and ostentatious, are seldom subtle, and come in a wide range of colours, shapes and sizes.


Meroogal Women’s Art Prize exhibition 2014

Dark haired woman wearing large ornate collar with red top, stares out of a curtained window
Sharnie Shield wearing part of her first-prize-winning artwork Collars in the afternoon in the bedroom at Meroogal. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums.

This year, for the first time, the Meroogal Women’s Art Prize is being held on site at Meroogal. The artworks are woven throughout the house in an exhibition that unfolds gradually as you wander through the rooms.


Curator profile

A Life In Crime

Dark haired woman wearing a red dress and black blazer leaning on a wooden door frame
Nerida Campbell at the Justice & Police Museum. Photo © Stuart Miller for Sydney Living Museums

Curator Nerida Campbell has got the dream job – rummaging through the grit and grime of Sydney’s criminal past to help us to come to terms with the city’s dark side.