Ladies Weekly Dinner Group at Blue Haven Retirement Village

Originally, I had chosen Susannah Place, a museum apart of Sydney Living Museums, as my chosen organisation. A terrace of four houses located within the Rocks, Susannah Place housed more than 100 families between 1844 and 1990 and is characterised by tiny backyards, basement kitchens and outhouses. Initially, I wanted to work with Susannah Place for one key reason. As a child, my mother took me to the museum and it is my earliest memory of being fascinated by history. In particular, I was enthralled with the way the museum captured eras, memories, family histories, architecture and aesthetics through the restoration of each house. Stepping into Susannah Place is like time travelling to a different era.
However, I’ve experienced some difficulty in setting up a project at the museum, so have come up with a new organisation and idea for a project. I am extremely interested in personal histories and after speaking with my mother and grandmother I came up with a solution. My grandmother lives in Blue Haven Retirement Village which is located in my hometown of Kiama on the south coast. She is a part of a social group of 8-10 ladies who meet for dinner weekly. After discussing the group with my grandmother, I had a couple ideas of what could be beneficial to both their group and my project. I am thinking that it might beneficial if I collated a recipe and short anecdote from each of the group’s members into a small cookbook. In my experience, certain foods, recipes and social experiences are tied into the collective memories of our lives. I believe the connection between food and memory/personal history is an avenue of history that hasn’t often been explored and is something that intrigues me greatly. It is incredible to me how by cooking a certain recipe or eating a certain food, we can be transported back to particular moments in our histories. As it is my last semester of university, I have found myself contemplating what history means to me- why I chose to study it, why I love it, how it has altered my life course and how I define it. These are questions that I am eager to have answered by people outside of the academic/professional historical professions. I am far more interested in understanding history’s implications in the everyday on everyday people. Essentially, I want to take all the knowledge I have acquired over my degree and apply it to life ‘beyond the classroom’. 
That being said, I am extremely eager to undertake work on my project in the semester break when I head home to visit my family. I believe this project will be extremely sentimental and meaningful not only for myself but the group as well. I am extremely excited to begin interviewing these ladies and to hear their amazing personal histories.

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