I have been researching Sydney in the early part of the century. I have always been naturally fascinated by Australian history (I have a history degree from Sydney University) and this goes in hand with researching the area for a bar I have been co-designing with the talented Kelvin Ho of Akin Creative.
The bar is located in a brick vaulted basement that would have been constructed around the 1850s. On a visit to the Caroline Simpson Library to see librarians, Michael & Matt, I was shown Henry Percy Dove’s ‘Plans of Sydney’ which revealed the businesses, workshops, housing & building that existed at the time. Oyster saloons, taverns, yards, tinkers, smiths, merchants & traders, lawyers, surveyors, milliners and other old fashioned trades are listed & sited.
I have written about Mr G Rice before, but another shop on Pitt St, called Mrs Palmer & co., taxidermist & furrier holds just as much curios.
I have named this new bar, Palmer & co. and lined its walls with photographs of the small time crooks, petty thieves & peoples of interest found at the Police & Justice Museum (often very well dressed & quite good looking):
Pickpockets, confidence tricksters, peeping toms, midnight rovers, rogues, vagabonds, professional shape-shifters, fly-by-merchants, fraudster, hooligans, brawlers, cardsharpers, ruffians & troublemakers.
If this is as fascinating to you as it is to me, the below have provided me endless enjoyment and information:
Crooks Like Us by Peter Doyle – an archive of mug shots from the Justice & Police Museum outlining all the mischief the crooks got up to.
Small Trades by Irving Penn – a book of portraits by the amazing Irving Penn, capturing people who practice small trades. This book is beautiful.
Caroline Simpson Library – it is so resource rich I know that CSL will have something for me irrelevant of whether I’m hunting for seaweed albums for my next book, Bowerbird or pictures of Mrs Palmer’s husband.
Macleay Museum – I cannot count the number of hours I have spent here wandering and inspecting whatever is on show. This is where I found a tag, attached to a taxidermied animal foot inscribed with ‘Mrs Palmer & co’ and what started my knowledge hunt.
I planned a southbound roadtrip to scour the vintage & junk shop I had spotted down the south coast from Sydney. A nice combination of work & fun! I took the scenic turnoff from the highway toward Stanwell park which revealed some naïve ships in a bottle & other bits & bobs. Although not packed with shops, the road & scenery are easy on the eye and a stop at the Berry sourdough bakery off the main road for a lunch break (or coffee) is a must. The other main stops are Ulladulla & Milton with a highlight at Turnball Bros.
After a hard day of driving & shopping, the reward at the end was my very good friends beach shack to stay at for the night. His thriving fruit & vegetable patch rewarded us with tomatoes, basil, parsley, figs, passionfruit, cucumber and peppers.
The shack is the perfect combo of casual laid back sand-on-your-feet attitude, and sink-yourself-into lounges, put-your-feet-up furniture, pull-the-indoors-out style. Wicker, linen, oversized knits, shells, stripe-y terry towelling, coir, cane, painted wood and easy sweep wooden floors made for the most enjoyable stay- Thanks JH.
Look out for my nautical fish-y props at The Fish Shop & Amateur Fishing Club at 22 Challis Ave Potts Point.
On preparing for my last workshop, Styling vs Decorating, I picked up these glorious persimmons on the branch from Mr Cook, they begged to be photographed. We had just picked up these beautiful Australian cedar doors from auction – that do not as yet have a doorway – so are the backdrop for my e-shop pictures for now!
As the fall settles in the southern hemisphere, it is time to pull out all the tactiles & the textures of the season: leathers, knits, cashmere, linen, quilts & the rest. For inspiration, here is a pic that did not appear in Nomad (I believe my brother may have missed this one). Don’t limit your bed layering to conventional options. Use skins & hides as a caveman would have.
I have always loved sleeping in linen sheets. I like how they crease & how they are not slippery like cotton sheets. I was once a white fan, but now discovering Bedouin Societe sheets I cannot decide which is my favourite: from coal black to nutmeg. The colours are just so good. The sheets are so soft, but hold their body, they crease oh-so perfectly and don’t even worry about tucking them in. I featured them at my last workshop, Styling vs Decorating held at The Bite Club, with great success and enthusiasm. We will be selling them at The Society inc. but in the meantime email: firstname.lastname@example.org for stockists.
It is time for some fresh new windows at The Society inc.! We love our window displays so much sometimes it’s too hard to part with them. So to ease the pain we’ve decided to have a sale of all the pieces in the window – & make way for the next magical worlds through the glass. These pieces I used to build sets for my next book, The Biography of a Bowerbird, out this October. This is your preview:
(If you want to buy anything before it gets snapped up – just call us on 9331 1592) x