Monday, June 11, 2012

25 May 2012: Susannah Place Museum

The Susannah Place Museum was one of the places that I had visited when I was having a short holiday in Sydney in May 2012. Located at The Rocks, which was once a thriving and close knit working class suburb, Susannah Place Museum lends its visitors a glimpse into the life of the working class from the mid-19th to late 20th centuries.

I decided to choose to visit the Susannah Place Museum because I learnt that the Susannah Place Museum is a row of four terraces that has survived largely unchanged since it was built in 1844. I learnt that the Sussanah Place has a continuous history of occupancy by working class families. My interest to experience a historic building that has survived to my time and yet has retained much of its original character propelled me to choose to visit the Susannah Place Museum during my limited stay in Sydney. I was very pleased with my choice.

Visitors to the Susannah Place Museum will be greeted by a store that has been faithfully recreated to remind visitors of the store that was run by Youngein family in the 1915. Interestingly, this recreated store sells goods from that very era (i.e. 1915). The gas light and the housefly traps in the store caught my attention. This is one place to find interesting items that were sold in the 1910s.

My tour of the Susannah Place Museum began with a viewing of an introductory video on the history of Susannah Place. From this video, I learnt that the first owner of Susannah Place was probably Edward Riley who could have named the terraces after his niece. The video also gave its viewers a glimpse of the lives of many of the occupants who had lived in the Susannah Place. The accounts on the "green ban" and how the Sussanah Place was developed into a house museum caught my interests.

After watching the introductory video, my physical tour about the Susannah Place began. I felt as if I was on an adventure that allowed me to travel back in time. The tour took me to all the four terraces. The decor of the rooms of the four terraces reflected how these rooms would have looked like in different times of the past, for example, the 1840s, the 1920s and the 1970s. There was even a functioning toilet in the Susannah Place Museum that bore the facade of the past.

I felt grateful that there were people with vision and foresight to preserve The Susannah Place for the generations to come to appreciate the living conditions of working class families of the past. Having a glimpse of the living conditions of the past has helped me to be more appreciative of the improved living conditions that I am blessed with today. I have learnt from my visit that with effort and vision, the preservation of historic buildings and sites is possible.

Susannah Place Museum is a place to visit for lovers of heritage buildings who enjoy having a glimpse of the past.

Susannah Place Museum
58 - 64 Gloucester Street, The Rocks, NSW 2000
Tel: 61-2-9241-1893
Admission by guided tour only. 
Monday - Friday: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Weekends and NSW School holidays: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Winter closing 5 p.m. (June, July and August)

Nearest train station: Circular Quay and Wynyard.

 Also visit: Sydney, May 2012: A time to heal and to be inspired

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