Returning from the not-so-final frontier

For the past few days, I have abandoned my daily blogging but I did say that it was going to be a crazy series of days leading to my departure. I have now returned home and am sitting with cat and a tea in hand to write about the exciting final days of my Sydney adventures.

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On Monday, I was speaking for the SLM Library staff, which was a bit of a test run for the conference the next day. Set in the beautiful Elizabeth Bay House, which I have vlogged all about and is soon to appear on my YouTube channel, the staff where excited to hear about what Jeanice Brookes from the University of Southampton has been up to with Sound Heritage in the UK, the current research being undertaken in SLMs historic homes such as Rouse Hill House, which is the subject of Nicole Forsyth’s PhD, the previous collaborative activities of SLM and the Sydney Conservatorium who worked together to create the Dowling Project beautifully delivered by Matt Stephens and my research in the Stewart Symonds collection. They also had some music thrown in to demonstrate the potential for music making in the historic home as well as hearing the music from the collections. All in all, it was a really nice way to discuss what we have all been up to and get a sneak preview of what was to come in the conference.

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Tuesday was the first of hopefully many 1-day conferences entitled Sound Heritage Sydney. The day was jam-packed with speakers, music, mingling, good food and company. The most striking part of the day, which doesn’t often happen in conferences, is that every paper crossed-over to discuss similar insights and topics. This is quite exciting as it means there is the potential for a much more joined up research projects that will look more in depth at domestic music making in 19th-century NSW (and perhaps even wider Australia). The day was so inspiring and I was pleased to be able to meet so many people with a deep interest in what we have been up to. I also managed to catch up with some of the people I have the pleasure to meet throughout my journey including Professor Ian Jack from St Andrew’s College and the Stewart Symonds of the Stewart Symonds collection. Matt, who was the creator of this wonderful event certainly outdid himself and I hope that there will be a future for research projects and conferences under the banner Sound Heritage Sydney.

Before I knew it, my trip was coming to an end. I spent my last day (which was also my birthday), enjoying the amazing city of Sydney. It was one of the warmest days of my trip and I was able to see some of the places I had been wanting to see but had not found the time including the Chinese Gardens of Friendship and the Museum of Sydney. I also squeezed in a final ferry ride across the water seeing the iconic harbour bridge and opera house.

This may be the end of my journey, but it is not the end of my adventures. Next month (in fact just 5 days from now) I will be embarking on another fellowship in Chawton House, which I will also be writing daily blogs all about. And this is certainly not going to be the last time I visit Sydney, whether as a tourist or a researcher. There are so many things I didn’t manage to see and there is certainly much more potential for the collections.

For now, I will be taking some much needed rest but join me here in a few days time to join me on my next research quest!

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