You might have noticed that I quite like history. I spend my days reading and writing it, my nights dancing it and almost all of the time dressing it. Events like the '50s Fair make me really excited to be undertaking historical research. What a joy to see so many people enthusiastically exploring historic aesthetics and spending their Sunday in and around an icon of Australian mid-century domestic architecture; Rose Siedler House!
And yet, I found some aspects a little disappointing. It seemed like a ripe opportunity to teach visitors something about the house; or about our social, cultural or design heritage. Yet I did not encounter any discussion of architectural history and found no educational material available for perusal.
I won't pretend I didn't enjoy the spectacle of the event. You all know how much I love mid-century fashion! I loved to see how other people interpret 50's dress; the bands and dancing and fashion parade were all wonderful fun... but what about the house that inspired the whole business and moved over two thousand people to schlep out to Waroonga for a day? There were no tours, no talks, no pamphlets or explanations of the architecture or design. One might be forgiven for forgetting the building was there! It felt like a lost opportunity.
I would have loved a guided tour of the house; or a talk offering some insight into the design; a pamphlet helping me to understand Siedler's vision, or why this was so significant in Australia at the time? I can dress up and dance anywhere in town. I wish the Historic Houses Trust would make more of this captive audience next year and send us home with a better understanding of what Rose Siedler House meant in its historical context.