Imaginative stories

We invite you to discover various stories about our museum objects in our new exhibition, All things great and small. Teal-coloured panels reveal the objects’ history, orange labels encourage you to share your personal memories, whereas pink-coloured labels present imaginative stories created by the Discovery Writers Group.

The Discovery Writers Group was invited to hold a writing workshop at the Museum & Gallery earlier this year. About 12 participants had the opportunity to get up close with selected collection objects to investigate, discuss and get creative.

Discovery Writers group workshop in March 2017.

After a few weeks of creative writing time, we received many interesting, funny, sad and quirky stories. Most participants submitted stories for various objects. One story per participant was finally included in the exhibition.

In this blog post we would like to reveal more great stories:

Little basket what do you know? So many secrets you could whisper to me. What did you hide inside your green interior, which still looks so clean and pristine? You were much loved, weren’t you? What was it? Was it pins and needles, bits and bobs, diamond rings – heirlooms from Gran’? Or love letters from ‘HIM’ – a secret love. Where is he now? Did you elope?  Was he forsaken for another?  Or maybe a baby’s tooth!  What are your secrets? Oh! If only you could tell your secrets to me to release the history that might be hidden within them.  Sshh!  Silence for ever.

H.1980.18. Small cane box. Hurstville Museum & Gallery collection.


In the future, someone will ask, ‘What’s that?’ This place of fire formerly stood in the main bar of a hotel. The pub burnt down in mysterious circumstances.

Was a rival cremated in this fireplace? Was this a ‘house’ of unspeakable crime? Did the occupants practise cannibalism?

A neighbour, who lived near the corner, told of riotous nights and eerie morning smoke. He said human bones had been found in the ashes.

His stories captivated local drinkers, who couldn’t wait to hear the next graphic instalment. So many stories from a known joker. But the fire place remains as proof, fire can set imagination aflame.

H.1980.404. Fireplace. Hurstville Museum & Gallery collection.

‘Now I reckon Legends are a dime a dozen these days, the title handed out like tickets to a chook raffle.

Now me, I consider meself a dinky-di Legend. First of me kind to appear in a Colonial kitchen. Me mistress loved to show me off to all her friends. She even used to massage me with animal fats to keep me in top working order. A bit like them footy Legends after a hard game. Of course I’ve seen lots of changes since the early days. The younger ones of me kind have become so sophisticated they don’t want to talk to the likes of me. Now and again I do bump into some of me old mates at a swap meet or garage sale and we talk about old times.’

H.1980.154. Mincer. Hurstville Museum & Gallery collection.

This message book’s cover is faded, tattered and weather beaten, like my spelling textbook from Year 6 , in 1968. It was full of endless lists of unusual words, metered out once a week to be learnt for the dreaded Friday Dictation. They were so obtuse in meaning that they made no sense to me-a sheltered , 11year old, suburban girl.

R.2001.30. Message book. Hurstville Museum & Gallery collection.

My mother was a dressmaker and a milliner in her ‘other life’ (before we were born.) She made all of our clothes as well as hers. She took over our dining room table with patterns and material trying to weasel out the most material for the least cost. This darning kit reminds me of her vast supplies of sewing: the needles, the silkos, the wooden reels, her heavy cutting scissors. Woe betide if we used her scissors on paper!

H.1980.1864. Darning kit. Hurstville Museum & Gallery collection.

What comes to your mind when you look at the objects?
Come and explore our exhibition. All things great and small is on show at Hurstville Museum & Gallery from 22 July – 15 October 2017.

For more information on the Discovery Writers, visit

Writing Group Workshop
Stretch your imagination with an informal meeting of the Kogarah Writers Group. Have some fun with a short writing exercise and listen to some imaginative stories from members of the group.

Wednesday 20 September 2017, 10.30am – 11.30am
Hurstville Museum & Gallery

Free event. Light refreshments provided.  Bookings essential from the ‘what’s on’ page at



One comment

  1. As a member of dicovery writers I really enjoyed participating in this exhibition. It allowed our imaginations to run riot and every object told their story in their own unique way.

    Liked by 1 person

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