|Travel at Home at the Sydney Murugan Temple.|
|Travel at Home with Samoan dancers.|
Travel at Home with the Sierra Leone community.
Travel at Home tours of diverse
‘Food for the mind and spirit’
Where can you participate in a Japanese tea ceremony? See dirty industrial sites transformed into parks and playgrounds? Find three Buddhist temples and an Orthodox church within walking distance of one another? Enjoy a feast prepared by Cambodian, Tanzanian or Polish ladies? Find hidden paths to ancient rock carvings?
Right here in Sydney. Travel at Home tours, collaborations with Sydney's diverse communities, put people in touch with one another, face to face, on their home grounds. From Mosman Community College, groups travelled by coach to churches, temples and community centres, parks, markets and gardens, clubs, businesses and historical sites to see how people work, play, celebrate and worship. Through discussion, performance, experience and demonstration we found out about new worlds on our doorstep.
Travel at Home tours, 2001-2016, were collaborations between communities and Diana Giese, who has for decades worked with groups all over Australia, through projects which have produced Web material, oral histories, books, videos, reports, radio and TV programs, exhibitions and media coverage. ‘In every community there are a few key people, movers and shakers, motivators and organisers, who get things going and keep them happening,’ she says. ‘We worked with them to get together an enjoyable and informative day out.’
Each tour, held on a weekend day, gave participants the opportunity to meet new people and discover different places and experiences. People came from all over Sydney–and beyond. Many became regular participants. There were husbands and wives and groups of friends. Their backgrounds reflected the diverse cultures of our city: Chinese, Greek, Indian, Estonian and Scottish, for instance.
Here are some of Travel at Home participants’ comments:
‘A must-see eye-opener to unknown Sydney’
‘A thriving community, full of surprises’
‘So well prepared, so passionate, so involved’
‘Interesting human historical facts and explanations of place names’
‘It’s good to explore. This was the first time I’d seen these places. Very knowledgeable guides’
‘I really appreciated moving out of my comfort zone. Very well organised, and with congenial people’
Diana Giese worked in Uganda, travelled through East and West Africa and has since lived, worked and explored Europe, Asia and the USA. Her work across communities for educational institutions, museums and libraries at national, state and local level is reflected in several of her books and many of her articles.
She organised numerous public programs with Sydney communities besides Travel at Home tours, including Reclaiming the Past and Changing Sydney tours (1996-2003 at the Museum of Sydney) and Living Library (2002-04 at Fairfield Libraries). These involved hundreds of participants.
Records of the tours have been collected by the State Library of New South Wales
Access them (call number MLMSS10040) at https://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/research-and-collections
and search the Catalogue by entering 'Diana Giese, Travel at Home tours'
During the final 2016 tour, people commented on their overall experiences:
'Travel at Home has been part of our lives for 10 years or more. These tours have added so much to our experience. We consider the few dollars spent as the best investment we have made in our lives.'
'Every one I have been on has been an interesting experience, educational and fun. Have come away with a deeper understanding of our communities.'
'All of the different communities and areas visited have been interesting eye-openers to hidden gems around Sydney, and the many interesting people living and working here. Diana, thank you for all the hard work you have put in over the years, researching and organising all our trips and introducing us to so many different communities we would not otherwise have known about...Peter was a good driver who got us through some tight corners expertly, always with a friendly smile. Susan was a fantastic lunch-money collector.'
'Each tour has been different, different cultures, markets, artists. I have enjoyed them all.'
'How could you leave us?'
Pictures courtesy Daphne and Dom Gonzalvez, Stan Hoy and Anne Woodcock