York Residency Museum is offering people the opportunity to see what Christmas would have been like if they had lived in York in 1901. 

It has an exhibition with Christmas cards hanging above the table where preparations for Christmas Day are taking place and brings life in the past to reality. The scene is Christmas Day in the household of a typical struggling farming family who lived at York.  They had a house in Buckingham Road and a farm in the Needling Hills. 

Samuel Taylor and his sons ran the farm while the daughters, Minnie, Connie and Bessie, kept house and went on to become schoolteachers. Details of their lives are taken from the diaries of the Taylor sisters. Shopping, transport breakdowns, visiting beggars and picking fruit at night are all carefully recorded along with the price of everything.

An entry on December 23, 1901 shows that they, “went to Dewars…he had not a card in the place” and on Christmas Day “we all had dinner excepting Father who stayed at the farm”.

Museum Curator, Carol Littlefair, said that the display contained some of the exquisite late Victorian Christmas cards that other people sent them. "The whole exhibition revolves around a stunning selection of the museum's objects and gives an insight into the home, leisure and personal lives of four very different women who are part of York's history," she said.

"A bush picnic scene tells how a little girl, Jessie, was scalded to death by coffee urns and contrasts with the gorgeous gowns worn by the wealthy women of the district and stories of Noongar women’s lives," Ms Littlefair said.

The Museum is open from 1.00pm to 3.00pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and 11.00am to 3.30pm at weekends. Entry is free to residents of the Shire of York. It will be closed from December 20 to January 3. People can buy copies of the museum's Christmas card collection to send to friends and relatives.

Visits for groups of 10 or more can be arranged at any time by appointment. For further information please contact Carol Littlefair on 9641 1751 or by email

ABOVE: John and Verity Campbell from Donnybrook admire the York Residency Museum's Christmas display.