The veil of secrecy surrounding the use of folk magic to protect Australians and their houses in the period 1788 – 1935 will be lifted during a lecture at the Museum of Sydney on 24 June.  Dr. Ian Evans, a former resident of Glebe and the author of numerous books on the history and conservation of old houses, has uncovered some startling new information on a ritual that is thought to be thousands of years old. It came to Australia as part of the cultural baggage of convicts and settlers and survived in great secrecy into the jazz age.
Previously unknown to Australian historians, the ritual involved the concealment in sealed voids in houses and other buildings of old shoes, worn-out garments, dead cats and a variety of domestic artefacts.  These objects, intended to decoy evil spiritual beings away from people, have been found in more than a hundred and twenty houses and other buildings throughout Australia and comprise the material culture of a ritual that is no-where recorded in the documentary archive.
Dr. Evans is the author of numerous books on the history and conservation of old Australian houses. His folk magic research has so far taken more than six years and has resulted in the award of a PhD from the University of Newcastle.
His talk at the Museum of Sydney, on the corner of Bridge and Phillip Streets, at 2.00 pm on 24 June is free with Museum admission.  For further information contact Ian Evans on 02 6684 7677 or via email to