Trunk Bar and DinerLOCATION: Trunk Bar and Diner, 275 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

As Melbourne’s normally bustling bars rest under coronavirus restrictions, it’s worth remembering the past lives these places have lived. Trunk Diner was originally the Mickveh Yisrael Synagogue and Hebrew School, built in 1859, before various incarnations under the Salvation Army as a free labour bureau, as a men’s industrial home and, following additions in 1897, as a women’s shelter, which was called Hope Hall. Hope Hall was a place for “slum work among women prostitutes”, before reinvention under Methodist Central Mission management after 1909, after which it included space for a kindergarten.

In 2020, Emily Soon’s work, “Shelter”, she reflects on the former Hope Hall but looks to the next generation. Emily’s work, with its quiet insistence and wistful exposition, asks: how can we grow the next generation to respond to crisis and change, to “take back their bodies”, to “know where to go”, without knowing the stories and songs of our places?



Beneath the quiet rumble of dinner dates
‘Sorry I’m lates’, ‘careful hot plate’
There’s a purpose, there’s a place
In history; its mysteries
Have I been here before?
A light flickers, a silent roar
So raw…
I’m snapped back in time, a door shuts

Children were here before
A young girl, sheltered from knowing something more If the roof were to cave in
Would she move left, right?
I wonder what she might’ve done
That young girl, how it felt to be
Rushing through the darkness
Unravelled, undone
If those stories were hidden, where would she sense to run? Her life forever changed?

These halls have an urgency in their core
She’ll take back her body
She’ll know where to go
This place is laced in hope I’m sure

Our children’s children and the choices they make When they’re too sheltered, they can’t bear the weight I struggle to picture the life I’ve begun
Without having known stories and songs
Singing of struggle, questioning faith
In places where I’m sheltered today

This work is a part of the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre collaboration, Taking Space, for Feminist Journeys, featured as a part of the 2020 Feminist Writers Festival.


Emily Soon

Author: Emily Soon

Like toasted marshmallows over a campfire, singer-songwriter Emily Soon will warm your heart. Melbourne-born and raised, her music illuminates the universal human emotions from stories inspired by travel, newfound independence and profound changes in life. Emily’s soothing, velvety voice almost reminiscent of Tracy Chapman, Norah Jones or Bonnie Raitt will leave you serenaded and mesmerised. 2020 has seen Emily take on new heights with her soaring single ‘Love is The Loneliest Place’, followed by an alternate version featuring Invictus Quartet. Despite changing plans in unprecedented times – including the postponement of an ambitious performance with the quartet at Melbourne Recital Centre – she has embraced collaborating remotely on a mixture of projects. Captured in a humble home studio, her latest release showcases Whitney Houston’s iconic ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ in a personal and emotional new light.

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