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A good book and a good coffee

REDFERN: Café owner-managers Georgia Woodyard and Anne Cooper are passionate about quality coffee and café-style dining. Their Scout’s Honour café at 118 George Street, opposite the fire station, is a thriving business. In the month of the literary event that was the publication of Harper Lee’s second novel (like the first and famous, To Kill A Mockingbird, the “follow-up” centres on the character – and café namesake – Scout Finch), Georgia took time to reflect on life and work in the neighbourhood.

Anne Cooper reads Go Set A Watchman at Scout's Honour café (Photo: Kat Hines)

Is this your first café business? Have you had similar or related work experience before coming to Redfern?

This is my first café although I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for years, on and off. After I moved to Redfern to live I knew I wanted to open my business here. I’ve lived all over Sydney, but never felt a sense of community like I do in Redfern.

What would you say are the most striking or important features of your cafe? What do you hope people notice when they come to eat in or purchase takeaway?

I think the first thing people notice is that my kids (staff/Scout family) are all super charming and lovely. They love Scouts and have a great time working with each other, and I think their good vibes and energy rub off on anyone who comes to Scout’s.

The second thing I think is the food. We use a lot of fresh produce straight from the market that day, and try to make sure everything we put out is a little bit special, even if it’s as simple as avocado on toast.

What do you enjoy most about the business? What do you enjoy most about working in Redfern?

I love how our customers come to Scout’s every day, sometimes twice a day. I love that we know nearly all of our customers on a personal level whether they are working or living in Redfern.

In what ways is the business inspired by the character of Jean Louise “Scout” Finch? Can you say a little about the genesis of this inspiration?

I read To Kill A Mockingbird in primary school and completely fell in love with the character Scout. She was such a fierce tomboy and I could relate to that. When we were talking about names for the cafe I knew I wanted a tomboy-inspired name and Scout was the obvious choice. That, paired with the fact I was in the Boy Scouts growing up, led to the name Scout’s Honour.

Harper Lee’s newly published novel Go Set A Watchman sees Scout as a woman in her 20s return to the small town where she grew up. In some respects this is a jarring experience for her. Are there social issues/attitudes of our day you imagine we might find jarring or offensive from a future perspective?

Ha. This is a loaded question. It’s hard, you know, because living in Redfern I feel like I live in this bubble where there is a real acceptance of social diversity that you definitely don’t get outside this suburb.

Of course, I think that the future selves will look back on and be embarrassed by some of our attitudes now. But this is a part of human evolution and while we have come a long way … there is still a long way to go with many social issues/attitudes.

Your favourite hot beverage to enjoy while reading a good book?

A good coffee, of course! I’m a Soy Flat White girl.

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