South Australia’s History Festival | 1-31 May 2017

South Australia’s History Festival is happening again in 2017!

The History Festival is all about South Australian history. From 1 to 31 May, thousands of people will explore our history through events which range from walks to websites, talks to tours, and exhibitions to special events. Have you ever wanted to see inside Glenside Hospital’s infamous Z Ward? Or get underground, in the Treasury tunnels? Have you ever wanted to know the secrets of a Showgirl, or wondered about Hollywood’s first Australian?

The whole month of May is packed full of events from every region in South Australia. With over 600 activities to choose from, there is definitely something for everyone – tours, talks, walks, exhibitions, kids’ events, concerts, dinners and more – exploring all kinds of history.

The History Festival is one of South Australia’s largest community events and promotes the State’s wonderful collections, places and stories through an amazing range of history related activities.

The Festival, which began in 2004 as SA History Week, has grown each year, becoming a month-long festival which now attracts over 340 different event organisers all around South Australia.

Family Friendly Events

There are plenty of events suitable for history-buffs of all ages. Here are some great family-friendly events for you to add to your calendar!

Ayers House Family Open Day

Passed by Ayers House a thousand times? Seize this chance to come inside! Explore the nooks and crannies of Adelaide’s finest Victorian era mansion. Learn what life was like in the 19th century, discover secret treasures and dress up in Victorian garb. Part of the 2017 DreamBig Festival.  Click here for more information.
Ayers House Museum | 288 North Tce, Adelaide
Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 May 2017 | 10am – 3.30pm

Ayers House After Dark

Step back in time to 1876 and join Butler (Mr Wilkins), Housekeeper (Mrs Galvin) and Cook (Mrs Jenkins) on this special visit to Ayers House. The Master and Lady are out for the evening and staff are ready to show you through as they prepare for an upcoming State Dinner.  Click here for more information.
Ayers House Museum | 288 North Tce, Adelaide
Friday 12 & 26 May 2017 | 6.30pm – 7.30pm

Carclew Open House

Carclew House was built on Kaurna Land in 1897 and transformed into a youth arts organisation in 1971. Discover the house and its cultural jewels in a family-friendly open day with tours for the talls and creative activities for the smalls. Click here for more information.
Carclew House | 11 Jeffcott St, North Adelaide
Sunday 28 May 2017 | 10am – 4pm

Chocolate Coated History

A chocolate adventure like no other. This display is a must see with every room depicting all things chocolate. See the historical timeline, weird and wonderful facts and enjoy many fun activities. Excite all your senses and enjoy the chocolate buffet. Unique gifts available.  Click here for more information.
Tea Tree Gully Heritage Museum | 3 Perseverance Rd, Tea Tree Gully
Wednesday 17 – Sunday 21 May 2017 | 10am – 2pm

Centenary of Armistice Day: Bringing the ANZAC Centenary to Life

Step back in time 100 years to experience what life was like for South Australians during World War I. This interactive workshop brings history to life with a pop-up museum and introduces the Centenary of Armistice Day Project: innovative, youth-led and bringing the Centenary of ANZAC to life.  Click here for more information.
RSL Memorial Hall | Torrens Parade Ground | Victoria Drive, Adelaide
Saturday 27 May 2017 | 11.30am – 3.30pm

Colour Mapping: Interactive Workshops on Art, Diversity and Identity

Walk through South Australia’s history at the Migration Museum, then enter a colourful, culturally-rich environment to ask ‘who am I?’ and ‘where am I from?’. Create an abstract painting about yourself, part of a larger ‘colour map’ to take home. Led by The Art Bus for the DreamBIG Family Weekend.  Click here for more information.
Migration Museum | 82 Kintore Ave, Adelaide
Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 May 2017 | 12pm, 1pm & 2pm

Victoriana: Old Fashioned Day of Play

Take the children back to the Victorian era for a day of old fashioned games and play! Enjoy stories, music and dress-ups, feed baby farm animals and try some parlour and outdoor games from long ago. Refreshments available and Devonshire teas will be served on the veranda of Beaumont House. (read more here)
Beaumont House | 631 Glynburn Rd, Beaumont
Sunday 30 April 2017 | 11am – 4pm

Kids’ Tour: Centre of Democracy

Be amongst the first to explore this new attraction. This family-focused tour will be led by the project curator, and will include hands-on activities. Dive into some awesome SA stories and take the opportunity to have your say about the things that matter to you. Click here for more information.
Centre of Democracy, Institute Building | corner of North Terrace & Kintore Avenue, Adelaide
Sunday 28 May 2017 | 10.30m – 11.15am

Adelaide Gaol History Day

This year’s Adelaide Gaol annual History Day comes with new exhibits and displays, including original documents, artefacts, period costumes and uniforms, photos, author signings and more. Good family fun including face painting, lawn activities and rides for the kids with food and drinks on sale.  Click here for more information.
Adelaide Gaol | 18 Gaol Rd, Thebarton
Sunday 28 May 2017 | 10am – 4pm

Government House Open Day

Government House has been the home of every Governor since the House was built in 1839. Explore its public rooms and gardens and learn how Government House is used in the present day. Children’s activities will also take place throughout the day to coincide with the DreamBIG Family Weekend.  Click here for more information.
Government House | cnr King William Rd & North Tce, Adelaide
Sunday 21 May 2017 | 10am – 4pm

Guided Aviation Tours

History of flight in South Australia, 1910 to present day. Guided tours (up to 90 mins) with access into four aircraft. Minimum 10 people for a tour. Family-friendly tours available. Aircraft are not accessible by wheelchair.  Click here for more information.
South Australian Aviation Museum | 66 Lipson St, Port Adelaide
Every day in May 2017 | 10.30am – 3pm

Enfield Heritage Museum at Historic Sunnybrae Farm

The former Enfield Council area was predominantly a farming community up until post war immigration. Come view historical artefacts and memorabilia of this time gone by, including exhibits covering farming, kitchen, technology, the corner store, cameras and furniture collected and preserved by the former Enfield and Districts Historical Society.  Click here for more information.
Sunnybrae Farm | 1 Narweena Rd, Regency Park
Sunday 7 May 2017 | 10am – 2pm

Children’s Adventure Story Workshop: William Light’s Voyage to School

Explore the world with William Light on his first adventure, sailing around the globe to school when he was six: seeing tea loaded in China and the volcano Krakatoa, and crossing the Equator. This show & tell workshop for children discovers William’s multi-lingual story (English, Malay, Chinese, French, Spanish, Greek).  Click here for more information.
Adelaide South West Community Centre | 171 Sturt St, Adelaide
Saturday 6 May 2017 | 10.30am (60 mins)

Captain Clancy and the Ghost Ship

When Clancy is given a real-life sailing ship by her grandfather she thinks it’s the worst thing in the world…until she finds out the ship is HAUNTED! Can she stop the evil ghoul Captain Barron from taking over the ship and resuming his dastardly ways? Free with Museum entry.  Click here for more information.
South Australian Maritime Museum | 126 Lipson St, Port Adelaide
Sunday 14 May 2017 | 11am & 1pm (30 mins)

Kaurna Reconciliation Walk: National Reconciliation Week

Join Kaurna guide, Frank Wanganeen, on a Kaurna walk to reflect on shared histories and on the contributions of Kaurna during annual National Reconciliation Week, 27 May to 3 June. These dates are historic milestones in reconciliation, namely the 1967 referendum (27 May) and the 1992 Mabo decision (3 June).  Click here for more information.
Elder Park Rotunda | King William Rd, Adelaide
Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 May 2017 | 10.30am – 12.30pm

Imagine the Past: Schmidt-Rodert Farm & Bake Oven

Explore the only surviving complex of farmyard buildings in the Hahndorf Main Street. Imagine the life of the early Prussian settlers at this humble conservation site dating from 1840. Taste and buy traditional Kuchen and bread baked in the 19th century corbelled oven fired up for this family open day.  Click here for more information.
Schmidt- Rodert Farm Complex | 20 Main St, Hahndorf
Sunday 21 May 2017 | 11am – 3pm

Imagine the Past: Traditional Crafts, Skills and Trades

Imagine nineteenth century village life. Discover how things are made by contemporary craft makers demonstrating traditional craft skills and trades. See basket weaving, spinning, pottery, drystone-walling, felt making, calligraphy, wood turning, blacksmithing, butter churning, washing day and period costumes. A fun day for the family. Click here for more information
Hahndorf Academy | 68 Main St, Hahndorf
Sunday 21 May 2017 | 11am – 4pm

Blacksmithing Amidst Rustic Charm in Angaston

The Angaston and Penrice Historical Society is showing the newly acquired Doddridge Blacksmith Shop museum. A blacksmith will demonstrate the techniques that existed in 19th century rural areas of South Australia. The tour guide will show you more rooms and equipment going back to 1836. Click here for more information.
Thursday 4 & Friday 5 May 2017 | 10am – 4pm | Sat 6 & Sun 7 May 2017 | 1pm – 4pm

Imagine Living Like an Early German Settler

Come and experience what life was like for the early German settlers of Light Pass. Wander through the unique 4-roomed pug cottage, full of historical items. Behind the cottage is the schoolroom, the cellar, and shed with farming implements. A delicious morning/afternoon tea of typical Barossa goodies is included. Click here for more information
Luhrs Cottage | 407 Light Pass Rd, Light Pass
Saturday 6 May 2017 | 10am – 3pm 

The Fort by Lamplight

Military drill, historic uniforms, cannon fire, volley firing with Martini-Henry carbines and the pomp and ceremony of the 1880s, all delivered by lamplight to conjure the atmosphere of the 19th century. Click here for more information
Fort Glanville | 159 Military Rd, Semaphore Park
Sunday 21 May 2017 | 1pm – 4pm

Falling Bombs and Floating Cards

Join the oldest magic club in Australia, in their underground club rooms for some history, some nostalgia and a magic show. A rare opportunity to look behind the scenes of this most secretive of performing arts. Look behind the smoke and mirrors and tour Australia’s only Magic club rooms. Click here for more information
Second World War Air-Raid Shelter | cnr South Rd & Ashley St, Torrensville
Saturday 6 & 20 and Sunday 7 & 21 May 2017 | One hour tour and magic performance at 1pm, 2.30pm & 4pm

Open Day at Police Historical Society

This year, the SA Police Historical Society celebrates one hundred years of the Barracks. Incudes performances by the Police Band, tours of the Mounted Division stables as well as access to the Police Museum and historic Police vehicles. Refreshments and BBQ available. Click here for more information.
Thebarton Police Barracks | 1 Gaol Rd, Adelaide
Sunday 7 May 2017 | 10am – 2pm

Day in the Life of a Colonial Soldier

See (and hear!) the firing of historic cannon. Watch military drill of the 19th century, and the volley firing of the Martini-Henry Carbines. Take a guided tour of Australia’s best-preserved colonial fort, and see the life of the colonial soldier. Children may also be asked to join the drill squad! Click here for more information.
Fort Glanville | 159 Military Rd, Semaphore Park
Sunday 21 May 2017 | 1pm – 4pm

Glenelg Air Raid Shelter Open Day

Built in 1942 as part of an extensive wartime communication network, the Glenelg Air Raid Shelter now houses a display of local community stories and memorabilia. New WWI exhibition, From the Bay to the Battlefield, details the efforts of local soldiers, nurses and the Glenelg Cheer-Up Society. Click here for more information
Glenelg Air Raid Shelter | Rugless Tce (next to Glenelg Oval), Glenelg East
Monday 8 May 2017 | 10.00-11.00am & 11.30am-12.30pm

There are many, many more events to choose from so be sure to visit the official History Festival website for the complete program.  Please check the details of each event before attending as some require bookings.  Whilst many of the events are free to attend, there are entry fees at some venues.


For more information and all enquiries please visit the South Australia’s History Festival website.

What:  South Australia’s History Festival

When:  1-31 May 2017

Where:  Various Locations

Who:  All Ages

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

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