South Australia’s History Festival | Family Friendly Highlights | 28 Apr – 31 May 2018

South Australia’s 2018 History Festival

The History Festival is all about South Australian history. From April 28 to May 31, thousands of people will explore our state’s 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 hundreds of 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 Highlights

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

For the full Family Friendly Program CLICK HERE.


STEAMRANGER HERITAGE RAILWAY  |  Mount Barker Railway Station Open Day

Open day at Mount Barker Railway Station. A family-friendly open day featuring heritage railcar return trips to Gemmells. Return fares: Adults $15, children (4 to 16 years) $10. $2 section car rides, rail history displays, free train themed children’s activities, barbecue, hot and cold refreshments, musical entertainment and more.

Sunday 27 May 2018 – 10am-4pm.  Mount Barker Railway Station, Dunbar Rd, Mount Barker.  (FREE; Bookings not required)

CHILDREN’S UNIVERSITY ADELAIDE  |  Touchstones Trail (History Trust of South Australia)

Join in the fun with an interactive and multi-sensory self-guided North Terrace experience created by kids for kids. Explore a different North Terrace with your family and friends. Download a copy of the Touchstones Trail from the Children’s University Australia website, go to the ‘SA Learning Destination’s’ page and search for History Trust of SA.

Trail runs between Kintore Ave & Frome Rd, North Tce, Adelaide.  (FREE; Bookings not required)


Kids aged 8-15 can come along and learn how much fun quilting is and will make something special for Mother’s Day the following week. Everything you need to make mum a special gift is supplied.

Sunday 6 May 2018 – 1pm, 2pm or 3pm (1 hour sessions).  (FREE; Bookings essential – click here)

JAPAN AUSTRALIA FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION  |  Kodomo no Hi Japan Festival (Children’s Day)

The Kodomo no Hi Japan Festival (Children’s Day) is a celebration of South Australia’s links with Japan and an opportunity for Japanese residents to take pride in their heritage. The festival presents a variety of performances, exhibitions and demonstrations related to Japan, along with food and craft stalls, workshops and games. A special feature of this year’s event will be a display showing the history of South Australia’s contacts with Japan, the social and cultural ties that have developed and the organisations involved. A video link will allow local children to communicate with their counterparts in Japan. Bookings not required.

Sunday 6 May 2018 – 11am-4pm.  Thebarton Community Centre, cnr South Rd & Ashwin Pde, Torrensville.  Per Person: $2/Family: $5.

ADELAIDE METROPOLITAN BRANCH, NATIONAL TRUST OF SA  |  William Light’s Voyage to School: Children’s Adventure Story Workshop

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, 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).

Saturday 5 May 2018 – 10.30am (1 hr).  Adelaide South West Community Centre, 171 Sturt St, Adelaide.  (FREE; Bookings essential – click here)


How well do you remember the 1960s? The bright sparks at Modbury South Primary have worked with the Community History team at the Tea Tree Gully Library to learn about the 1960s. The kids are converting part of the library into a pop-up museum and curating a fascinating exhibition dedicated to the 1960s. A studio space will be established so visitors can creatively interpret the exhibition and display their creations.

19-31 May 2018 (during library hours) – City of Tea Tree Gully Library, 571 Montague Rd, Modbury.  (FREE; Bookings required for groups only)

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN AVIATION MUSEUM  | History of Flight, World Events, Famous Pilots & Historic Aircraft

Visit the Aviation Museum, and discover the history of flight in South Australia, 1910 to the present day. With 21 aircraft on display, and special exhibitions about the First and Second World Wars, there’s something for everyone. Group guided tours available (minimum of 10 people), or explore at your own pace.

Daily, 10.30am-4.30pm (last admission 4pm).  Aviation Museum, 66 Lipson St, Port Adelaide.  Adult: $10/Conc: $8/Child: $5/Family: $25.  (Bookings required for groups only).

BERRI VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE – COBDOGLA STEAM & IRRIGATION MUSEUM  |  Cobdogla Steam & Irrigation Museum Sundays & Mother’s Day Train Rides

Cobdogla Steam & Irrigation Museum has a unique display of irrigation and steam equipment used in the inception of the irrigation and development of land by early settlers to the region.  A wonderful array of equipment, machinery, photos and interesting facts just waiting to be discovered. At 2pm take a Diesel Train ride along vineyards, the Humphrey Pump channel and through the Museum; a real treat for adults and children alike.  Special Mother’s Day train rides available between 11am and 4pm on Sunday 13 May. Run by volunteers and enthusiasts, the Museum is a Sunday treat for all the family.  Call before 1pm on Sundays to confirm train rides are operating.

Museum open every Sunday in May, 9am-4pm. Diesel train rides at 2pm each Sunday.  Special Mother’s Day train rides on Sunday 13 May between 11am-4pm. Group bookings available at other times by appointment.  Cobdogla Steam & Irrigation Museum, Park Tce, Cobdogla.  Per Person: train rides: $5.  Child: (under 5) train rides: free (Bookings required for groups only)

ADELAIDE GAOL  |  History Day

Learn about the lives, crimes and often gruesome deaths of some of South Australia’s pettiest thieves and most dangerous criminals at the Adelaide Gaol’s annual History Day.  New this year will be exhibitions of never before displayed artefacts, along with official documents, mug shots of inmates and old Gaol uniforms.  There’s something to keep the whole family entertained, including a jumping castle, face painting, food and refreshments.

Sunday 6 May 2018 – 10am-4pm.  Adelaide Gaol, 18 Gaol Rd, Thebarton.  (Per Person: $5 (cash only) Bookings not required).

GOVERNMENT HOUSE ADELAIDE  |  Government House Open Day

His Excellency the Governor of South Australia and Mrs Le invite you to visit the oldest Government House in Australia. This is a rare opportunity to wander and learn about the public rooms, current workings of the House and explore the gardens, either on a free guided tour or at your own leisure.

Sunday 29 April 2018 – 10am-4pm.  Government House, cnr North Tce & King William Rd, Adelaide.  (FREE; Bookings not required)


As the Pioneer Women’s Trail walkers descend from Hahndorf, join a special harvest celebration with live music, food, wine and produce in the beautiful autumn splendour of the Beaumont House gardens. Lend a hand picking olives in the famous 150 year old grove to make the famous Davenport Olive Oil.

Sunday 20 May 2018  |  11am-4pm.  Beaumont House, 631 Glynburn Rd, Beaumont.  Adult: $10 at the gate/Free entry for Pioneer Women’s Trail Walkers/Member: $8 National Trust/Child: Under 15 free (Booking not required)

AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY OF MAGICIANS  |  Falling Bombs and Floating Cards

Would you like to see a magic show? Join the oldest magic club in Australia in their underground clubrooms for some history, some nostalgia and a live magic performance suitable for families of all ages. This is a rare opportunity to look behind the scenes of this most secretive of performing arts. Come behind the smoke and mirrors, and tour Australia’s only magic clubrooms.

Saturday 19 & Sunday 20 May 218 – 1pm, 2.30pm & 4pm.  Thebarton Air Raid Shelter, cnr South Rd & Ashley St, Thebarton.  Per Person: $5 (Bookings essential – click here)


This year the Police Historical Society Open Day at the Thebarton Police Barracks will focus on Police Transport and Road Safety Approaches over the years. The Police museum will be open with its extensive collection of Police badges and uniforms from around the world along with its renown collection of SA Police historical photographs and memorabilia. As well as our collection of historic Police vehicles we will have a number of privately owned historic Police vehicles on display. BBQ lunch and afternoon tea available.

Sunday 6 May 2018 – 10am-2pm.  Thebarton Police Barracks, 1 Gaol Rd, Adelaide.  Adult: $5 (Bookings not required)

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 28 April – 31 May 2018

Where:  Various Locations throughout South Australia

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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