South Australia’s History Festival | 1-30 May 2021

South Australia’s History Festival 2021

South Australia’s History Festival is one of the largest open-access community events in SA with hundreds of fascinating places to explore, and exciting events and activities designed just for kids as well as events for the whole family from talks to tours, walks to workshops and exhibitions to special events.

Events happen anywhere: urban and rural, towns, cities and suburbs; in museums and libraries; in boats, trains and buses and mysterious buildings; on the street, by the beach and in nature

With almost 100 family-friendly events held across South Australia, there are plenty of opportunities for children to spark their curiosity and engage with our state’s history.

2021 Theme: Change

In 2021, the History Festival is exploring the theme of ‘change’. From political change to social change. Changing places, changing minds, changing hearts. Change for the better, change for the worse – on a big or a small scale – and everything in between. 

Family Friendly Program Highlights

There are some fantastic places to visit, events and activities for families and children at this year’s South Australian History Festival. See some of the highlights below or use the brand new SA History Festival website to search for family friendly events to create a wishlist. Many events are low-cost or free making them a great day out for families.

Adelaide Gaol’s annual History Day | Sunday 2 May

Adelaide Gaol’s annual History Day is back with $5.00 entry and activities for the whole family. Find out more here.

History Festival at the National Railway Museum | Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 May

A weekend of trains and entertainment! They will have drivers experiences on steam locomotive Peronne and Bluebird railcar Kestrel, various carriages (not usually open) ready for tours, the 1940s Cafe car will be open, as well as Dave’s catering van. Find out more here.

Jack and the Beanstalk at Ayers House Museum | Saturday 1 May

Tour a nineteenth-century mansion looking for story clues. Then go up to the nursery and hear a traditional English tale of cunning and courage told in the old way – without a book. Make your own Jack in the Beanstalk or a rocking cow to take home with you. Dress up for a family portrait, play board games or write a letter at Sir Henry Ayers’ desk. At the conclusion of the session stay and explore the museum at your leisure. Find out more here

Big Family Weekend – Presented by DreamBIG Children’s Festival | Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 May

A big weekend filled with activities, performances and fun for the whole family! With both free and ticketed events, exhibitions and food trucks galore, your adventure awaits! Click here for more info

Government House Open Day | 23 May 

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

Wonders of the South Australian Museum

The South Australian Museum invites you to explore its best-kept secrets in an exciting new exhibition, which draws from more than 4 million objects held in storage across its vast collections. This landmark exhibition will bring the stories of 165 incredible objects to life to commemorate the South Australian Museum’s 165th birthday in June 2021 – many of which have never been on public display before. Read more here.

wonders museum south australia

Navigate Dock 2 | Sunday 23 May

Kids can make a compass (will be supplied) and experience the challenge of navigating around Dock 2. See displays about the changes in navigation over the time from the clipper ship to the present. Click here for more info.

Decades of Change in a Primary School | Sunday 23 May

Through historical displays featuring stories of past teachers and students, experience how primary school education has changed since the 1890s. Participate in interactive activities for the whole family including board games of yesteryear, puzzles and crafts. Click here for more info.

Mount Barker Railway Heritage Festival | Sunday 23 May

A family-friendly open day at Mount Barker Railway Station featuring heritage railcar return trips to Bugle Ranges. Depot open for inspection (donation at gate). $2 section car rides (4 years and over), sausage sizzle, hot and cold refreshments, children’s entertainment and more. Click here for more info.

Glenelg Air-Raid Shelter Open Day | Sunday 16 May

Explore the Glenelg Air-Raid Shelter! Built in 1942 as part of Adelaide’s wartime communication network, the shelter now houses a display of local stories and memorabilia. Click here for more info

Historic Ketch Falie Open Day | Sunday 30 May 

The Historic Ketch Falie is berthed at McLaren Wharf at Port Adelaide. Join us for an authentic maritime experience on a small group tour of the ketch. Children can try the treasure hunt to help them identify and learn about various parts of the ketch. Click here for more info

Neo Teen Takeover: Time Warp | Saturday 8 May 

Go dressed in the get-up of your favourite decade and explore the time shifts through the Art Gallery of SA. Make some noise alongside some top South Australian creative organisations as part of SA Youth Week! Explore the iridescent world of crafting with Carly Snoswell, get extravagant in a high energy drag workshop with the Haus of Kong, rock out to a wicked line-up of musicians and much more. This event is exclusively for teens 13-17 years. Click here for more info


Follow the SA History Festival Facebook page HERE for updates


things to do in Adelaide for families

For more information and all enquiries please visit the History Festival website here 

What:   South Australia’s History Festival 

When:    1 – 30 May 2021 

Where:   Around South Australia 

Who:   Everyone 

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.

Image Source: supplied; SA History Festival event page; SA History Facebook page


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