South Australia’s History Festival | 27 Apr – 31 May 2019

South Australia’s 2019 History Festival

The History Festival is all about South Australian history. From April 27 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.

The 2019 festival begins with Open Doors from 27 to 29 April – three days of events focusing on heritage buildings and architectural history.

Family Friendly Highlights

Discover the unique story of Adelaide Gaol at it’s annual History Day.

Operational for 147 years, approximately 300,000 prisoners passed through the Gaol’s doors, with 45 executions carried out.

This year, the staff at Adelaide Gaol have been working hard behind the scenes to bring you a new and exciting exhibition, with a collection of officer hats from the last century on display as well as the official opening of the Gaol Library.

There’s something to keep the whole family entertained, including a jumping castle, face painting, food and refreshments.

Read more here

Sunday 5 May 2019 | 10am – 4pm | 18 Gaol Road, Thebarton

Old Treasury and Tunnels Tour

Journey through winding hallways and underground chambers to meet the colourful characters and deep history behind one of Adelaide’s oldest colonial buildings. From riots and floods to historic reforms, the Treasury sat at the heart of South Australia’s political life – come explore its secrets and forgotten stories. Bookings essential.
Sunday 28 April 2019 | Saturday 4, 11 & 18 May | Sunday 5, 12, 19, 26 May, 11am & 1pm (60-75 mins) | Adina Treasury Hotel, 2 Flinders St, Adelaide



Barossa Museum Escape Room

Journey through time and decode the story of the Barossa at the Barossa Museum. What will be revealed? Are the eyes in the portrait following you? Journey from room to room discovering the secrets of the German settlers, climb the creaking stairs and be the first to open the door to a new challenge before you can escape. Solve the clues, retrieve the items and escape back to 2019 before your time is up. A supervised family friendly event for ages 10 and up on Thursdays or join in the family challenge on Saturday. Bookings essential.

Every Thursday in May, 4-6pm | Saturday 18 May, 1-4pm | Barossa Museum, 47 Murray St, Tanunda


Touchstones Trail (SA School for Vision Impaired)

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 Australasia website, go to the ‘SA Learning Destination’s’ page and search for History Trust of SA. Download the trail here: Children’s University SA | Bookings not required

Imagine the Past: Schmidt-Rodert Hufe and Bake Oven

Explore the only surviving complex of farmyard buildings in the Hahndorf Main Street. Imagine the life of the early Prussian settlers as you walk through the various buildings dating from 1840. Find out about fachwerk, bacon, myths and witches. Watch the bakers prepare dough and bake the kuchen and bread in the nineteenth-century corbelled oven. Be tempted by the smell of freshly baked bread and enjoy a slice with butter and jam or buy a loaf. This is a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to step back through time and imagine the past at this humble conservation site. Bookings not required.

Sunday 5 May 2019, 10am-3pm | Schmidt-Rodert Farm Complex (Hufe), 20 Main St, Hahndorf


Imagine the Past: Embroidery (Hahndorf Academy)

Imagine the Past is a free event in Hahndorf Academy’s beautiful grounds. Experience the sounds and activity of traditional trades used in Hahndorf nineteenth-century village life, with demonstrations of traditional crafts, skills and trades, including weaving, spinning, felting, embroidery, milking goats, cheese making, wood turning, working draught horses, dry stone walling, blacksmithing, farm animals, engines, heritage gardening and period costume. This will be an enjoyable day for the whole family. Bookings not required.

Sunday 5 May, 10am-4pm | Hahndorf Academy, 68 Main St, Hahndorf


Raiders of the Lost Archive

Discover the secrets of the State Library of South Australia. Crack cryptic clues, explore hidden corners and spot tiny details. When the clock starts, your team will have 90 minutes to crack the clues and hunt down the hidden secrets in one of Adelaide’s most historic venues. With a live leaderboard, cryptic clues, surprise challenges and a roaming curator you’ll have to think quickly to defeat teams of rival adventurers. Bookings essential.
Saturday 4 & 11 May, 11am (approx. 2 hrs) | Jervois Rm, State Library of SA, cnr North Tce & Kintore Ave, Adelaide



Fancy This Fancy That: Masquerade Masks and Fancy Dress

Ayers House Museum is a welcoming place where families spend quality creative time together. See a range of fancy dress costumes. Plus you’re invited to dress up and have your photos taken beside the grandfather clock or under the chandelier. Make a masquerade mask to take home and explore the house. Bookings not required
Tuesday – Sunday during May, 10am-4pm |Ayers House Museum, 288 North Tce, Adelaide


Hahndorf After Dark: Family Friendly

The Hahndorf After Dark Walking Tour offers a whole new perspective of the Hahndorf. An experience with stories to match this time of night and atmosphere. Conducted at the southern end of the village.

Walk in the footsteps of the Prussian immigrants as they made the way to their last resting place. Visit the old mortuary, stonemasons, and cemetery and enter St Paul’s Lutheran church.

What is to be found under the ‘ol pear tree? You’ll enjoy these and other quirky stories of the village. Lanterns are supplied. This is a family-friendly tour, it is not a ghost tour. Bookings essential.

Friday 10 & 24 May 2019, 8.30pm (90 mins) | Hahndorf Inn (under pergola), 10 Mount Barker Rd, Hahndorf



Let’s Explore! Centre of Democracy

Explore the Centre of Democracy with this fun and creative trail designed especially for children aged 8 to 10 years. Can you identify the mystery objects and answer the questions? Who wore the pink shorts and who was the Cockatoo Governor? Discover all this and more by picking up a free copy of the trail when you visit the gallery or download from the Centre of Democracy website. Bookings not required

Throughout the Festival, 10am-5pm | Centre of Democracy, Institute Bldg, cnr North Tce & Kintore Ave, Adelaide


Falling Bombs and Floating Cards

Would you like to see a magic show? Join the oldest magic club in Australia in their underground club rooms for some history, 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 club rooms. Bookings essential.

Saturday & Sunday 4, 5 & 18, 19 May 2019, 1pm, 2.30pm & 4pm |  Thebarton Air Raid Shelter, cnr South Rd & Ashley St, Thebarton


Tour of Historic 1864 Ship and Navy Band SA

Throughout May, join a guided tour of the historic 1864 Clipper Ship City of Adelaide. There will be a special performance on 12 May by the Clarinet Quartet of Royal Australian Navy Band SA between 12-2pm. In addition to guided tours, self-guided tours will be available anytime on 12 May so both ship and band can be enjoyed. Children’s activities include searching for rats and the ship’s cat and a spinning ship’s wheel. View extensive displays and view restoration work which is underway. Bookings not required.

Throughout May: 9am-3pm; tours at: 10am, 12pm & 2pm. Special performance: Sunday 12 May, 12-2pm | Clipper Ship ‘City of Adelaide’, Dock 1, Todd St, Port Adelaide



Glenelg Air Raid Shelter Open Day

Explore the Glenelg Air Raid Shelter. Built during the Second World War, the Glenelg shelter was one of seven constructed in Adelaide’s most populous suburbs and formed part of a communication network. In 1995 the shelter was converted into a museum in honour of the service of local men and women in military conflicts. Entrance via steep stairs. Bookings not required.

Sunday 19 May 2019, 1-4pm | Glenelg Air Raid Shelter, Rugless Tce, Glenelg



Big Boys and Their Vintage Toys

Blow off some steam when historic engines fire up at Big Boys and Their Vintage Toys. Engines and machinery will rumble to life while visitors enjoy an interactive exhibition of vehicles, farming machinery and carriage collections. See firsthand the progression and development of Murray Bridge as a transport and agricultural region through the evolution of motors and tools during the past century. Captain’s Cottage Museum and the Lower Murray Vintage Engine and Machinery Club have united to showcase vintage engines and machinery along with transportation from yesteryear. Enjoy demonstrations and displays set amongst the charm of the Captain’s Cottage Museum. Bookings not required.

The SA History Festival program is available online HERE.

For more information and all enquiries please visit the South Australian History Festival website.

What:   South Australia’s History Festival 

When:    27 April to 31 May 2019

Where:   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: South Australia’s History Festival Facebook page.


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