The Australian Heritage Festival is back in 2024, celebrating the state’s rich and diverse heritage with a range of unique and captivating events. Among the lineup, several stand out as particularly quirky and intriguing - diving into unknown and forgotten places and stories.

Here are some of the most unique events you won't want to miss.

Each of these events takes place around a Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) site – and is a chance to celebrate the VHR's 50th Anniversary. We're grateful for the support of the Heritage Council Victoria, whose support helps make the Australian Heritage Festival possible.


This post is sponsored by the Heritage Council Victoria



Bendigo Gas Works Tours

Delve into the industrial past of Bendigo at the historic Bendigo Gas Works. The Bendigo Gas Works is one of around three remaining intact 19th century gas works in the world, and the only one in Australia. Explore the remnants of this once-bustling facility and learn about the fascinating process of gas production that powered the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

When: 20 April, 28 April, 10am-3pm (Tours run hourly)
Where: Bendigo Gas Works, Weeroona Avenue, Bendigo

See here for more information

Presented by the Bendigo & District Branch of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria)




Black Powder Mill Open Day

Travel back in time to the 1800s at the Black Powder Mill in Cairnlea. See where gunpowder was made, hear how firearms changed the world, learn the history of gunpowder and the the importance of fireworks in Asian cultures.

The Black Powder Mill is the last remaining building from the former Albion explosives factory and was used to mix gunpowder for bombs and shells during World War II. This unique event offers a glimpse into Victoria’s industrial heritage.

When: 11 May 2024, 10:30am-3:00pm (Talk and demonstrations at 11:00am and 1:30pm)
Where: Black Powder Mill, Parklea Avenue, Cairnlea

See here for more information

Presented by Sunshine and District Historical Society Inc.




Mr. Mac the Chocolate King: His Story

Discover the captivating tale of confectioner MacPherson Robertson, known as “Mr. Mac the Chocolate King.” Hear how this pioneering entrepreneur built a chocolate empire and became one of Australia’s most successful businessmen in the early 20th century.

This easy two-hour stroll through the streets of Fitzroy will take through where MacRobertson built his great empire. Converted apartments today, there still stands many of his factories and head office, not to mention the “emblazened” signature on several sites.

When: 18 April 2024, 10:30am-12:30pm
Where: Beginning from Fitzroy Town Hall, Napier Street

See here for more information




Murtoa Stick Shed: Connecting Stories

The vast Murtoa Stick Shed is an unexpectedly impressive sight worth making a trip to Victoria’s Wimmera region to explore. Built as a wartime emergency grain store, the now-heritage listed shed was the first of its kind to be built in Victoria, and the last grain stick shed in use in Australia.

On this extended open day visitors can enjoy Films and slideshows with stories of the connections between the Stick Shed and the people living in the community today

When: 28 April 2024, 10am-4pm
Where: Murtoa Stick Shed, 1465 Wimmera Highway, Murtoa

See here for more information

Presented by The Stick Shed




Mr. Choppin’s Tour of Civil War America

Join writer-researcher Simon Plant for a rare glimpse into the 1864-65 journey of Melbourne-based theatre impresario George Coppin to the United States during the American Civil War. Discover the dramatic events that unfolded as Coppin sought to present Shakespeare on Broadway.

This is also a rare opportunity to see behind the front door of the Melbourne Savage Club, one of Australia’s oldest private members’ clubs.

When: 3 May 2024, 6.00pm
Where: Melbourne Savage Club, 12 Bank Place, Melbourne.

See here for more information

Presented by Theatre Heritage Australia Inc.




Walking Tour: Shorthand History of Melbourne

Uncover the little-known history of shorthand in Melbourne’s central business district. Follow in the footsteps of the thousands of shorthand writers who commuted daily to colleges, businesses, courts, and parliament, shaping the city’s legacy.

The tour will commence on the steps of Parliament House and will walk around the CBD concluding at Temple Court

When: 22 April & 29 April 2024, 10:00am-12:00pm
Where: Commencing from Parliament House, Spring Street, East Melbourne

See here for more information

Presented by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). Image: Parliament House Victoria.


These are just a few of the captivating and quirky events on offer at this year’s Australian Heritage Festival. Whether you’re interested in industrial history, entrepreneurial tales, or hidden urban narratives, there’s something to pique the curiosity of every festival-goer. Be sure to explore the full program and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Australia’s past.

Looking for more events? Be sure to browse the full program here.