The Australian Heritage Festival provides many unique and engaging opportunities for families to connect with Australia's rich cultural heritage and create lasting memories together. Whether exploring historic sites, participating in traditional crafts, or enjoying immersive experiences, these top family events offer something for everyone to enjoy during this annual celebration of Australia's diverse past

Each of these events takes place at 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



Fleece, Fibre & Fancywork

Celebrate the rich tradition of Australian wool and craftsmanship at the Fleece, Fibre, Fancywork event. Making sheep history, the Valais Blacknose is finally here in Australia and are the feature sheep breed along with other rare and unusual sheep breeds.

Come and meet the cutest sheep in the world and be immersed in all things wool. Meet the breeders to learn all about the various sheep breeds, enjoy shearing demonstrations, see fleece being spun and be amazed by the skills of textile, wool and fibre artists.

When: 28 April 2024, 10am-3pm
Where: Gulf Station, Yarra Glen.

See here for more information

Presented by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).




Children’s Day at Bonegilla Migrant Experience

A special day of fun and discovery, families will get a taste of the migrant experiences that helped to shape modern Australia. Children and their families can participate in hands-on craft and food demonstrations, and engage in activities and games that reflect the creative pursuits of thousands of new arrivals who came through the camp.

Collect an explorer’s pack from the Welcome Centre to find even more stories, and enjoy a picnic lunch on the historic grounds of Bonegilla Migrant Experience.

When: 21 April 2024, 10:00am-4:00pm
Where: 132 Bonegilla Road, Bonegilla

See here for more information

Presented by the Bonegilla Migrant Experience




Old Melbourne Gaol

A visit to the Old Melbourne Gaol will introduce you to stories of the many inmates who spent time in its cells, including those incarcerated for minor misdemeanours who were housed alongside the state’s most dangerous criminals. The Gaol’s most infamous inmate, bushranger Ned Kelly, spent the last few months at the Gaol before going to the gallows.

Explore the cells and corridors of this historic prison, hear tales of infamous inmates, and gain insights into the realities of 19th-century penal life. With special tours and activities tailored for families, including interactive exhibits and costumed guides, a visit to Old Melbourne Gaol offers a captivating journey into Australia’s penal history.

When: Open 7 Days, 10am-5pm. Special family-themed tours take place at set times (pre-booking encouraged)
Where: 377 Russell St, Melbourne CBD

See here for more information

Presented by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria)




Lake Goldsmith 123rd Steam Vintage Rally

Experience the nostalgia of a bygone era at the Lake Goldsmith Steam Vintage Rally. This annual event is the largest display of steam engines in the Southern Hemisphere, and showcases an impressive array of steam-powered machinery, vintage vehicles, and agricultural equipment, offering families the chance to witness living history in action.

From steam engine rides to antique machinery displays, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at this unique celebration of Australia’s rural heritage.

When: 4 & 5 May, 10:00am-5:00pm
Where: Lake Goldsmith, VIC (20mins south of Beaufort)

See here for more information

Presented by Lake Goldsmith Steam Preservation Association Inc.




Polly Woodside Open Day

After travelling 1.5 million miles across the globe, the Polly Woodside now welcomes you aboard! Built in Belfast in 1885, the three-masted cargo vessel carried coal and wheat between England and South America. Now docked at the heart of Melbourne’s South Wharf precinct, it is a tangible reminder of Australia’s rich maritime history and of the importance of such ships to the settlement and development.

Now you can join the crew and come aboard for a tour of the ship and discover what life was like on a tall ship sailing the seven seas. Enjoy two different experiences aboard the Polly Woodside; Pirate Day (21 April) and Open Day (5 May).

When: Sunday 21 April (Pirate Day) & Sunday 5 May (Open Day), 10.00am-4:00pm
Where: South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf CBD

See here for more information

Presented by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria)




Victorian Colonial Express

Embark on a journey back in time aboard the Victorian Colonial Express. Experience rail travel of the 1880’s as you sit back and hear the clickety-clack as your train makes its way slowly through the box and ironbark forests to Maldon. Classified by the National Trust as Australia’s first notable town to be preserved in its entirety – it is not a museum but a living town – with past and present co-existing happily.

The train will depart Castlemaine at 11:30am and will arrive at Maldon at 12:20, where you can spend a few hours in the town and enjoy the heritage street-scape, the picturesque shops and the many delightful cafes, pubs and tea-rooms.

When: 4 & 11 May, 11.30am-4.30pm
Where: Departing from Castlemaine Railway Station.

See here for more information

Presented by the Victorian Goldfield Railway


So gather your loved ones, and enjoy a day out discovering our state’s significant heritage! Make the most of these enriching experiences and get involved with the Australian Heritage Festival.

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