Australian Heritage Festival connects people, places and the past on World Heritage Day

The National Trust of Australia will bring the community together to celebrate the rich and diverse cultural, natural and built heritage of every state and territory with the Australian Heritage Festival in 2019. Launching on 18 April 2019 – World Heritage Day – and running until 19 May, the community will have the opportunity to enjoy over 1,000 events in various cities and towns throughout the festival. The theme for this year is Connecting People, Places and the Past.

The National Trust of Australia invites local councils; Indigenous leaders, enterprises and organisations; community groups; cultural institutions, galleries and libraries; historical societies and conservation groups across the country to join the festival by organising and promoting events from 18 April to 19 May every year around a central theme.

The Australian Heritage Festival is designed to bring the aims and vision of the Australian Heritage Strategy to life in consideration of ‘how the community enjoys, commemorates and celebrates these special places and the stories that underpin them’ and in recognition that ‘our natural, historic and Indigenous heritage places are valued by Australians, protected for future generations and cared for by the community’.

Some of the highlight Australian Heritage Festival events organised across the nation for the Australian Heritage Festival include:


In New South Wales:

‘Our Voices, Our Future’: The Schools Reconciliation Challenge Regional Touring Exhibition Launch with the National Trust (NSW) | in partnership with Reconciliation NSW
18 April 2019
Dundullimal Homestead, Dubbo
The National Trust (NSW) is proud to partner with Reconciliation NSW to host a travelling exhibition comprised of the artistic and written work of primary and high school students across New South Wales and the ACT. In line with the challenge theme (this year Our Voices, Our Future) is about celebrating the voices and perspectives of young people on the subject of Reconciliation, and empowering students to recognise that their voices matter. Dundullimal Homestead is the launch site for this touring exhibition – which will be on display at five National Trust (NSW) properties across the state, kicking off in Dubbo for the Australian Heritage Festival.

The National Trust Heritage Awards
10 May 2019
Doltone House, Pyrmont NSW
Celebrating 25 years of the National Trust Heritage Award in New South Wales, this gala luncheon event celebrates best in class innovation, conservation, interpretation and advocacy for the protection and ongoing knowledge of natural, cultural and built heritage. Proudly supported by the NSW Government, the Award announcement event boasts the ABC’s Simon Marnie as Master of Ceremonies and Philip Thalis as this year’s keynote speaker. Tickets are on sale.

Female Factory Focus
27 April, 11 May and 15 May 2019
Female Factory, Parramatta NSW
Accredited guide, Kerima-Gae Topp, will provide a lively and informative three-hour tour by mini bus starting where most women would have first set foot in Parramatta, then visits the first Female Factory site known as ‘the factory above the gaol’. This will be followed by a guided tour of the second Female Factory site – the first purpose-built Female Factory and model for the others, regarded as Australia’s oldest remaining convict women’s site with 1821 and 1823 buildings still standing.

Dangerous Discussions in the Dining Room
3 May and 10 May 2019
Old Government House, Parramatta
Follow in the footsteps of the Governors and join the National Trust (NSW) for an evening of amazing food and compelling conversation in the dining room at the World Heritage Listed Old Government House. Your four-course dinner will prepared by the chefs at Lachlan’s. Places are limited to 10 people per evening.

Baragal Ngurra darami – Budbury and a paddock long ago
1 – 18 May (continuing to 30 May)
Camden Museum, Camden
Venessa Possum is artist of the month throughout the Australian Heritage Festival at Camden Museum with her exhibition Baragal Ngurra darami – Budbury and a paddock long ago, featuring a collection of handmade papers using recycled materials and indigenous plant material from the region. The papers also include a collection of significant graphic archives of art, maps and Aboriginal symbolisms reproduced as drawings. The archives Venessa has selected present a view of people, places and connections in the early Colonial period when her Aboriginal ancestors lived and worked on the Macarthur estate. Entry is free.

Inner West Council Built Environment Awards
4 May 2019
Kirkbride Theatre, Balmain Road, Lilyfield NSW
The Built Environment Awards are three separate programs that contribute to and celebrate our understanding of Sydney’s Inner West built heritage and sustainable practices and includes the Marrickville Medal for Conservation, the Sustainable Building Awards and the Urban Photography Competition. The event is held at the Kirkbride Theatre, with afternoon tea available and garden games for children.

Made in Australia
11 – 12 May 2019
Retford Park, Bowral NSW
Drawing inspiration from the original 1976 exhibition, Made in Australia will be revived at Retford Park in Bowral for the Australian Heritage Festival. Over two days, a panel of experts will be resident in the Round Yard to assess visitors’ pieces of Australiana including furniture, metalwork, ceramics, books, ephemera, memorabilia, juvenilia and vintage clothing. Two appraisal sessions will be held on each day. In parallel with Made in Australia, a gallery exhibition in the cottage where Supporters of a Southern Highlands Regional Gallery Inc will be exhibiting a selection of artworks from their collection, all by Australian artists, in the cottage at Retford Park. Visitors will also have access to the gardens.


In Victoria:

Connect with Wurundjeri Woi wurrung people and Country: Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation
9 May 2019
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Brunton Ave, Richmond VIC
Wurundjeri Elder, Uncle Bill Nicholson, leads an unmissable cultural journey, commencing with a Welcome to Country and traditional Smoking Ceremony. Hear about the complexities of preserving Wurundjeri’s cultural heritage in Melbourne, visiting the MCG, Barak Bridge, Birrarung Marr and culminating in a private viewing of Ngurungaeta, William Barak’s work at the National Gallery of Victoria. Bookings through

Buckley Opera Project: Written by Anthony Ransome and Richard Cotter presented by the Buckley Opera Project
26 April and 27 April 2019
Rosebud Memorial Hall, 994 Point Nepean Road, Rosebud VIC
Buckley tells the story of two cultures drawn together by extraordinary circumstances, after convict William Buckley escaped from the Collins Settlement Site in Sorrento in 1803. Indigenous soprano Shauntai Batzke takes the role of Purran-Murnin, Buckley’s Indigenous wife, and Buckley is played by Michael Lampard. Directed by young up and coming director David Lampard with the Rosebud Theatre Group and Peninsula Chamber Musicians, this is the first time an opera based on a local history will be performed on the Mornington Peninsula.

Robin Boyd Centenary Heritage Speaker Series: Robin Boyd Foundation
24 April, 1 May and 9 May 2019
The Robin Boyd Foundation, 290 Walsh Street, South Yarra VIC
You’re invited to Robin Boyd’s own mid-century modern home for a series of panel discussions with experts across heritage, architecture, and design to debate the big questions surrounding heritage and its role in modern-day culture. Bookings:

Stories behind the Death Masks
Weekends 20 April –19 May 2019
Old Melbourne Gaol, 377 Russell Street, Melbourne VIC
The Old Melbourne Gaol has one of the largest collections of Death Masks in the world, extending from the 1850s to 1900. Each one tells a diverse story of crime, a life lost and the hardships of the 19th century. Guided tours available to learn more about this fascinating collection.

The Dark Sky Renaissance: Astronomical Heritage: Australian Indigenous Astronomy and National Trust of Australia (Victoria)
17 May 2019
Rippon Lea Estate, 192 Hotham Street, Elsternwick
Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures have long used the stars to navigate, develop calendars, and understand our origins, but urban expansion is threatening our collective heritage. Join astronomer Dr Duane Hamacher, Kamilaroi woman Krystal De Napoli, and Gunnai and Yorta Yorta man Wayne Thorpe as they discuss the importance of preserving our dark skies at this evening event commencing at 7pm. Bookings:

National Trust Anderson’s Mill Heritage Weekend: Anderson’s Mill Heritage Weekend Inc.
11 May and 12 May
Anderson’s Mill, Alice Street, Smeaton
Smeaton comes alive with a weekend of heritage, crafts, machinery, and classic trades. Join us for the opportunity to explore the heritage mill with local tour guides and meet the passionate community groups that are working to keep these trades and skills alive. FREE EVENT

Mooramong Spode and Lalique Expo: National Trust of Australia (Victoria)
5 May 2019
Mooramong Estate, 635 Mooramong Road, Carranballac
As a finale to the 80th anniversary celebrations of this extraordinary property, a unique opportunity, only during the festival, is on offer to view 1930s fashion, homewares, and Impressionist paintings that make up the most comprehensive Mackinnon collection yet.

Grand Victorian Picnic: National Trust of Australia (Victoria)
5 May 2019
Rippon Lea Estate, 192 Hotham Street, Elsternwick VIC
Immerse yourself in the Victorian era in the Rippon Lea Estate Gardens. Bring along a picnic and relax on the sweeping lawns, indulge in homemade sponge cake and lemonade, or try your hand at Victorian leisure games or boating on the lake. There’s something for everyone!


In Queensland:

Paranormal Investigation at the Royal Bull’s Head Inn
27 April 2019
Royal Bull’s Head Inn, 59 Brisbane Street, Drayton QLD
With a reputation for being the ‘most haunted’ building in Toowoomba, come join our ‘South East Paranormal’ team for a Paranormal Investigation of the Royal Bull’s Head Inn. Our experts will guide participants through investigative procedures and are enthusiastically looking forward to sharing the evening with you. Book here:

Great Houses of Ipswich
11 May 2019
Ipswich QLD
Presented by National Trust of Australia (Queensland) Ipswich Branch and the Ipswich City Council, for one day only three of Ipswich’s great private residences will open their doors to show the special qualities of life in a heritage home. See these private homes: Claremont, on Milford Street; Lakemba, on Chelmsford Avenue; and The Chestnuts, 90 Nicholas Street.

QSA Talks: Governing the Flu – Queensland’s anti-epidemic measures 1919
10 May 2019
Queensland State Archives, 435 Compton Road, Runcorn QLD
Join author Matthew Wengert as he discusses his book, City in Masks: How Brisbane fought the Spanish Flu, with research drawing on Queensland State Archives’ records. QSA Talks is a series of free history seminars hosted by Queensland State Archives. Governing the Flu: Queensland’s anti-epidemic measures 1919 is the first talk for the year.

The Women of Bankfoot House
26 – 28 April 2019, 3 – 5 May 2019, 10 – 12 May 2019, 17 – 19 May 2019
Bankfoot House, Old Gympie Road, Glass House Mountains QLD
The Women of Bankfoot House is a special exhibition curated to celebrate the lives and achievements of the three generations of women who called Bankfoot House home. Explore the lives of three generations of women who lived in the heart of the Glass House Mountains. The Women of Bankfoot House exhibition celebrates relationships and endurance over 134 years from early pioneering days.

Champagne High Tea at historic Ormiston House
27 April 2019
Ormiston House, 277 Wellington Street, Ormiston, Queensland
After a champagne high tea, guided tours will lead visitors through Ormiston House in Redland City, built by Captain Louis Hope, the birthplace of Australia’s commercial sugar industry.


In Western Australia:

Back to Blythewood
12 May 2019
Old Blythewood, 6161 Southwest Highway, Pinjarra WA
Supported by Lotterywest, join us for a picnic as we celebrate Old Blythewood and 180 years since the McLarty’s arrived in Western Australia. Learn about the history of this significant place and the importance to the community. Bring your picnic, family and friends and enjoy the beautiful heritage garden, live entertainment and activities for all.

Fake News and False History: Peter Greste delivers the Fremantle Heritage Festival Keynote Address
17 May 2019
Tannock Hall of Education, The University of Notre Dame Australia
Corner of Croke Street and Cliff Street, Fremantle WA
Brought to you by the City of Fremantle and The University of Notre Dame Australia, join us for the annual keynote address of the Fremantle Heritage Festival, delivered by the internationally renowned journalist, Peter Greste. One of Australia’s most renowned and influential journalists, Peter Greste has reported on crises and conflict in the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa since 1991. He has worked for major news networks including Reuters, the BBC and CNN. From 2013 to 2015, while reporting on the Arab Spring for Al Jazeera, Greste was held as a political prisoner with two colleagues in Egypt. He is now a strong advocate for freedom of press and freedom of speech, and the UNESCO Chair of Journalism at the University of Queensland.

Archaeology Open Day
24 April 2019
East Perth Cemeteries, Bronte Street, Perth WA
Archaeology students from the University of Western Australia have been working with the National Trust to investigate parts of Perth’s oldest burial ground to help us better understand its layout and use over time. Come along to the free open day to see first-hand what they have been doing. Talk to an archaeologist, take a tour of the cemeteries and discover some of the unique Western Australian stories embedded in this place. This event is proudly supported by Lotterywest.

Connecting Families with FamilyHistoryWA (FHWA)
23 April 2019
FamilyHistoryWA (FHWA) Research Centre, 48 May Street, Bayswater WA
What would it feel like to find out that you belonged to more than one family? Journey and discovery of a family unknown and making the connection. Hear how attention to detail, persistence and patience brought about the revelation that you belonged to a family you were unaware of and the outcome of that discovery.

Collectors Weekend: Claudia Chan Shaw
18 May 2019
Western Australian Museum, Peter Hughes Drive, Fremantle WA
Co-host and presenter on ABC TV’s popular program Collectors, Claudia Chan Shaw presents on the Art of Collecting on the last day of the Australian Heritage Festival. Claudia Chan Shaw’s book Collectomania explores the world of collectors and their obsessions, celebrating collections both strange and beautiful. She will share secrets about her own love affair with everything from tin robots to contemporary art.


About the National Trust of Australia & the Australian Heritage Festival

The National Trust is Australia’s oldest and largest independent conservation organisation founded in 1945 in New South Wales by Annie Forsyth Wyatt. Collectively the National Trust in Australia owns or manages over 300 built and natural heritage places (the majority held in perpetuity), is supported by 7,000 volunteers and employs more than 300 people nationwide.

The National Trust (NSW) is committed to engaging the community to celebrate and conserve heritage places and collections through events and education. With the support of our members, volunteers and dedicated staff and partners, we advocate on the protection of historical and naturally significant places and collections to ensure their preservation for future generations.

The Australian Heritage Festival is the largest national event celebrating the rich and diverse cultural, natural and built heritage in all states and territories across Australia. Commencing on World Heritage Day and taking place over the course of one month (18 April to 19 May), the festival brings together a variety of more than 1,000 events. The theme for 2019 is Connecting People, Places and the Past.