Month-long South Australian History Festival now on

Highlights include the Illuminate instillation at the Botanical Gardens, wine tastings hosted by Penfolds Estate and more.

We all love being South Aussies, so why not celebrate our pride in a month-long festival?

The South Australian History Festival is back with over 600 events which highlight local legends and the rich history behind our state.

Highlights include the Illuminate lights instillation set to brighten up the Botanical Gardens at night, a deep dive into the Adelaide city underbelly and historic wine tastings hosted by Penfolds Estate telling the stories that made SA known as the vineyard capital of Australia.

Throughout the month of May, events for all ages shed light on our ever changing culture by reviving notable moments from the past. South Australia’s History Festival, one of the state’s largest open-access community events, returns for its 17th annual festival in 2021 from Saturday 1 May to Sunday 30 May. With this years theme of ‘change,’ the History Trust of South Australia are encouraging people to consider how change has impacted our culture and local heritage.

Almost a third of the events are being held in regional areas, including Port Pirie, Barmera, and Port Broughton. A great opportunity for locals to explore their own state, there is a piece of history for everyone to experience, enjoy and learn from. 

The History Festival program guide will be all digital this year, with a brand new website, with visitors able to search the range of events by date, genre and location. 

“The world is constantly undergoing change; it is a continuing journey – without change there is no history! So, to bring this theme to light and explore the many aspects of change that our state has undergone is something that will be sure to fascinate all people with a curiosity about our past,” History Trust of South Australia CEO, Greg Mackie OAM says.

This year’s theme of Change encompasses a broad range of historical topics and events. From political to social change, changing places, changing minds, changing hearts. It includes change for the better, change for the worse, on big and small scales, and everything in between.

Some highlights from the 2021 program: 

  • Willunga’s Wicked Way: Criminals, Crime and Constables – Come to the historic Willunga Courthouse Museum to learn about Willunga’s heinous past. Listen to the stories of the shocking criminal cases that have been all but forgotten. See the underbelly of Willunga’s fascinating history.
  • Queering the Village: Upper North Adelaide ‘Exposed’! – A guided tour with queen of the walk, Dr Gertrude Glossip PhD (Formal Drapery), through lovely, leafy North Adelaide. From 19th century churches, cottages and villas to towers of today; from 1960s camp parties to 1970s Gay Liberation households and zaps; from 1950s queer theatre and personalities to 21st century Feast festivities at Carclew. 
  • Adelaide Alfresco: The Dunstan Effect – A walking tour unravelling stories of the city’s first alfresco spaces, revealing Dunstan’s inspirations, challenges, and how his policies changed the way Adelaideans socialise forever. 
  • Penfolds – A guided tour taking a walk through the original working Penfolds winery, explore the vineyards and uncover the historic tales of the underground drives.
  • Botanica Lumina: Adelaide Botanic Gardens After Dark Tour – An after dark tour in the Adelaide Botanic Garden with a tour to the State Herbarium (former Tram Barn) and Goodman Building.

The History Festival will also be celebrating special anniversaries including: 

  • Unley – 150th anniversary 
  • Barmera, Monash & Glossop – towns’ centenaries 
  • Loveday Internment Camp – 80th anniversary 
  • Port Broughton – town’s 150th anniversary 
  • Clarendon – town’s 175th anniversary 

Check out the full program here.

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