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Cultural Heritage

We're fortunate here in the City of Whittlesea to be home to a number of unique heritage places. Learn about how we celebrate and protect our cultural heritage.

Our Cultural Heritage Strategy 2019-2025

Our Cultural Heritage Strategy features a series of objectives and actions that guide us as we protect, celebrate and preserve the rich history and heritage that exists within our municipality including:

  • Aboriginal scarred trees that date back thousands of years
  • the Wendish German settlement around Ziebell's Farm
  • the Lutheran Church and Cemetery in Thomastown
  • Historic Epping Cemetery
  • Turner's Bakery in Mernda
  • and plenty more

Cultural Heritage Program

Our Cultural Heritage Program celebrates the cultural diversity, history and heritage of the City of Whittlesea through a variety of informative events, cultural festivals and tours, and takes place seasonally between March - December each year.

The program is developed in partnership with community and special interest groups to provide opportunities to collectively celebrate our:

  • Aboriginal heritage
  • Built heritage and early European history
  • Environmental heritage
  • Rich personal and cultural heritage 

Events in the Cultural Heritage Program are listed below.

For more information about our Cultural Heritage Program phone 9217 2174.


Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration

Presented by Whittlesea Chinese Association

Come along and celebrate the Chinese lunar new year, welcoming in the Year of the Dragon. The event has lots of entertainment planned for the community including wonderful traditional performances, delicious cuisine and lots more. 

Date:      Saturday 24 February

Time:      1pm – 4pm

Cost:       Free                  

Where:    Epping Memorial Hall, 827 High St, Epping   

Contact:  0469 756 599

Whittlesea Colour Carnival 


Presented by Mission Smile Inc. and City of Whittlesea

Celebrate the renowned Hindu festival Holi right here in South Morang. This supercharged, super-fun colour carnival will have you tickled pink. Get red faced with colour play, outstanding dance performances, market stalls, and a colour bombing airshow. Dance your socks off all day and fling coloured powder bombs at your mates in the exhilarating colour toss. Get ready to paint the town red, and blue, and yellow....

Date:      Sunday 25 February

Time:      12pm – 7pm

Cost:       Free                  

Where:    25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang


Cultural Diversity Week


Presented by City of Whittlesea

Celebrate Cultural Diversity Week at this exciting festive event, with traditional dance performances, cultural music, art and food amidst a plethora of fabulous cultural dress. So put on your traditional dress and come celebrate with us!

Please register your attendance via email.

Date:      Tuesday 19 March

Time:      5pm - 8.30pm

Cost:       Free                  

Where:    PRACC, 35 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang



City of Whittlesea Community Festival

Set within Council’s Civic Centre grounds in South Morang, this year's Community Festival theme is 'Connections', promising to connect our community with fun activities for all ages. Bring your family and experience all the festival has to offer: fantastic performances, youth area, pet expo, live cooking demonstrations, mini golf, market stalls, roving acts, musical plants and food trucks, and exciting theatre shows inside our Plenty Ranges Arts and Activities Centre. 

Date:      Sunday 17 March

Time:      11am – 5pm

Cost:       Free                  

Where:    25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang


World Kitchen


Presented by City of Whittlesea and The Village

This year at the City of Whittlesea Community Festival you are in for a treat. Come to the World Kitchen stage to watch our community cook up a storm. Seven amazing home-chefs will showcase their traditional dishes, cooking them live on the World Kitchen stage for you to sample, get the recipe and discover the stories about these dishes and the chefs who make them. 

Spoil your tastebuds with Lebanese Fattoush salad, Thai green curry, Iraqi biryani and tabouleh, French crepes, Persian Shirazi salad and delectable Indian pakora. 

Date:      Sunday 17 March

Time:      11am – 5pm

Cost:       Free                  

Where:    World Kitchen stage, 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang


What's that Euc, Scat and Track?


Presented by City of Whittlesea as part of the Conservation Walk and Talk Series

Did you know that 18 species of Eucalypts are indigenous to the City of Whittlesea? Or that the River Red Gum is both culturally and environmentally significant and they are afforded special protection? To celebrate National Eucalyptus Day this year, come on a guided walk with conservationists to explore the Eucalypts in the area as well as looking for scats and tracks to see who lives in our parks. Please register your attendance via the link below.

Date:      Saturday, 23 March

Time:      9.30am – 11.30am

Cost:       Free                  

Where:    Riverside Community Centre, 8 Doreen Rogen Way, South Morang



From Mountain to Melbourne


Presented by Friends of Toorourrong

Join the Friends of Toorourrong in celebrating the 170-year anniversary of Melbourne's first water supply at our very own Yan Yean Reservoir. The day will be filled with fun and activities, such as a reenactment of the turning of the sod, horse and carriage rides, ye-olde games, historic displays, and you can even take a tour of the historic Reservoir Caretakers Cottage. A major historic celebration not to be missed.

Date:      Sunday, 24 March

Time:      11am – 3pm

Cost:       Free                  

Where:    Caretakers Cottage, Yan Yean Reservoir, Recreation Rd, Yan Yean


Greek Folk Dancing Classes

Presented by Florina Aristotelis Dance Group

The Cultural Centre of Florinians (Aristotelis) offers free folk dancing classes featuring styles from all areas of Greece and for all ages. Our instructors have over 80 years combined dancing experience and have produced many highly skilled dance troupes. We use colourful, authentic, traditional costumes and a live 5-piece Halkina Balkan Brass band for performances. Classes are free, with a $50 annual membership fee.

Classes:              Juniors: Thursdays 5.30pm – 6.30pm

                           Intermediate: Thursdays 6.15pm – 7.45pm

                           Seniors: Thursdays 7.30pm – 9.30pm

                           Adults: Mondays 7.30pm – 8.30pm

Cost:                    FREE

Where:               Nick Ascenzo Community Centre, 2 Boronia St, Thomastown

Info:                   Call 0413 381 915 for more information

Bookings:           Not required

Start dancing now

The Homeland: Preserving stories of treasured objects from afar 

Presented by Yarra Plenty Regional Library

Are you a migrant to Australia, live or work in Banyule, Nillumbik or Whittlesea and would like to share your story? Yarra Plenty Regional Library is looking for participants to interview based around a treasured object brought from your Homeland.  Applications close 17 March.

More information at:

The Yarn


If you would like to receive updates on cultural and historical events, activities and opportunities happening in the
region, consider signing up to receive The Yarn, Council’s Cultural Heritage eNewsletter. Each edition highlights upcoming events, things to get involved in, funding opportunities and contains a unique and beautiful introduction exploring our natural heritage from the perspective of our Kulin Nation seasonal calendar. Editions are released approximately every 6 weeks. To sign up please email

Cultural Heritage Network

Are you curious about our culture? The Whittlesea Cultural Heritage Network meets quarterly to enjoy a meal while we network, brainstorm ideas and participate in some fun and fascinating activities on topics to do with our culture and our history. You will leave each event empowered with knowledge on things such as crazy Christmas traditions like beating Tio de Nadal, the pooping Christmas log, new artistic skills such as how to make a Diwali rangoli and gain inside knowledge of opportunities such as funding and how to get it. Our special guest speakers are experts in their field, such as Aboriginal elders, community leaders and professional artists.

We meet quarterly from 7pm – 9pm at Council buildings in our municipality. Upcoming dates for 2023 are Wednesday 15 February, Wednesday 17 May, Thursday 17 August and Thursday 16 November. Events are free and fun is guaranteed.
For more information and to register your interest, please email


Whittlesea Township Local History Walk

Explore the historical township of Whittlesea with the new Walking Maps resource Whittlesea Township Local History Walk. Developed by Yarra Plenty Regional Library, historical sites and fascinating landmarks are detailed with images and linked via a walking route. Start your journey at the Whittlesea Community Activity Centre and Library and visit all 19 points of interest. This is an easy flat walk with options to extend or loop around. Available on your phone, computer or tablet.



Image:  Main Street, Whittlesea, 1905 Fay Thomas Collection, Yarra Plenty Regional Library


Turning Back to Edgars Creek

Presented by Ziebells Farmhouse and Museum


Ziebells Farmhouse and Museum are pleased to announce their new exhibition Turning Back to Edgars Creek which looks at peoples' changing cultural relationship with the creek in what its now called Thomastown and Lalor.

It has been printed in booklet form and is currently being delivered to over 16,000 households in Thomastown and Lalor. In suburbs where access to the internet is below the national average, we believe this direct engagement with our communities is important. 

Download the booklet for free here

Keelbundoorah Scarred Tree Heritage Trail


This NAIDOC why not explore a sacred Aboriginal site for a unique cultural experience. Visit the magnificent Scarred Tree, the Canoe Tree, Burls and more on this self-guided tour.

RMIT have a great resource to guide you on your trail here,or you can stop at the library and ask for a brochure and map.


Sites of Significance

The City of Whittlesea is home to scores of fascinating historical sites, from its very own castle, a reservoir once the envy of Melbourne, and even troughs where thirsty horses stopped to water in the 1900s.

Many people may not know they exist – but a new interactive map is set get you out exploring your own backyard.

Council has launched the Sites of Significance map, available online and in print at libraries and community centres.

50 historically important sites have been selected, with their location mapped, photos and the enthralling stories behind them.

Grab your copy of Sites of Significance at your local library or community centre, or check out a virtual version of the Sites of Significance Map. It will automatically adjust to best suit your viewing device - desktop computer, tablet or phone.

Image: Bills Horse Trough, Epping, photo by Julie Scott 2019


History Month

October is History Month and staying at home is the perfect opportunity to delve into the past. What are you doing to celebrate? There are some fantastic activities to engage with this October. Visit to find out what’s on, the Royal Historical Society of Victoria is home to the most extensive single information resource on the history of Melbourne and Victoria.

Ways to celebrate at home, online or with friends:

  • Host a digital afternoon tea where everyone shares a recipe from their grandparents and tells one story about their grandparents. 
  • Next time you meet your friends online, have some history trivia questions up your sleeve for an impromptu quiz
  • I Was There When ... Present your memories of the local area anchored around the statement ‘I was there when …’.
  • Learn to play an antiquated game such as knucklebones or cat’s cradle
  • ‘I Wish I'd Been There’ Describe the moment in the history of your local area you wish you had not missed, some are funny, some quirky and some are inspiring.
  • Have a show and tell where half a dozen people talk about one object each from their historical collection
  • An online class - the Chinese Museum have some great interactive online sessions for schools where they have a class in making Chinese lanterns or a Kung Fu class. Maybe you can research how to make a rawhide whip, how to skin a rabbit, how to darn socks, make a rag rug etc
  • Discover the Golden Age of Hollywood and screen some vintage pictures


Culture in the Kitchen

Welcome to Culture in the Kitchen, where we learn to cook dishes of cultural significance and meet some incredible community chefs.

Each episode is filmed in real time so you can cook along, so learn to make the delicious beef and prawn dish of Ndole from Cameroon, the delectable eggplant and lamb Ali Nazik from Turkey and the scrumptious Chaldean Kilecha sweet treats.

Episode one screens February 11. Click the link below to watch the trailers and prepare your ingredients.

Click here to learn more about Culture in the Kitchen

Collaborative Cultural Dance

Dance like you’ve never danced before. Be a Bollywood star, shake your booty to Mutuashi the Congolese dance of Freedom and connect with Country in Bik Ngarra.

Join our online classes in Bollywood, Mutuashi and Aboriginal dance, and learn some sensational new moves. Learn the routines and upload a video of yourself and become a star in the collated clip.

Designed for all levels of fitness, these classes give an exciting insight into world dance.

Watch the Collaborative Cultural Dance workshops and upload your dancing videos.