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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
  • post-World War 2 housing associated with the Peter Lalor Home Co-operative
  • 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.


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, Thursday 18 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 Show

Presented by the Whittlesea Agricultural Society

The Whittlesea Show began as a fair in 1859 and has grown to become one of the largest Agricultural Shows in Victoria. The purpose of the Show is to educate, inform and entertain – bringing agriculture, farming and rural knowledge to the wider public. The Show is a presentation opportunity for food, farmers and a trading place for rural skills and crafts, ranging from vintage to modern, showcasing changing farming practices through machinery, animals and ways of life. Don’t miss this!

Date:                   21 & 22 January 2023

Time:                   9am – 5pm

Cost:                   Adult $20, concession $15, child $5

Where:               Whittlesea Showgrounds, Whittlesea Yea Road, Whittlesea


Bookings:           Not required



Florinian Vasilopita Festival

Presented by The Cultural Centre of Florinians

The Cultural Centre of Florinians invites you to join them in a fabulous launch to their 2023 program: the Florinian Vasilopita Festival. Wear your dancing shoes and experience the thrill of live Halkina music, an exciting musical fusion of Greek, Bulgarian, Anatolian, Romani and Klezmer influences. Let your moves be inspired by the many talented folk dancing groups performing at the festival. Fill your belly with delicious Greek food and, of course, don't forget your slice of Vasilopita, the traditional sweet bread of St Basil: will you find the one coin within and be blessed with good luck for 2023?

Date:                  Saturday 5 February

Time:                  12pm – 5pm

Cost:                   Free

Where:               119 Dalton Rd, Thomastown

Info:                   0413 381 915

Bookings:           Not required


Myths and Legends – Participants Wanted

We are looking for people from all cultures to showcase traditional myths and legends in a fun, creative way. Over a series of creative workshops, we will explore ways of presenting our stories, from theatre to song, storytelling to audience participation, dance to puppetry. Culminating in a performance at the March 2023 Community Festival, we will work with you to bring your mythology to life. Each performance will earn $150.


Creative Workshops (these may change due to demand).

Thursday 19 January: Explore our myths and legends, different presentation modes and plan out our individual performances. All required. 
Thursday 2 February: Plays, musicals, songs, dance. Optional.
Thursday 16 February: Storytelling, audience engagement. Optional.
Thursday 2 March: Puppetry. Optional.
Thursday 16 March: Polishing the performance. Adding to the theatre: props, costumes, scenery. All required.
Sunday 19 March: Performance at Community Festival. All required.

All workshops will be held from 7pm – 9pm but doors open at 6.30pm for socialising.
Location: Council Civic Centre, 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang.

To get involved please contact Nicola Vaughan, Cultural Heritage Coordinator on 9217 2174 or email

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. 

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


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.  






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


Cultural Diversity and Harmony Week Celebrations: Tea Time

In celebration of Cultural Diversity Week (19 – 27 March) and Harmony Week (21 – 27 March) 2022, the City of Whittlesea invited our community to explore tea ceremonies and tea traditions from across the world.

We experienced a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, participated in a beautiful Chinese wedding tea ceremony, discovered traditional Turkish tea and coffee, drank from the Yerba Mate of Argentina, uncovered the exquisite Persian tea culture and learned how to make delicious Indian Chai.

This wonderful showcase was held in the fabulous setting of our exotic Salon tent at the City of Whittlesea Community Festival – Arts on the Northern Edge. Watch our videos of some of the tea ceremonies here.

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.

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.

Past events

Presented by the City of Whittlesea

Spaces transform at twilight, shadows dissolve as the sun sets and landmarks disappear so a familiar landscape may become unrecognisable under moonlight. For some artists, changed circumstances may shed new light internally, for others, it may illuminate their external world, showing them aspects they’ve not yet seen, or a future yet to be imagined. New Light is the 2022 City of Whittlesea annual art exhibition, where community members shine.

Date: Thursday 10 November –  Thursday 15 December 2022


One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism is the festival of lights, Diwali.

Celebrated over five days, the festival celebrates the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.

People during Diwali decorate their homes with earthen oil-filled lamps and design beautiful rangoli, or patterns on the ground using coloured rice flour, quartz powder, coloured sand and flower petals.

Click here to learn more about Diwali and the activities you can take part in. 

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

Presented by Merri Creek Management Committee

Experience a tour of the spectacular Galada Tamboore, discover magical wildflowers and learn about pollinators and other insects that call the grasslands home.

Date:                  Saturday 5 November 2022

Time:                  10am - 12pm

Cost:                   FREE

Where:               Galada Tamboore Grasslands, call for exact location

Info:                   9380 8199,

Bookings:           Not required

Presented by Yarra Plenty Regional Library in partnership with Plenty Valley Arts Inc.


Join us for a tour of the historical Le Page Homestead at Hawkestowe Park. Discover the history behind this homestead built in South Morang in the 1850’s. With views of the Plenty River and the backdrop of the wooded Plenty Gorge, the Le Page historic homestead and art gallery are a feature of Hawkstowe Picnic Area. Afternoon tea will be provided. Bookings are required.

**Consider making a day of it and joining us for the Whittlesea township local history walk in the morning.

Date:                 Wednesday 26 October

Time:                 1pm – 3pm

Cost:                  Free

Where:               Meet at Le Page Homestead Carpark

Info:                   9088 3465

Bookings:           Local History Month: Historical Tour of Le Page Homestead | Yarra Plenty Regional Library ( 

Presented by Yarra Plenty Regional Library

Many historical and culturally significant sites are within easy reach in Whittlesea township. Join us for a heritage walk while we share some stories as we loop parts of the Whittlesea township starting at the Whittlesea Library and Activity Centre. We will meet in the library.

Please note: there will be uneven surfaces, so appropriate footwear is required. No dogs are allowed. Bookings are essential, as places are limited.

Date:                Wednesday 26 October

Time:                10.00am – 12.30pm

Cost:                 Free

Where:              Meet at Whittlesea Library, at the fireplace

Info:                  9088 3465

Bookings:          Local History Month: Whittlesea Township Local History Walk | Yarra Plenty Regional Library (


Image:  Main Street, Whittlesea, (Postcard), Fay Thomas Collection, City of Whittlesea 

Presented by Whittlesea Courthouse Association

Bear’s Castle lies locked away in the closed catchment of Yan Yean Reservoir. Access to this unique historical building is only granted on special occasions and this is one of them. Take this rare opportunity to visit the only known building of cob construction in Victoria. Discover the rich history of this building and decide for yourself on the mystery surrounding the Castle’s purpose. Tours include a delightful morning/afternoon tea at the charming original Caretaker’s Cottage.

Date:                   Saturday 22 October 2022

Time:                   10am and 2pm

Cost:                    Adult $40; child $25

Where:                Whittlesea Courthouse Information Centre, Cnr Church & Beech Street, Whittlesea

Info:                    0412 907 937


Presented by Northern Suburbs Artist Collective

Visit local artists working in their studios in a broad array of mediums during this year’s City of Whittlesea Open Studio Arts Trail (October 29 and 30), and explore an exhibition and workshop program starting from September 21.

Exhibition and workshop program: 21 September – 21 October 2022

Live event: Friday 28 October

Arts Trail: October 29 – 30, 10am – 4pm                                     

Cost: FREE

Where: Exhibition: Great Hall, Civic Centre, 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang.

See website for Arts Trail studio locations around the municipality



Image Midnight Beauty, Irina Zahra, 2021


Presented by Yarra Plenty Regional Library

Whittlesea Library is hosting three Remember and Reminisce sessions for seniors to explore memories of bygone days. This is a lovely opportunity to share stories from yesteryear, make new friends, and discover books and images in our collection of Old Melbourne, the Whittlesea district in the 1940s, fashions of the 1930s and so much more.

Date:                   Tuesday 13 September, 11 October, 8 November 2022

Time:                   2pm – 3pm

Cost:                    FREE

Where:               Whittlesea Library, 57-61 Laurel Street, Whittlesea

Info:                   9716 3028,



Film Screening: Servant or Slave

The National Reconciliation Week 2022 theme “Be Brave. Make Change” is a challenge to all Australians — individuals, families, communities, organisations and government — to be brave and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation so we can make change for the benefit of all Australians.

Come watch this powerful film and contribute to a stronger understanding of the importance of historical acceptance to reconciliation in Australia. A special guest will be present for question time after the screening.


Many thousands of girls were stolen as young children from their parents and placed in institutions, to be trained as servants who could be assimilated into mainstream Australian society. In bringing to light the heart-breaking experiences of Rita, Violet, Adelaide, Valerie and Rita, Servant or Slave celebrates their fortitude in pursuing justice for the crimes committed against them. Theirs is a David and Goliath battle, waged not only for personal healing, but to shed light on a barely acknowledged part of modern Australia’s history whose consequences are still felt today.

Date:               2 June 2022

Time:               6.30pm refreshments, screening begins at 7pm

Where:            Plenty Ranges Arts Convention Centre, 35 Ferres Rd, South Morang

Bookings:        PRACC and Aboriginal Communities Department

Info:       or

It is estimated that between ten and thirty per-cent of Indigenous children were taken from their families between 1910 and the 1970s—affecting most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia.  These children were forcibly removed from their families and communities through race-based policies set up by both State and Federal Governments. They were either put in group homes, adopted or fostered out to non-Indigenous families. They suffered grief and trauma, losing their connections to family, identity, land, language and culture. These Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have become known as the Stolen Generations. The impact of this trauma is still very present today.

This year’s event will include:

  • Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country with a Wurundjeri Elder
  • Keynote speaker Lisa Zammit CEO of Connecting Home - Stolen Generations Redress Scheme
  • Annual Sorry Walk led by Uncle Herb Patten
  • Council flags to fly at half-mast
  • Catering

Date: Thursday 26 May

Time: 11am – 12.30pm

Venue: Great Hall, Civic Centre, 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang

Registration: Please book your attendance here


Join the Palestinian Seniors Club as they celebrate the annual olive picking season in the traditional fashion. Celebrate in style with traditional olive based foods, music, folk dancing, and an exhibition of exquisite art composed of olive tree branches.

To reserve your place contact Dawood on 0416 493 117 by Friday May 17.

Date: Friday 20 May 2022
Time: 6pm – 9pm
Venue: Mill Park Community House, 11 Mill Park Drive, Mill Park.