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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.


Mooncake Festival

Presented by Whittlesea Chinese Association

Experience the vibrancy, colour and soul of the Mooncake Festival, a celebration of thanksgiving, prosperity and family reunion. Traditionally a harvest festival with origins in moon worship, the making and sharing of mooncakes is symbolic of harmony and familial unity. Make and light a beautiful lantern, join the parade, light some incense and feast on a myriad of exotic mooncakes at this grand event.

Date:           Saturday 3 September 2022 

Time:           7pm – 9.30pm

Cost:            FREE

Where:        May Road Senior Citizens Centre, 2B May Road, Lalor

Info:            0432 267 557




Edge of Development, Artist's Talk

Presented by the City of Whittlesea

Renowned documentary maker John Doggett-Williams discusses Edge of Development, his 2020 short film exploring urban development in the rural north. Through the eyes of farm and landowners, the film contemplates the personal, environmental, social and cultural impacts of the birth of new suburbs. This free Artist’s Talk offers the opportunity to meet the filmmaker, and hear him talk in depth about his work, process and influences. Light refreshments provided.

Date:              Wednesday 7 September 2022

Time:              2pm - 3pm 

Cost:               FREE

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




Now’s the Time

Presented by Ziebell’s Farmhouse Museum and Heritage Garden

You’ve heard about it, you’ve seen it, but you haven’t experienced it yet. Well, now’s the time! With free entry for residents in September, discover the secrets of Westgarthtown, an historic dairy farming area established in 1850 by German and Wendish immigrants. Explore the outstanding bluestone heritage buildings and structures, tour the accredited museum and wander through the stunning heritage gardens.

Dates:                 Tuesdays 13 & 20 September; Sundays 18 & 25 September 2022

Time:                   Tuesdays 11.30am - 2pm, Sundays 11.30am - 3pm

Cost:                    Free entry for City of Whittlesea residents

Where:                100 - 102 Gardenia Road, Thomastown


Bookings:            Not required




Remember and Reminisce

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,





Open Studio Arts Trail 

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


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


Vivid Navratri

Presented by Mernda & District Residents Association

Navaratri is a nine-day Hindu festival observed in the honour of Mother Goddess Mahadevi. Garba is a form of dance which originates from the state of Gujarat in India. Vivid Navratri is a huge celebration of garba dancing, come, eat, dance, wear your most resplendent clothes!

Date:                   Saturday 1 October 2022

Time:                   7pm – 11.30pm

Cost:                    FREE

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






Cultural Heritage Network

Presented by The City of Whittlesea

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 fascinating presentations on topics to do with our culture and our history. For our Spring 2022 meeting we are hearing about the resplendent festival of Diwali, with a traditional meal and a Bollywood dance performance.

Date:                   Thursday 6 October 2022

Time:                   7pm – 9pm

Cost:                    FREE

Where:                Fountain View Room, Council Offices, 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang

Info:                    0419 520 501      





Thomastown Cemeteries Tour

Presented by Yarra Plenty Regional Library in partnership with Friends of Westgarthtown

Did you know that Thomastown is home to two historical cemeteries? Cemeteries provide us with a fascinating link to the past and clues to stories waiting to be discovered. Join local historians Beryl Patullo and Robert Wuchatsch for a tour of both the Thomastown Wesleyan Cemetery and the Westgarthtown Cemetery where early burials date from the 1850s. We will enjoy afternoon tea at Ziebell’s Farmhouse Museum and Heritage Garden. Own transport required between sites.

Date:                   Tuesday 11 October 2022

Time:                   2pm - 4.30pm

Cost:                    FREE

Where:                Meeting place to be advised on confirmation of booking

Info:                    9088 3465,




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.


Vivid Diwali Whittlesea

Presented by Mission Smile Inc.

Diwali is the Indian festival of lights, a five-day long festival dating to the 1st millennium CE. Diwali represents the same symbolic spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. Join the celebrations at Vivid Diwali Whittlesea, with food, Bollywood dancing, carnival rides, henna, performances and a DJ.

Date:                   Sunday 16 October 2022        

Time:                   12pm – 9.30pm

Cost:                    FREE

Where:                25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang

Info:                    0401 623 656,

Bookings:             Not required



Whittlesea’s Dark Past: Book Launch

Presented by Yarra Plenty Regional Library

Come along to the launch of Whittlesea’s Dark Past, a book of historical local true crime and paranormal stories. Written by Mill Park Library’s very own Jack Chan and funded by the Public Records Office of Victoria, discover the true tales from the book and bring along your own paranormal stories to share. Uncover a very dark past indeed.

Date:                   Thursday 13 October 2022    

Time:                   7pm – 8pm

Cost:                    FREE

Where:                Mill Park Library, 294 Plenty Road, Mill Park

Info:                    9437 8189





Bear’s Castle Tours

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




Wildflower Tour: Grasslands of Galada Tamboore

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




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:                   5 & 6 November 2022

Time:                   9am – 5pm

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

Where:               Whittlesea Showgrounds, Whittlesea Yea Road, Whittlesea


Bookings:           Not required



New Light

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

Time:                   10am - 4pm, Monday - Friday

Cost:                    FREE

Where:                Great Hall, City of Whittlesea Civic Centre, 25 Ferres Blvd, South Morang


Bookings:            Not required


Image: Reflective Dreams, Zoran Buzevski, 2021


Sites of Significance Tours

Presented by the City of Whittlesea

The City of Whittlesea is home to countless culturally significant and historic sites. Join our Sites of Significance tours to learn about the area from local history experts and gain access to some of these remarkable and often restricted sites. Lunch, transport and guest speakers included. See tour itineraries for details. Tickets limited so book quickly!

Dates:                 20 & 26 November 2022

Time:                   9am – 3pm

Cost:                    $25

Where:               Various sites in the municipality



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

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. 

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.  






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

Palestinian Olive Harvest 

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.

National Sorry Day

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


National Reconciliation Week

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

World Environment Day

World Environment Day is the most widely celebrated global day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. The theme for 2022 is ‘Only One Earth’.

Bring your keep cup and celebrate at this fun and inspiring family festival.

Some of the activities include:

  • Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony
  • Frogs, nest boxes and macro-invertebrates
  • Animals of Oz wildlife to pet
  • Ninja course
  • Eco Explorers activities
  • Mad About Science activities
  • Art activities
  • Scouts BBQ, hot drinks and much more!

For more information contact 0428 786 846.