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National History Month

October is National History Month and staying at home is the perfect opportunity to delve into the past. What are you doing to celebrate? Here are some fantastic activities to engage with this October.


St. Margaret’s Eltham invites you to a free virtual seminar on pre-European Indigenous culture in the Melbourne area.

Featuring guest speaker Dr. Gary Presland:  Historian & Australian Archaeologist, author of First People, Eastern Kulin of Melbourne, Port Melbourne and Central Victoria

When: Saturday 17 October, 2pm - 3:30pm

Enquiries: Kathleen Toal 0439 032 977

Register here

Banjo Patterson, the man behind the words

Discover A.B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s last remaining papers not already held in a public institution. As well as being a lawyer and poet, he was a husband and father, and the collection includes some of his personal letters to members of his family and a selection of candid family photographs. Courtesy National Library Australia.

Banjo Paterson the man behind the words

Great Speeches

Listen to some of Australia's great speeches held in the National Library's Oral History collection.

Featuring Prime Minister Robert Menzies, Prime Minister John Curtain, Neville Bonner and Anne Summers.​

Great Speeches


Creation stories

Discover the traditional Wurundjeri creation stories in these delightful videos featuring children from the Koori Choir and Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Ian Hunter. Stories featured: How Bunjil Made Man, The Story of the Platypus and The Story of the Southern Cross.

Creation stories with Ian Hunter

Making Public Histories

Bookings have opened for ‘Victoria's Native Vegetation: History, Heritage, Politics’, the next free webinar in the History Council of Victoria Making Public Histories series, to be delivered on Tuesday 10 November from 5 to 6.30 pm AEDT.

Click HERE for more information and to book.

Victoria's Native Vegetation: History, Heritage, Politics

Learn to play a gum leaf

Join Uncle Herb Pattern in a masterclass on using gum leaves as an instrument.

Watch the video by Slanteam Melbpoly:


History Council of Victoria Annual Lecture

Bookings are now open for Futures Past and Possible: Histories of and for Tomorrow, the Historical Council of Victoria’s annual lecture. It will be delivered online by Associate Professor Ruth Morgan, Director of the Centre for Environmental History at the Australian National University.

The event will start at 5.30 pm AEDT on Thursday 8 October 2020. Following the lecture, audience members will be able to participate in a Q&A session with Ruth. The event will conclude by 6.45 pm.

Click HERE to find out more.

Reserve your seat for this free public lecture

History Roadshow

The History Roadshow is a free program of presentations tailored to regional Victorian students of History in Years 11 and 12. Delivered by the History Council of Victoria, the program aims to provide VCE students with rich curriculum-related opportunities to engage with specialist academic and professional historians.

Click HERE to find out more.

History Roadshow

Moses Thomas Flourmill Archaeological dig

In 2015, Heritage Victoria conducted archaeological investigations at the site of the former Moses Thomas flour mill, on the Plenty River in Mernda. The archaeological investigations exposed the remains of an 1850s cottage associated with the operation of the Moses Thomas mill, and Aboriginal cultural heritage in some of the test trenches close to the river. The other cultural heritage features nearby in Plenty Gorge Park include an 1840s hotel site, a river crossing, remnants of a weir, part of the Yan Yean water supply system, and a network of historic roadways.

For more about community involvement in this project visit the Lost Mernda Facebook page.

Read all about the Public Archaeology at the Thomas Flourmill excavation

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