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About Time - Best Free Events in The City

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
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We've had Mad March, now it's Mad May
in adelaide, about adelaide, about time, history festival, adelaide gaol, parliament house, state library, adelaide hospital
Explore Adelaide's Hidden History During About Time


Before I start, let me tell you that I'm going to cheat. If something costs a gold coin I am going to treat it as "free" in this article.

Sorry if that offends anyone, but these days a gold coin doesn't even buy a bus trip so I don't think it will break anyone's budget.

History buffs will need no introduction to the About Time History Festival, and will have already gone through the program's hundreds of events to spot what they are going to do this year.

But if you haven't yet (and the program is huge), then here are my picks for some of the events in Adelaide CBD that will be excellent value. Note that if I haven't specified dates, then the event should be available throughout May. Where bookings are necessary then do book early.

in adelaide, about adelaide, about time, history festival, adelaide gaol, parliament house, state library, adelaide hospital, parklands, west terrace cemetery
West Terrace Cemetery in Daylight


There are quite a few activities that you can do in your lunch time if you work in the city. Check out the history of the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Lunatic Asylum in a display open daily during May. Or see an exhibition about Adelaide in days gone by with the Adelaide City Council's display of old photos and drawings of the city. The huge popularity of the new retro Facebook group Adelaide Remember When suggests the exhibition will be popular,

On a fine day escape the noise and bustle in the CBD and take a self guided tour of West Terrace Cemetery using the free brochure. Or take the free Crime and Punishment guided tour there on Sunday May 19 (bookings required).

If you're short of time then you can vote online for your favourite Adelaide city building. If you think any of these places are worth saving then it's a good chance to say so.

There is also a free forum asking has South Australia given up on heritage? Given the number of times former Heritage Minister Paul Caica used his powers to strip heritage protection from buildings under threat, many think that the government has.

in adelaide, about adelaide, about time, history festival, adelaide gaol, parliament house, state library, adelaide hospital, parklands, west terrace cemetery
Forbidding Old Adelaide Gaol


On May 26 visiting the old Adelaide Gaol will only cost you $3, an absolute bargain. I'd go early to avoid the crowds.

Take a free tour of the Tales and Treasures of the Parklands in the world's first solar electric bus. Let's hope it's not a cloudy day!

If solar power doesn't do it for you, how about parliamentary power? Explore Parliament House on selected days, but sadly there is no hint that you will be able to use the Member's Bar or Dining Room at their discount prices. No doubt you will see packs of pollies and plenty of public servants - pick up a few tips on how to get in there too here.

in adelaide, about adelaide, about time, history festival, adelaide gaol, parliament house, state library, adelaide hospital, parklands
Adelaide Parklands - Once Used for Grazing Animals


Do you like rubbing shoulders with celebrities? Unfortunately the early birds booked out a tour of King William Street with veteran Adelaide broadcaster and passionate South Aussie Keith Conlon. You can still add yourself to a waiting list with no guarantees. Just steer clear of football in your conversation unless you're a big fan.

Perhaps you could try one or another of my own city walks as a consolation prize if you missed out.

And lastly, the State Library is hosting a titillating free session every Friday called Crime in the Colony. With talk of colourful characters, gritty tales, and young bushrangers it sounds rather exciting. (Bookings required).

And for something even more sensationally saucy, Adelaide historian Ian Purcell AM will be talking about a plot to discredit a Chief Justice, with claims of illicit sex and wrongful use of police powers. On May 26 - Justice Served.

The About Time festival has literally hundreds of events around South Australia right throughout May. This is only a small taster selection of the events - see the website for the full list or pick up the program from your local library.
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Why? Free entertainment for May
Phone: (08) 8203 9888
Where: Adelaide, SA
Cost: Mostly free
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