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About Time - SA History Festival

Home > Adelaide > Kids | Free | Festivals | Family | Exhibitions
by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. Please click the link to Like my articles, and subscribe to see more.
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Update April 5th 2013
The About Time program is now available online and should also be available in libraries, Councils and visitor centres.

Fascinating and fun
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Entrance to Old Adelaide Gaol

About Time is South Australia's annual history festival, bringing us a chance to peek into the past and experience how much things have changed over the years.

It's a hugely popular festival, with more than 500 events held all around the State - many of them free.

And Open House Adelaide will run again this year in conjunction with About Time, giving access to public and private buildings that are not normally accessible.

There are so many events held during the month long festival (May 1-31) that we won't be able to cover them all. But the full program will be released online in early April, and printed copies will be available from venues such as libraries, museums and local councils.

What I can do is give you a preview of a selected few of the events that will be in the program this year. It's not only for history buffs - there will also be events with an art or musical slant. You won't need to look hard for what to do in Adelaide during May - keep an eye on the About Time Facebook page for more information.

Just be sure to reserve your place early, as many events are booked out quickly.

Adelaide Gaol
Perhaps one of the most popular of SA's historical sites is the Old Adelaide Gaol which offers educational, self guided and even scary ghost tours. During the festival there where be a three dollar day when you will be able to explore the gaol for a bargain basement price.

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Art Gallery of South Australia

Art Gallery
At the Art Gallery of South Australia you will be able to take free tours of the Elder Wing to discover SA's rich artistic heritage. The tours will be held daily at 11am during the History Festival.

Ayers House
The Ayers House Museum will be presenting a historical re-creation to take you back in time to 1876, where the butler, housekeeper and cook will take you on a tour as they prepare for a State Dinner while the Master and Lady are out. (Not free)

Given the popularity of Downton Abbey in Australia, this one should be a winner.

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Old Treasury Building Adelaide

Old Adelaide Treasury & Tunnels
Whenever the topic of Adelaide tunnels arises, people come up with some very strange rumours and stories. During About Time there will be an Open Day to visit the Treasury, tunnels beneath, and the former SA Government Cabinet Room. ($5 per person).

100 Years of Morris
Morris cars are celebrating their centenary this year, and you can see a display of Morris, MG, Riley and Wolseley vehicles on the Torrens Parade Ground and discover Lord Nuffield's contributions to South Australia. William Morris (Lord Nuffield) was a great benefactor, donating iron lungs to Adelaide hospitals. His machines were also used in road transport, industry, farming and even the Christmas Pageant. (Gold coin donation)

Holden heritage Tour
Take a tour of General Motors Holden historical sites about Adelaide, including commentary and presentations by GM Holden historians, Don Loffler and Stewart Underwood. This bus tour will delve into the history of the Holden family and the company from inception to its incorporation into the General Motors conglomerate. The tour will include Holden family homes and manufacturing sites. Presented by the National Motor Museum. ($20 per person).

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Tour Parliament House

Parliament House Tour
Explore the darkest corners and creepy crevices of our highest House. Is it really haunted like Old Tailem Town is said to be? Discover what guilty secrets in the past our members are hiding. I am confident there is no truth to the rumour that visitors will need to learn the Freemason's handshake, be Catholic, or sign a non-disclosure agreement. (Free)

St Peter's Cathedral Tour
A tour of this attractive gothic-revival Cathedral, bell tower and ringing centre. View a display of Cathedral needlework both ancient and modern. You can tour the bell tower and the new Ringing Centre which is set up for people to learn to ring the bells. Earplugs are optional, and thankfully the Hunchback has gone back to Paris. (Free)

The Science Exchange
Before becoming the home of RiAus, The Science Exchange had an exciting history (unless you owned shares in Cox Foys) as the Adelaide Stock Exchange . This quirky building in the heart of the city is one of the few remaining Edwardian buildings in Adelaide. Tour the Science Exchange for some fascinating stories, and see Morris stained-glass windows.

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West Terrace Cemetery

Sounds of the Cemetery
West Terrace Cemetery will fill with the sounds of yesteryear as the Adelaide Concert Band, Adelaider Liedertafel 1858, Adelaide German Band and Brighton Secondary School bring to life the scores of notable nineteenth and twentieth century composers, songwriters and performers. Settle in for an afternoon of music from the likes of Percy Grainger, Carl Linger and William Robert Knox.

Surprisingly there are no reports of ghosts at the cemetery, although I did find a story about a haunting at Calvary Hospital.

From Changi to SA: the cartoon legacy of POW Bettany
In 1974, artist Des Bettany retired as Acting Principal of the oldest art school in Australia, the SA School of Art, now within Uni SA. His journey to Australia began in the cruel setting of Changi - the Japanese POW camp, where he gained respect and affection for Australian prisoners, recording shared experiences in a fascinating cartoon legacy.

For more articles about Adelaide history by this author, click here.

A particularly important article talks about the current threat to heritage buildings in Adelaide.
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Why? History is fun
When: See program
Phone: (08) 8203 9888
Where: Around South Australia
Cost: Varies, see program
Your Comment
Thanks so much for this article. To my shame, I have to admit I'd never heard of History Month but now I know about it and can't wait!
by lilli (score: 1|73) 2772 days ago
Terowie the so called Ghost Town had over 100 people for The lost Tools of Henry Hoke for History Month
by janet (score: 0|5) 1611 days ago
I cant wait! I so love History Month!!!
by Paula McManus (score: 3|3638) 2773 days ago
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