SA’s History Festival brings a month of discovery

Ready to explore the nation’s most haunted town after dark?  Fancy a tour of Adelaide’s hidden gods and goddesses? Want to take selfies from the past with the Adelaide time machine app? Yep, that’s all part of South Australia’s History Festival.

From 1-31 May every year, SA’s History Festival is a celebration of the people and stories that shaped South Australia. Last year, 189,000 attendances were recorded, and this year it’s set to be even bigger. It’s a way to get to know your home state and discover hidden treasures in your own backyard.

Power: This year’s theme

Festival Director Dane Wilden says the 2024 festival digs into the idea of power – not just political power, but the forces that shape our lives. Think First Nations survival and resilience, how social movements change the world, and the innovations that make SA stand out.

A star of the festival is the 100 Portraits of Power project.  Everyday South Aussies – younger, older, all backgrounds – reflecting on what power means to them. Check out the full gallery of gorgeous black and white photos, and the intriguing stories that go with them here. And speaking of power, posters of the portraits will be popping up on a Stobie pole near you throughout April and May – simply scan the QR code for some interactive History Festival fun.

History in your backyard

With more than 500 events statewide, there’s bound to be something happening near you. Over 40 per cent of the events are outside Adelaide, so no matter where you live, you can be part of the history fun. Best of all, many events are free and most are cheaper than a decent coffee and cake.

Whether you’re fascinated by true crime, love a good wine, or if BookTok is more your thing, the program has it all (plus something for your mum, bestie, and youngest niece or nephew). There are walking tours uncovering Adelaide’s queer history, a famous foodie’s guide to the Central Market, and workshops led by Ngarrindjeri elders.  You can even go behind the scenes where those iconic Stobie poles are made – it’s their 100th birthday this year!

Why bother with the past, anyway?

Dane says the cheesy saying is true: ‘those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Plus, it’s particularly satisfying to explore our own state’s history, because we have some surprisingly progressive world-firsts to celebrate (and the odd mistake). With school history curriculums often focused on the eastern states, what you don’t know about SA might be more than you think. This festival is your chance to learn the stories that shaped where you live now.

Meet the History Trust of SA!

The History Trust of SA is the grunt behind the festival. Think of them as the guardians of SA’s treasures, preserving almost 35,000 precious objects that tell our history. Their mission is to tell stories of SA’s past, in a way that keeps it relevant for present and future generations. They run four amazing museums across South Australia:

  • Migration Museum: Discover the diverse cultures and journeys that shaped our state.
  • National Motor Museum: Explore 300 vehicles celebrating our unique road transport history.
  • South Australian Maritime Museum: Dive into the human stories of our oceans and rivers.
  • The Centre of Democracy: Learn how democracy works and the power of your own voice.

Their dream is even bigger – to create a brand-new, state-of-the-art Adelaide Museum of SA History (AMoSAH), where everyone can explore our unique stories. Check out their vision for the future here.

Ready to get involved?

Hit up the festival program to find events near you this May, and snag tickets to ones that sound interesting – they go fast!  Whether you’re a total history nerd or just curious, there’s bound to be something that surprises you. Here are some picks to get you started:

10 South Australian History Festival highlights

  1. Port Adelaide’s Art Deco & Modernism Architectural Delights
  2. Cheers! Celebrating the Old Pubs of North Adelaide
  3. Devonshire Tea at Partridge House
  4. Her Majesty’s Theatre Behind the Scenes Tour and Talk
  5. Beyond the Boundary Tour
  6. Old Treasury and Tunnels
  7. First Nations Cultural Awareness Training
  8. ‘The Last Daughter’ Film Screening and Conversation with Dr Jenni Caruso
  9. Kapunda Ghost Crime Tour
  10. Yalumba Unlocked Experience

Find out more about South Australia’s History Festival here.

This story originally appeared on The Post a media partnership between the Government of South Australia and Solstice Media to inform young South Australians about the policies that underpin issues affecting their lives.

All NewsInfrastructureInnovationIndustry & BusinessRegionsEnvironmentLifestyle & EventsCommunityEducationHealth