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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.

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.


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 visit for 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

Sites of Significance Guided Tours

In June and July 2022 we will be running guided bus tours to a handpicked selection of these magnificent locations. Visit sites with special access restrictions such as Bear's Castle, Ziebell's Farmhouse Museum and Heritage Garden, and the Keelbundoora Scarred Tree Trail. Tours are $25 per person, include lunch (North and South tours) and special guest speakers, and encompass the north, south or central regions. Tickets are limited. Book here

Plenty River Weaving Workshop

Presented by: Nikki Brown

Visit the beautiful Plenty River and learn the art of traditional Aboriginal binak (basket) weaving, a technique practiced for thousands of years. Bidjara woman Nikki Brown will share her weaving skills and stories from Bidjara country (Canarvon Gorge QLD). Dress warm and BYO camping chair or picnic rug. Afternoon tea provided.

Event details:

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this event is currently postponed. 

For further information call 9217 2042 or email our Sustainability team.

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.


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.

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

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.  






Westgarthtown and WWI

Juxtaposing the treatment of citizens of German descent living in Westgarthtown with the experiences of their relatives who were fighting and dying for Australia during World War 1, Westgarthtown & WWI is a moving documentary presented by the Friends of Westgarthtown.
Almost 70 descendants of the German settlers of Westgarthtown fought on all battlefronts; some being decorated, others losing their lives, whilst others returned to Australia carrying a heavy burden. Back at Westgarthtown, their relatives were viewed by their neighbours with suspicion. Instead of seeing fellow citizens some saw the enemy. It is an issue that resonates in Australia today.

Veterans of City of Whittlesea

Uncover the stories of some of our incredible war heroes, Whittlesea’s veterans. Those who fought and died and those who lived to tell the tale.




The Last Post

In military tradition, the Last Post is the bugle call that signifies the end of the day's activities. It is also sounded at military funerals to indicate that the soldier has gone to his final rest and at commemorative services such as Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.

The Last Post is one of a number of bugle calls in military tradition that mark the phases of the day. While Reveille signals the start of a soldier's day, the Last Post signals its end.
The call is believed to have originally been part of a more elaborate routine, known in the British Army as "tattoo", that began in the 17th century. In the evening, a duty officer had to do the rounds of his unit's position, checking that the sentry posts were manned and rounding up the off-duty soldiers and packing them off to their beds or billets.

The officer would be accompanied by one or more musicians. The "first post" was sounded when he started his rounds and, as the party went from post to post, a drum was played. The drumbeats told off-duty soldiers it was time to rest; if the soldiers were in a town, the beats told them it was time to leave the pubs. Another bugle call was sounded when the officer's party completed its rounds, reaching the "last post" – this signalled that the night sentries were alert at their posts and gave one last warning to the other soldiers.
The Last Post was eventually incorporated into funeral and memorial services as a final farewell, symbolising the duty of the dead is over and they can rest in peace.

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.

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

Past events

Cultural Diversity program

Every year in March, Victorians gather together to celebrate our diversity. This year Harmony Week is 15 – 21 March and Cultural Diversity Week falls on 21-28 March. We have put together an exciting program of workshops and activities that reflect the Cultural Diversity of our unique City. Please join us and celebrate together.

National History Month

October is National History Month and staying at home is the perfect opportunity to delve into the past. Visit our National History Month page for some fantastic activities to engage with this October.

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.