Heritage Festival

Heritage Festival 2020 Events


Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the current advice from government surrounding public gatherings, Melton City Council regretfully advises that the 2020 Heritage Festival was cancelled. The event was scheduled to take place 18 April 2020.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact the City Strategy Team on 9747 7200. 

Willows Homestead Open Day

Picture of the Willows Homestead

Wednesdays and Sundays 1 - 4pm between 19 April and 17 May

Cost: Gold coin donation

The Willows is an 1850s homestead constructed of rendered stone rubble and mud mortar, on the banks of the Toolern Creek.  The Melton and District Historical Society will be opening their collections and the homestead during the festival.

German migration and settlement at Westgarthtown, a guided bus tour and BYO picnic lunch.

Ziebells Farmhouse

When: Thursday 23 April, 9am to 3.30pm

Where: Bus from Melton Civic Centre, 232 High Street Melton

Cost: Free

In March 1850, a group of German immigrants settled at Thomastown, on land belonging to William Westgarth. The new migrants built dairy farms and practised a traditional Wendish way of life that has left a legacy of traditional stone buildings and dry stone walls.

A bus will take us to Thomastown where we will have a guided tour of Ziebell’s farmhouse and garden and enjoy morning tea in the historic buildings. Bring a BYO picnic for the park and then walk through the Lutheran cemetery and church and explore other historic sites in Westgarthtown, before heading back to Melton. 

Please dress for the weather and walking outdoors.

The tale of Captain Moonlite, bushranger and gentleman.

Photo of Captain Moonlite

Saturday 25 April, 2pm

Where: Kurunjang Community Hub, 33 Mowbray Crescent, Kurunjang

Cost: Free

Captain Moonlite has been called ‘the bushranger most likely to qualify as queer’. 

Moonlite - well-educated, handsome and charming - served as a lay preacher in Bacchus Marsh in the 1860s before turning to a life of crime.  'Brave to the verge of recklessness,' a contemporary journalist wrote, with a certain chivalrous dash, ‘he is the beau ideal of a brigand chief.'

He also wrote passionate letters about his love for another gang member and pleaded with his executioners to bury him with the younger man. 'I long to join him where there shall be no more parting,' he said.

Jeff Sparrow tells the fascinating story of a lesser known outlaw, one that illuminates nineteenth century ideas about love, sexuality and colonial masculinity. Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley-award winning journalist, editor and broadcaster. He's the author of many books and a former member of the 3RRR Breakfasters team.

The event will be introduced by Michelle Sheppard of JOY FM.

Researching Aboriginal Family History Workshop.

Photo Australian Aboriginal Flag

Friday 1 May, 10am to 12:30pm

Where: Meeting Room 2, Caroline Springs Library, Caroline Springs Boulevard

Cost: Free

This free workshop by the Koorie Family History Service will introduce participants to the particular archives and resources which can be used when researching Aboriginal family trees or ancestors. This introductory workshop will bust some of the myths about doing Koorie family research, government record keeping and historical sources about Aboriginal people in Victoria. Open to all participants with an interest in family history and genealogy.

Morning tea will be provided.

Guided Tour of ‘Melbourne’s most joyful set of postmodern structures’ - former Mowbray College. 

Photo Mowbray College Patterson Campus

Saturday 2 May, 2pm

Where: Heathdale Christian College, 102-112 Centenary Avenue, Kurunjang (access and parking via Gate 4 on Centenary Avenue)

Cost: Free

The former Mowbray College was an independent community school established by Melton residents in 1983, only a decade after Melton had been declared Melbourne’s first satellite city.  The school closed in 2012 and in 2014 the complex of buildings at the Kurunjang campus was included on the Victorian Heritage Register after a public campaign to save them.

The former Mowbray College buildings are an important example of the ‘reforming school’ designs of the period. They were designed to reflect the suburban milieu of Melton and philosophically drew on the notion of the school as a nurturing village for the students. The buildings received several major awards at the time and their architect, Norman Day went on to become an influential post-modern architect and critic.

Heathdale Christian College have generously opened their doors for this guided tour which will be led by architectural historian and Mowbray alumni, Guy Murphy. The tour will run for approximately an hour and include a light afternoon tea.

Please dress for the weather.

An unfortunate life and death: Ellen Batman and her sisters at Toolern Vale.

Photo Ellen Batman's Grave Site

Saturday 9 May, 2pm

Where: Melton Library and Learning Hub, McKenzie Street, Melton and an optional bus trip to the grave site can be booked separately, leaving from Melton Library and Learning Hub.

Cost: Free

A lonely grave in the bush at Toolern Vale, marks the last resting place of Ellen Batman. Ellen was one of seven daughters of John Batman, a notorious and divisive personality in the history of Victoria and his ex-convict wife, Eliza. In researching the Batman women, Michelle Berry, a University of Tasmania historian, has found that violence and insecurity plagued the lives of these colonial women. Three of the daughters, Eliza, Adelaide and Ellen ended up in Toolern Vale at the properties of John Aitken and the Collyer brothers and Ellen died at Greenhills Station in 1851. Their mother was murdered in Geelong in 1852.

This talk will discuss the history of the Batman women and their relationships, and the difficulties faced by ‘women without means’, in colonial society. At the end of the talk, an optional visit by bus, to the grave of Ellen Batman will be offered to those able to bushwalk. Please make a separate booking for the bus to the gravesite.

If you are taking the bus tour please be prepared to bush walk over uneven ground for 1km and wear appropriate footwear.

What is Heritage Festival

The Heritage Festival is an annual celebration of all things history and heritage in the City of Melton. It is held during the Australian Heritage Festival each year.  For more information visit the National Trust Heritage Festival website.

The City Strategy Team co-ordinates the Heritage Festival programming, but it is the community who has stepped up to lead walks, talks and share the research which contribute to our understanding of this municipality. Please contact us with your ideas for future events.

For further information on Heritage Week please contact our City Strategy Team on 9747 7200 or email us at citysupport@melton.vic.gov.au