Connect to Australia’s history, from ancient Aboriginal traditions through to convict and colonial eras. Learn about Sydney’s traditional owners and see the colony’s beginnings in historic sites stretching from the harbour to Parramatta. Check out Melbourne’s grand gold boom architecture and dine, wine and shop in Brisbane’s heritage-listed buildings. See Aboriginal and colonial art in Adelaide, near the historic German village of Hahndorf. Trace the Aboriginal lineage of Kings Park in Perth and walk with the ghosts of convicts, whalers and sailors in Hobart. Read Australia’s first constitution in Canberra and learn about Darwin’s dramatic World War II history.
Old Government House, Parramatta, NSW
Follow a heritage trail down Macquarie St to Circular Quay. Browse social history exhibitions in the sandstone fortress of Hyde Park Barracks, visit the Justice and Police Museum and dine harbourside in Victorian-era Customs House. Take a ferry to Fort Denison, the tiny harbour island where petty criminals were once held. Explore the colonial mansions of Elizabeth Bay and Vaucluse Houses or catch a performance in the palatial State Theatre. Visit Old Government House, Australia’s oldest public building, in Parramatta. See Sydney through Aboriginal eyes on a cultural cruise round Sydney Harbour or Cronulla or an Aboriginal tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens or Rocks.
Flinders Street Station, Melbourne, VIC
Wander the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Buildings in Carlton, erected in 1880 and the site of the first Commonwealth Parliament. In the city centre, visit the Old Melbourne Gaol, where Australia’s infamous bushranger Ned Kelly was hung, and wander through grand Flinders Street Station. Visit Cooks Cottage – Captain Cook’s carefully reconstructed childhood home – in East Melbourne. Picnic in the gardens of Como Historic House, built in 1847. Pay tribute to the Victorians who died in World War I at the Shrine of Remembrance. Walk the Golden Mile Heritage Trail from Federation Square past the remnants of Victoria’s gold boom. Learn about Victoria’s Aboriginal culture at the Koorie Heritage Trust or on an Aboriginal Heritage Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Customs House, Brisbane, QLD
Connect to the area’s long Aboriginal history watching local Yuggera dancers perform in the bushland of Kangaroo Point. Explore the landmark, heritage-listed building of Brisbane City Hall, which also houses the City Hall Art Gallery, the Clock Tower, King George Square and Brisbane Administration Centre. Built in the 1920s, the English neo-classical interior includes a sweeping marble staircase, vaulted ceilings, chandeliers and mosaic-tiled floor. Shop in the heritage-listed Brisbane Arcade and visit Old Government House, the original home of Queensland's early Governors. See an orchestra play between the grand Corinthian columns of Customs House and catch a performance in the Treasury Building, built in the style of an Italian palazzo.
Art Gallery of South Australia, SA
See Aboriginal artefacts in the South Australian Museum and Australian colonial art in the Art Gallery of South Australia, both on North Terrace. Take a guided tour through the colonial mansion of Ayers House Museum and wander Carrick Hill, a 1930s home built in the style of a 17th century English manor. Re-enact 1880s military life at Fort Glanville and the life of early state governors in Old Government House in Belair National Park. See churches, cottages and colonial mansions in North Adelaide and historic warehouses, wharves and museums in Port Adelaide, the city’s maritime heart. In the Adelaide Hills, visit the 1830s German village of Hahndorf and English-style village of Mt Torrens.
The Roundhouse, Fremantle, WA
Explore the state’s geological origins, rich Aboriginal history and European settlement in the Western Australian Museum in Northbridge. Tour the Old Mill, built in 1835 to grind flour, and the Old Perth Boys School, built in 1854 from sandstone that convicts ferried up the Swan River. Visit the Perth Mint, one of the world’s oldest mints, in East Perth. Take an Aboriginal tour through Kings Park, where the mythical Wagyl serpent is said to have entered the ground before emerging at the foot of Mt Eliza to shape the Swan River. Soak up Fremantle’s history at the Roundhouse, the state’s earliest convict jail, as well as the Fremantle Prison and Western Australian Maritime Museum.
Battery Point, Hobart, TAS
Meander past the 1830s warehouses of Salamanca Place, the cobblestone square on Hobart’s waterfront. Stare at early settler art and a pair of preserved Tasmanian Devils in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, which embraces heritage buildings on the Sullivans Cove waterfront. Glimpse the rumoured ghost at the Theatre Royal, Australia’s oldest theatre. In Battery Point, Hobart's oldest suburb, you can climb Kelly's Steps, built by legendary adventurer James Kelly in 1839, and do a ghost tour. You’ll also find elegant old buildings such as Arthur Circus Cottages, St. George's Anglican Church and the Narryna Heritage Museum. Walk across Australia’s oldest bridge and stand in the cell of its oldest jail in nearby Richmond.
Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT
Wander down the ceremonial avenue of Anzac Parade and connect to stories of Australian war and peacekeeping at the Australian War Memorial. Visit the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House. Stroll the sprawling gardens of Lanyon Homestead and wander Blundells’ Cottage, built in the 1860s and now a hands-on museum. Take a guided tour through the worker’s cottage of Mugga Mugga, or Canberra's first school in the St John’s Schoolhouse Museum. Pore over historical documents at the National Library of Australia or Australia’s first constitution at the nearby National Archives. See ancient Aboriginal rock art in nearby Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
Tour Government House and visit the Myilly Point Historical Precinct, where the four cottages are prime examples of the city’s pre-World War II architecture. Learn about Darwin’s rich Aboriginal heritage and relive the tragic 1974 Cyclone Tracy in the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. On Smith St, visit Christchurch Cathedral and heritage-listed Browns Mart, built in 1885. Watch footage of the World War II air raids on Darwin at East Point Military Museum and see ammunition bunkers in Charles Darwin National Park. Walk to World War II oil tunnels around the Wharf Precinct and dive the war’s shipwrecks in Darwin Harbour. Connect to the city’s longstanding Aboriginal cultural traditions in the art galleries along Mitchell St.