Mt Kembla Mining Heritage Centre and Festival

Mt Kembla Heritage Centre welcomes you all year round. Visit our award-winning display of the 1902 Mt Kembla Mine Disaster “Thunder in a cloudless sky”. Open on the second Sunday of each month 11am to 4pm or anytime for guided group tours contact Phil Donaldson. 

1887 Mt Kembla Disaster31st July marks the anniversary of the Mt Kembla Disaster, where 96 men and boys lost their lives in the explosion. 

On 23 March 1887 some 15 years and 4 months earlier months earlier the first major mine disaster struck the Illawarra region with the Bulli Mine Disaster which claimed the lives of 81 men and boys.

A leader in that rescue campaign was one Henry Osborne MacCabe a young man of 30 years of age. Amongst the many rescuers was John Evans, Manager Mt Kembla Colliery, and W. B. Green former manager Mt Kembla Colliery.

Mt Kembla Mining Heritage CentreTo many, our festival may seem the only thing the Heritage Centre committee does every year … nothing could be further from the truth … in fact our list of significant achievements is very long since our formation in 2001, to commemorate the centenary of the Mt Kembla Mine Disaster of 1902.

Mt Kembla Village Cordeaux Road, Mt Kembla NSW 2526
Phone: (02) 4261 9196

Australian heritage architecture

Along with iconic structures such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia boasts some highly unique architecture that has been inspired directly by Aboriginal culture, the natural environment and distinctive wildlife.

For contemporary buildings inspired by ancient Aboriginal dwellings look no further than the Kakadu Visitor Centre in the Northern Territory. Designed by the famous Darwin-based Troppo Architects firm, the centre is inspired by an Aboriginal rock shelter. Open to the general public all year round, it’s worth a visit both for the architecture and the extensive information about the flora and fauna found in the Kakadu National Park.

Another building strongly influenced by Aboriginal culture is the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Cooinda close to Kakadu. The architecture represents the story of Kakadu as told by the traditional owners. The circular design of the centre symbolises a warradjan, the pig-nosed turtle that is a totem of the area.

Some of the most famous pieces of architecture in Australia are privately-owned homes. One of Australia’s best known architects, Harry Seidler, created the modernist masterpiece, the Rose Seidler House in Sydney for his mother in 1947 because he was bored with the monotony of suburban homes. His first house attracted attention because of the unusual rectangular ‘tentacles’ that reach out the house anchor it onto the surrounding land. The Historic Houses Trust runs tours through the Rose Seidler House every Sunday.

A number of Australian hotels also boast exceptional architectural design and histories. The Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart was transformed from a row of derelict historic warehouses and a former jam factory into an enthralling boutique on Hobart’s waterfront. A dramatic feature of the hotel is the restored factory machinery and the magnificent all-glass atrium.

For a one of a kind experience, the Desert Cave Underground Hotel in Coober Pedy in South Australia is unmissable.  The quiet, cool, dark and airy sandstone hotel was built in a dug-out style underground as an escape from the extreme heat of this opal-mining area.

From the red dirt of the outback to the salt of the stretches of beaches, the diversity of Australia’s landscape has been inspiration for a number of Australia’s architectural marvels. The Shark Bay Interpretive Centre at Denham in Western Australia has been inspired by the salt and sand of Australia’s oceans. The main building is a simple box clad in salt-resistant titanium zinc sheeting that has been tilted and twisted so it appears that it has been randomly blown up onto the beach. It is open to visitors all year round.

The Federation Square building in Melbourne is also strongly influenced by the Australian landscape and features ochres and sandstone on the outer cladding. The triangular façade is made of a combination of sandstone, zinc and glass that includes a total of 22,073 triangles. Federation Square hosts 2000 events a year so there is sure to be some kind of activity, exhibition, concert or event occurring during your visit.

Architectural Tours
A number of architectural tours run in Australia’s major cities and can be a great way to take in a range of architectural styles in one hit.

Sydney Architecture Walks offer architect-led urban tours of Sydney city. A range of themed tours are available including Contemporary Iconic Structures, Gritty Industrial Architecture and the Joern Utzon Sydney Opera House tour.

Melbourne Architecture Tours  showcase the design of Melbourne’s past along with Melbourne’s newest architectural gems. Highlights include the Old Melbourne Gaol, the St Paul’s Cathedral and Federation Square.

The Historic Houses Trust tours explores the grand old homes of Sydney. Showcasing the colonial architecture, magnificent grounds and period furniture of homes such as Vaucluse House and Elizabeth Farm, this tour provides an intriguing snapshot of Australia’s past.

NSW Schoolhouse Museum Tour and Talk

A Museums Australia NSW event
Wednesday 5 May 2010 4pm

Kathryn Watkins will provide a glimpse of schooling from the past and conduct a tour of the NSW Schoolhouse Museum of Public Education.

The museum is housed in restored early schoolrooms and collects and preserves objects relating to the history of public education in NSW.

NSW Schoolhouse Museum of Public EducationNSW Schoolhouse Museum
Cox’s Road, North Ryde

The NSW Schoolhouse Museum is located on Cox’s Road, North Ryde in the north-eastern corner of the grounds of North Ryde Public School (almost opposite Cox’s Road Mall).A car park is located behind the Schoolhouse Museum

The following Sydney Buses stop at the front of the museum: 288 & 506.


NSW Schoolhouse Museum
RSVP:  The event is free, but bookings essential by Monday 3 May to
Paul Bentley, Executive Officer
Museums Australia NSW Branch
Phone: 02 9387 7307
Mobile: 0416 121 347

Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village Warrnambool

Flagstaff Hill overlooks Lady Bay at Warrnambool Victoria. The grounds has two small lighthouses which still guide ships into the bay. The upper lighthouse is open for inspection and contains a small but beautiful Chance Bros. lens.

Flagstaff Hill is an interactive Maritime Village and Museum that takes visitors on a rich journey of discovery through an early Australian coastal fishing port.

Built around the State Heritage listed Lady Bay Lighthouse precinct, overlooking Lady Bay Warrnambool, Flagstaff Hill holds the richest collection of Shipwreck artefacts in Australia.

Scattered throughout the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village are a range of trades that supported the rich maritime heritage of the late 1800’s.

Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village provides visitors and researchers with a variety of different ways to source information relating to the history of Warrnambool, the Great Ocean Road, and of course relating to the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Villlage and the maritime history of the rugged Shipwreck Coast.

Comfort Inn Central Court Warrnambool offers a variety of accommodation options whether for a single individual or a large family. In the heart of the city, only 50 metres from the main cafe and shopping strip. Licensed restaurant onsite with quality service in a friendly country atmosphere. Heated swimming pool and garden area on first floor. The property is only a short drive to the historic Shipwreck Coast.

Annual Scottish Highland Gathering: Brigadoon

Australia’s premier Scottish Gathering – Brigadoon – will again weave its magic on April 17 2010, at Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

Be prepared to have your blood stirred and spine tingled as the mist rolls back to the skirl of bagpipes and the village becomes Brigadoon for the day.

This year, Highlander, one of the finest Scottish Celtic Rock Bands in the world, is bringing its unique sound to the gathering. This five piece group has a unique sound which has been wowing audiences of all ages with their electrifying high-energy music.

The powerful sound of the bagpipes, matched with dynamic sound of the fiddle, and electric and acoustic guitars, compliment the powerhouse bass grooves, pulsating percussion, and vocal harmonies.

Highlander, while keeping traditional music in its repertoire, has also added its own flavour to  the reels, jigs, and songs of Scotland. However, they are most outstanding when they perform their original compositions which are rich in melody and message.

Highlander has appeared at events such as Scotland in Concert (Jakarta Indonesia),  Tamworth Country Music Festival, The Australian Celtic Festival, Kilmore Celtic Festival, Toukley Gathering of the Clans, Nelson Bay Clans on the Coast,  and many clubs, hotels, private and corporate functions. They always provide a show that is dynamic and entertaining.

It is impossible not to be caught up in the energy Highlander brings to every show. They are an act guaranteed to have audiences dancing in the oval aisles!!

The Scottish Gatering at Brigadoon highlights include:
Scottish Country Dancing
Street Parade
25 Pipe Bands performing later in the arena throughout the day
Traditional (and not so traditional) Highlands Games – caber toss, throwing the haggis, shot put, water toss, egg toss, Fergie stones
Display of medieval duelling and combat
‘Bonnie Bairns’ Highland Dress Competition
and much more

Up close and personal with Australian wildlife

Nature was inspired when it created Australia. There are animals you’ll see nowhere else and plants that will amaze you. Australia is one of the most diverse countries on the planet, home to more than one million species of plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Among the most well known of these are the koala, the wombat, the kangaroo, the laughing kookaburra, and the egg-laying platypus – a creature so odd-looking that sceptical European scientists thought it was several different animals sewn together.

Some of Australia’s unique animals and birds are easy to spot, even in the major capital cities. It’s not unusual to see a possum climbing up a city lamp post in the evening, or giant fruit bats taking off from their roosts in city parks. Pelicans, sacred ibis, colourful parrots, and cockatoos look right at home too.    

Within easy distance of every city are several national parks and wildlife reserves. This isn’t surprising when you consider that Australia boasts 516 national parks, 145 marine parks, 2,700 designated conservation areas, and 33 Indigenous Protected Areas. There are also 15 natural World Heritage Sites, ranging from the Great Barrier Reef to the Tasmanian Wilderness.

One of the most iconic Australian animals is the kangaroo. There are 63 species of kangaroo in Australia including different kinds of wallabies, tree-kangaroos, wallaroos, pademelons and the quokka – a cat-size marsupial that lives on some of the smaller islands off the coast of Western Australia.

While some of these animals are rare or elusive, others are quite common. It’s not unusual to see lots of powerful red kangaroos bounding besides your car as you travel through Australia’s Outback. You can often easily see big grey kangaroos in native grassland beside the road too.

In some places such as Booderee National Park, south of Sydney – they wander right up to you. While at Pebbly Beach, between Ulladulla and Batemans Bay on the New South Wales south coast, kangaroos graze on the grass edging the pristine beach and casually hop among the picnic rugs. 

One of the best places in Australia to see a large range of animals and birds up close is Kangaroo Island, in South Australia. While kangaroos may have given the island its name, in the space of one day, you can easily spot koalas, wallabies, goannas, echidnas, brush-tailed possums, and platypus. You can quickly tick off dozens of the 270 species of bird found here, including perhaps the rare glossy black cockatoo.

Other Kangaroo Island highlights include watching fairy penguins waddling home after a day out at sea, taking a swim with the Island’s resident pods of dolphins, and walking beside hundreds of rare Australian sealions as they laze on the sand.

While Kangaroo Island is the perfect spot for observing koalas in the wild, you might want to spare a thought for those that end up needing a caring hand. The Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie is the world’s first hospital dedicated solely to the care and preservation of koalas.

Then there’s Phillip Island in Victoria, home to the Koala Conservation Centre. This was set up for research and breeding purposes, and you can get quite close to these cuddly creatures. Phillip Island is also world famous for its Penguin Parade.

Another great place to spot koalas in the wild is beside the Great Ocean Road, one of the most spectacular scenic drives in Australia. You can also see koalas in their natural habitat around Port Stephens, north of Sydney too.

Beautiful Port Stephens is also home to resident pods of dolphins, and several companies operate dolphin-watching tours and whale-watching tours.
The most prolific whales in our waters are the southern right whale and the humpback whale. These pass along the western, southern and eastern coastlines during their annual migration. Some of the most popular whale watching spots include Hervey Bay in Queensland, Warrnambool in south-western Victoria, Victor Harbour in South Australia, and Byron Bay, Eden, and Narooma in New South Wales.

From June to November you can see plenty of humpback whales migrating northwards along the Western Australian coastline to shelter in Camden Sound on the Kimberley coast. They also congregate off Broome, where the females give birth. In September you could head to Dunsborough to see blue whales and their calves in the calm waters of Geographe Bay.

Between early April and early July each year marine adventurers can try snorkelling with the world’s largest fish – the whale shark. Ningaloo Reef, on Western Australia’s Coral Coast, is one of only a few places in the world where this is possible.

Wild dolphins are common right along the Australian coast, and there are plenty of opportunities to swim with them at Port Phillip Bay in Victoria, Baird Bay on the South Australian coast, Port Stephens and Huskisson in New South Wales and at Rockingham near Perth.

One of the most famous dolphin habitats is Monkey Mia on the shores of World Heritage-listed Shark Bay, in Western Australia. The wild bottlenose dolphins around here have been swimming around the ankles of tourists every day for the past forty years.

If crocodiles are more your scene then head up to the Northern Territory to search for saltwater crocodiles in Kakadu National Park. Kakadu’s many habitats, which include lily-spotted wetlands and vast plains, support more than 280 species of birds, or about one-third of Australia’s bird species.

The most iconic of all Australia’s wildlife sanctuaries though is the Great Barrier Reef. Go snorkelling or diving in the tropical, clear waters and you’ll find yourself immersed in an environment shimmering of dazzling fish, colourful corals and sponges, dugongs, and green turtles.

Meanwhile, to get close to endangered Tasmanian Devils, make your way to Devils @ Cradle. At this sanctuary and breeding centre at Cradle Mountain, in north-west Tasmania, you can get up close to plenty of these noisy marsupial carnivores.

Australian National Aviation Museum

Located at Moorabbin Airport near Melbourne Victoria. The Australian National Aviation Museum contains the finest collection of Australian made and designed aircraft, as well as the broadest collection, with representative types covering the development of airtravel and military aviation in Australia, along with display engines from the flying machines of 1910 to the modern jet fighters.

Representative aircraft from the RAAF and RAN, WW2 through to the jet age, pre-war, post war and jet-turbine airliners from Ansett-ANA, TAA and others, Australian made by CAC, DAP, HDH, and Victa, vintage and classic civilian aircraft from the 1920’s “Moth” through to a London to Sydney air-racer, and cropduster.

The Museum provides for disabled visitors via ramp access, with disabled toilets available onsite.

Museum open times:
Wed – Friday 12-4pm
Sat – Sun (& public holidays 10am-5pm)
Ph:  (61 3)  9580 7752

Diving attraction – the HMAS Canberra

The ex-HMAS Canberra dive site has proved extremely popular proved very popular with divers, all keen to investigate the first artificial reef created specifically for diving in Victoria.

Lying in 28 metres of water, the wreck allows divers to explore many sections of the ship, including flight decks, the bridge, engine rooms, galley and accommodation quarters. Many of the vessel’s original fixtures and fittings have been preserved.

The second of four FFG-7 Class Guided Missile Frigates built for the Royal Australian Navy by Todd Pacific Shipyards Corporation Seattle, Washington, USA, the HMAS Canberra is 138.1 metres long and, when in service, was 39 metres high from the top of the mast to the tip of the keel.

The vessel hull is constructed of steel and the superstructure is aluminium alloy. Parts of the ship, including the gas-turbine engines, rudder, missile launcher, a section of the mast and propeller were removed by the Navy, in preparation for its use as a dive site.

HMAS Canberra was commissioned on 21 March 1981 and de-commissioned on 12 November 2005. She was scuttled on 4 October 2009 and over time will become a haven for marine life, transforming it into a spectacular reef.

The ex-HMAS Canberra dive site is located 3.7km offshore from Ocean Grove, 20 to 25 minutes by boat from Portsea or Queenscliff.

The site has been established specifically for diving and snorkelling and access is restricted to visitors participating in these activities only. Divers wishing to access the site must hold a current and industry recognised entry level qualification (equivalent to Australian Standard AS4005.1) with appropriate experience for the dive being undertaken.

There are four moorings and the site can accommodate approximately 60 divers at any one time. To gain access to the site, divers must either book a dive tour with a licensed tour operator or book a two hour timeslot on the public mooring through Parks Victoria. Bookings for the public mooring can be made at

Heritage Destinations Australia

Australia has plenty of icon areas including Sydney Harbour, The Great Barrier Reef, and Uluru. But there are plenty of undiscovered places that will convince you to look further afield and that are sure to feature increasingly on tourist itineraries.

In Queensland, Mission Beach is a relaxed, tropical beachfront town with more than 14 kilometres of magnificent beaches. Two World Heritage areas, The Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest, come together here to form a tropical paradise.

In New South Wales, the historic inland city of Orange is making a big splash. Orange was the birthplace of one of Australia’s most famous poets, Banjo Patterson. These days it’s becoming increasingly well known for its gourmet produce and wineries.  Nearby Mudgee is a major wine producing area, and it also boasts classic architecture from the time of Queen Victoria.

The south coast of New South Wales is making waves too. Sydneysiders have been flocking south for years, but the pristine beaches, national parks and delightful coastal towns are now attracting international visitors in search of Australian beach culture and nature.

Make sure to stop off at Narooma, a scenic fishing town located 348km south of Sydney. Narooma is a good base to explore several local attractions, including nearby Montague Island Nature Reserve.

You can stay overnight in a lighthouse cottage here, or take a boat trip to see the State’s largest fairy penguin colony, and the State’s largest fur seal colony. Whales come very close to tour boats during their annual migration.

Close to Narooma are the heritage-classified villages of Tilba Tilba and Central Tilba. Visitors love the cafes, gardens, quaint wooden buildings, antique stores, art galleries, cheese factory, and old-fashioned stores.

Another up and coming area is the Tweed region of northern New South Wales. This area is nestled in the caldera of an ancient volcano, and offers World Heritage-listed rainforests, rolling green farmland, and unspoilt beaches.

In Victoria are The Goldfields, this region is made up of a series of historic towns and cities that prospered during the 1850s gold rush. Gold fever hit Victoria in 1851, three years after the Californian gold rush started in the USA.  The Goldfields area is known for its magnificent architecture and fresh regional produce. A key attraction is the Victorian Goldfields Railway.

Meanwhile, in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula you can dive with the great white sharks, swim with sealions, and snorkel with giant cuttlefish.  The great white shark dive is the only one of its kind in Australia. A close encounter from the safety of a reinforced cage is almost guaranteed.

An eco-tourism operation with a difference allows visitors to swim with wild Australian Sea Lions, off the remote hamlet of Baird Bay. In addition to swimming with sea lions and sharks, visitors to the region can hand-feed tuna, visit an underwater viewing tunnel, or join them for a swim in a fish-farming pen.

Meanwhile, every year between the months of May and August, thousands of Giant Australian Cuttlefish converge along the rocky coastline near Whyalla.

In the Northern Territory head to the Barkly region, home to grassy plains, huge cattle stations, adventurous four-wheel drive tracks, and the precariously balanced Devils Marbles.

In the township of Tennant Creek, you can visit the Overland Telegraph Station, discover the history of Australia’s last gold rush, and drop in to the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre. Here you can meet Indigenous artists, learn more about Aboriginal Australia, and buy Aboriginal art.

Tasmania’s Flinders Island is an emerging destination for tourists too. It’s one of 51 islands that make up the remains of a land bridge that once connected Tasmania to mainland Australia. The landscape ranges from dramatic pink and grey granite cliffs to gentle green farmland. More than 200 species of bird visit or live on the island, ranging from the tiny superb wren to the giant wandering albatross.