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Browse through events below or click image above to download pdf 


Crime and Punishment

Pre-Celebrations lead up events 2017



Penny Farthing and Vintage Cycle Tour
12th–16th November

This year the tour heads off to enjoy the Tasman Great Taste Trail, from 12th – 16th November, arriving in town on Thursday for the start of the Celebrations.


Forrester Gallery Wonderlab: Rogues Gallery

Oct 28- Nov 19

An interactive exhibition on the invention of mugshots and the history of their use in New Zealand. Meet some local vagabonds and rogues with a twist! Created with the support of the New Zealand Police Museum.


Crime Writers Competition
Tell us a tale of vice and villainy! Million to a bit o’ dirt there are local treacheries that need to see the light of day!
Pen us your story of crime and corruption. Open now and closing on October 20th. For further details call in to the i-SITE or check out the website and Facebook page.
Proudly supported by Oamaru’s Paper Plus.


Murder on Main Street Mystery Challenge

1st Novmeber- 19th Novemeber

Do you fancy a challenge? Take your time to unravel the clues that will lead you to solving of the crime! This one won’t whip you out of your boots, we assure you! Plenty of fun and exploration to be had and a veritable trove of local treasures and delights as prizes. Collect your clue pack from the i-SITE.

Winners announced on Sunday 19th November at the Network Waitaki Victorian Fete Tyne St Main Stage, 11:15am.

The Retail Window Display Challenege

​We’ve dared all local retailers to dress their windows in theme – take a wander around Oamaru and meet our warm and friendly local business operators. Proudly supported by the Waitaki Herald.

Search for the Royal Warrant Retailers

1st November - 19th November

For these Celebrations we have introduced the Waitaki Royal Warrant and we need your help locating the premises that are displaying the Waitaki District Council Coat of Arms! Are these genuine WDC Royal Warrant Holders or is there some Victorian naughtiness occurring in our town?
Collect a WDC Royal Warrant Inspection Card from the Oamaru i-SITE and find the retailers who are displaying the WDC Coat of Arms – drop your Inspection Card back into the i-SITE to go into the draw to win some fancy prizes.
Winners announced on Sunday 19th November at the Network Waitaki Victorian Fete.

St Luke's Anglican Church Open Days

13th-19th November

​St Luke’s Anglican Church will also be open daily for an early dose of beautiful architecture and history. 

Heritage Schools Programme

Book through schools

Wednesday 15th November 2017

10am–4pm  Oamaru Steam and Rail Workshop
Venture behind the scenes into the workshop of steam and rail – the ultimate in a blokes’ shed. Come and see our steam engine loco being restored.
Entry by donation. Workshop on railway siding behind the Woolstore Complex.

12.05pm  The Waitaki Valley Singers
Enjoy their first midday concert with conductor Wendy Eckhardt. Bring your lunch, tea and coffee provided.
Entry by gold coin donation. St Paul’s Church, 5 Coquet Street.

3pm–5pm  Oamaru War Memorials
Join local historian Helen Stead as we visit war monuments of granite, marble and Oamaru stone and crosses beside memorial oaks. View the quilt given to Oamaru nurse Isobel Clark and stand beneath VC recipient Donald Forrester Brown’s photograph in the Oamaru House. Travel to Waitaki BHS Hall of Memories where flags, stained glass and pennants tell of deeds of endeavour and sadness. 
Tickets $20. Book on this site here or at the i-SITE. Meet at Opera House Foyer.


Thursday 16th November 2017

10am-4pm  Duntroon Gaol and Nicols' Blacksmith Open Days (THURS-SUN)

Come and be gaoled and bailed at the Duntroon Gaol, visit the Duntroon Wetlands and Brewery Hole and be taken back in time by Nicol’s Blacksmith shop – learn some local lore about miscreant bushrangers and a body found in Victorian times.


10am-12pm  Oamaru Classical Architecture Walking Tour

Delight in the designs of Oamaru’s classic architecture. Showcasing the distinctive Oamaru stone that pioneers and artisans worked into our wealth of magnificent facades, this tour takes you off the beaten track and into some of these grand old buildings.


12:05pm  The Organisers + Women's Club Choir
​Enjoy the beautiful sounds of the Organisers joined by the North Otago Women’s Club Choir. For music-lovers this is a real treat. Bring your lunch - tea and coffee provided.


5pm  Mayoral Reception and Grand Opening

Attention! The honourable and esteemed Mayor Kircher respectfully begs to inform all residents and visitors to the delightful sea-side port of Oamaru that a superior programme of unsurpassed entertainment shall be available at the 2017 Victorian Heritage Celebrations.


6pm Crime Writers Competition Awards Night

Come and listen to the shortlisted Crime Writers Competition entries. Who has penned the most villainous piece? For a literary night of free entertainment join us at the Waitaki District Library.


7:30pm  Sisters Grimm...and Him

Join those irrepressible locals, Sally, Marise & Herbert for a truly horrid Victorian Horror; the most dreadful Penny Dreadful.  Enjoy a bizarre discourse of the eye-wateringly appalling secrets and behaviours guaranteed to make the audience laugh or cry (or form a lynch mob!). Includes liquid refreshment and light supper. Bookings essential.


Friday 17th November 2017


8am–9.45am  Breakfast at the Brydone featuring Nigel Costley

From Mr Pecksniff to Uriah Heep, a tasteful selection of Dickens’ most delectable villains; their glories, their grotesque charms, and their demise. Unsavoury but highly educational breakfast fare presented by Nigel Costley. Bookings essential.

9:45am-11am  Turmoil on Thames Street Performance

Turmoil on Thames— featuring world-class town-crier PaddyAnn Pemberton along with all sorts of fuss and feathers, mutton shunters, muffin-wallopers, peelers, penny farthings and much more nanty-narking!


8:30am-3pm  OOH Themed Cafe - Condemned Man's Final Feast

Oamaru Opera House Cafe
90 Thames Street

9.30am–11am  The Sherlock Holmes Invitation Ball Practice

​We call your attention to the advantageous accrual of dance knowledge you will gain should you attend the Sherlock Holmes Invitation Ball Practice. All are cordially invited to learn the line-up steps for the evening’s dancing. The list may also be found here


10am–12pm  Of Ships, Sheep and Grain Walking Tour

Enjoy the fascinating tale of Oamaru’s early beginnings with local historian, Helen Stead. From tents on the beach to the rapid rise of merchants, banks and millers the distinctive Oamaru stone streetscape began to take shape. With construction of the wharves and breakwater the trade of wool, grain and frozen meat to London cemented Oamaru’s place in pioneering history.
Starts at the pedestrian bridge, lower Wansbeck Street


10am – 2pm  Elevenses with Mrs B
Call into the Early Settlers Hall to sample the delights from Mrs Beeton’s kitchen with a cup of tea, coffee, or a small glass of madeira. Try your hand at Victorian parlour games or just relax and have a chat.
$5 per serving. Early Settlers’ Hall, Severn Street, just behind the Opera House.


10.30am–3.30pm S t Luke’s Historic Church North Otago Floral Art Society Display.
Gold coin donation. St Luke’s Church, Itchen Street.


12.05pm  Variety Concert
A St Paul’s concert featuring local artists.
Bring your lunch. Tea and coffee provided. Gold coin donation. St Paul’s Church, 5 Coquet Street.


12.30pm  Waitaki Herald Victorian Retail Window Display
Prize-giving and presentation of the silver tray for the best dressed Victorian window.
Oamaru Opera House, 90 Thames Street.


12.30pm  Great Photo Opportunity
​Arrange yourself artistically to go down in history as part of the Great Victorian Photo 2017.
Oamaru Opera House, 90 Thames Street.


12.30pm  Costume Awards
​Watch out for the mayhem of the Turmoil on Thames street performance and try to arrive unscathed at the Oamaru Opera House steps where those who have gone all out will earn themselves a Costume Award and prize.presented.


1pm  Forrester and Lemon Memorial Lecture
​Beware The Girl Next Door! We all know that Oamaru and the wider Waitaki District has been home to a swag of charming vagabonds and likeable rogues throughout its colonial history. What is less well known is that some of the more heinous crimes involved a sweet girl next door. And not always as the victim...
Admission free, The Ink Box – Oamaru Opera House, 90 Thames Street.


1pm   “Where we went and the adventures we had”
​This year’s Heritage Tour cyclists will present a lively telling of their daring adventures! All welcome.
Free entry and all welcome. Oamaru Public Library, 62 Thames Street, Oamaru.

1.30pm–3.30pm  Croquet in the Gardens
Have a go at croquet in the gardens with help from the Awamoa Gardens Croquet Club.
Oamaru Public Gardens, Band Rotunda


2.30pm–3.30pm  Crombie & Price Victorian Garden Party
A good garden party needs a good garden and there are few better than the Oamaru Public Gardens. Look for the Band Rotunda and join the guests enjoying fine food, silver service and magical music.
Admission free. The Band Rotunda in the Oamaru Public Gardens.
Wet weather venue St Paul’s Church Hall Coquet Street.


2.30pm–3.30pm  Whitestone City Prize Fight

During the Garden Party in the Oamaru Public Gardens

5pm  Any Last Requests? Dinner March
​Leave your glad-rags at home as you make your way from Gaol to Judge. Join the cache of criminally minded and corrupt individuals as they make their way through town under the watchful eye of the guards partaking of repast at various venues before ending up at court where hilarity will ensue as the Judge presides.
$50 per person Starts at Whitestone City, Harbour St (seaside entrance)


8pm  Songs from the Stone Jug

From the sobering verses of condemned men, to the cheeky satires of old bobbies, music has never been far from a crime scene.  The Pearl and Dagger Company present Songs from the Stone Jug featuring chamber music alongside tales of criminal intrigue. So, escape the mafficking and enjoy this delightful blend of fact and fiction, music and performance.
Get your tickets from the Oamaru Opera House or TicketDirect.


8pm  Hospital Benefit Ball

The game’s afoot! Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes and Dr and Mrs Watson invite you to a Ball to celebrate their visit to Oamaru. Tonica, a quartet from Dunedin have been engaged to play and Mrs Hudson will oversee a four-course supper to be served through the evening. Liquid refreshments may be purchased during the evening. Dress code: Formal Ball attire or Dress uniform.
No door sales.

Ballroom opens at 7:30pm. Grand March commences at 8pm. Dancing until late.
$65 per person
Scottish Hall


Saturday 18th November 2017


9am–10am  Harbour Street Breakfast with open-mic Limericks

Fancy a laugh-out loud start to your Saturday? Book your place at the Harbour Street Collective Breakfast now! Besides a menu of fine fare you'll be entertained by odes, ballads and lurid lyrics from loquacious orators! So if you've got some villainous verse lurking within put pen to paper now and get ready to grab the mic!


10am-12pm Hullaballoo on Harbour Street

​Followed by Hullabaloo on Harbour Street—join us for hilarious street performances of unsavoury Victorian mayhem

10.30am–3.30pm  St Luke’s Historic Church open and Sale ‘Grandma’s Treasures’
North Otago Floral Art Society Display.
Gold coin donation. St Luke’s Church, Itchen Street.

1pm-4pm Masonic Lodge Open Day

​Explore the traditions and intrigue of this wondrous example of architecture. Meet a freemason and learn about the history of the craft and the building. Sweet and tempting oats will be on offer with your tea and coffee.


Oamaru Steam and Rail Rides

​Purchase tickets at and depart from Harbourside Station on Itchen Street for a wonderful ride around Friendly Bay


Regular rides from 11am

12pm  Whitestone Contracting Grand Street Parade

​Be part of the parade that brings the town alive with the fashion, transport and perambulations of yesteryear! Join in or just enjoy from the side lines. Tyne and Thames Streets

1:30pm Songs from the Stone Jug

​From the sobering verses of condemned men, to the cheeky satires of old bobbies, music has never been far from a crime scene. The Pearl and Dagger Company present Songs from the Stone Jug featuring chamber music alongside tales of criminal intrigue. So, escape the mafficking and enjoy this delightful blend of fact and fiction, music and performance.

1.30pm–5pm   Working Vintage Machinery
​This fascinating working museum of rural life brings you a variety of vintage machinery!
Victorian Precinct.


1.30pm  Oamaru Bicycle Polo Tournament
See the country’s finest bicycle polo players battle it out for glory and honor at the polo match being held on the Victorian Precinct ‘Polodrome’.
Seaward side, south end of the Victorian Precinct, near the Loan and Merc.


1.30pm  The 23nd Heritage Bicycle Championship
New Zealand’s foremost heritage cycling event attracting wheelmen (and women) from all around the globe. This will be another high thrill as riders participate in sprints, slaloms, relays, slow races, and the ghastly Tyne Street Grunter. Collect your entry forms from Club Trailer on Tyne Street prior to 1pm. All riders are encouraged to wear traditional riding attire and the emphasis is on participation and enjoyment. Separate races for Penny Farthings and pre-10speed safeties.
Prize-giving will be held following the events.
Enquiries, Phone 027 293 1059, Tyne Street & Harbour Street.

1.30pm  House and Garden Bus Tour
​Escape from the riff raff on the streets and take a leisurely coach excursion visiting gardens and homes from a more genteel era.  Light refreshments served en route.

$25 per person Various locations - starts Itchen Street


2pm-2:30pm  Smoko Time at Swaggers Rest

A generous and hearty farmhouse tea served in tin mugs from scrubbed tables awaits at Totara Estate! Tales of farm life, swaggers, a talented cartoonist and immersion in the history of this important Victorian Estate that led New Zealand into the start of a multi-billion-dollar industry makes for an afternoon not to be missed. Also “meet’ local rogues and vagabonds in the Rogue’s Gallery courtesy of the Forrester Gallery.


2pm-4pm  Travellers' Tales

​Lively stories of crime and corruption – come tell one of your own! All welcome for a great afternoon of free and all-inclusive entertainment.


4pm-5pm  Clarks Mill Guided Tour with Working Machinery

Take a guided tour through this engineering marvel, originally part of Totara Estate. With the mill machinery running follow the journey of grain from its arrival at the mill to its departure in the form of Snow Wreath Flour.


6pm Murder at the Queens Hotel - mystery and dinner party

The year is 1896 and the Oamaru Ist Battery plays host to the Dunedin Engineers in a rifle match. The visiting team is entertained at the Queens Hotel (now known as the Brydone Hotel). During the speeches an unfortunate case of murder interrupts proceedings. Can you figure out who has committed the deed? Don’t miss this night of delightful dining, local history and arresting entertainment in this fine old building. $65 (including meal), $20 (without meal) The Brydone Hotel


6:30pm Villainous Escapes

Stunts, stories and carnival cons from the Victorian underworld. The dastardly duo from International sensation, Mr and Mrs Alexander: Sideshows and Psychics have returned to Oamaru with their signature style of storytelling, circus and illusion. Expect acts inspired by notorious criminal scams, gambling dens and sinister showmen. Enjoy incredible stories of carnival hucksters, grifters, gypsies and show-folk. Escapology! Sleight of hand! Thrilling stunts! Mysteries of the mind! Plus learn how to spot if the game is rigged! $20-25 plus service fees. Book at TicketDirect or at the Opera House

The Inkbox, Oamaru Opera House


7:30pm  Shindig and Shenanigans at the Oamaru Gaol
​Owing to an unprecedented crime wave in North Otago, the Scottish Hall has been designated an overflow facility for the Oamaru Gaol. Valley Bluegrass, the southernmost bluegrass band in the world, will ensure a rigorous exercise programme for prisoners.

Warders need to report for duty at 7.15pm.Prisoners will be admitted from 7.30pm. Vittles will be served. Liquid refreshments may be purchased. Bookings recommended. $30 The Scottish Hall

Sunday 19th November 2017

8:15am-10am  Breakfast at Portside

Start the Fete Day with a sumptuous breakfast at Portside. Catch the train out and fortify yourself for a full day at the Network Waitaki Victorian Fete and Oamaru Farmers Market.


10am–4pm  The Network Waitaki Victorian Fete 

​Take a step back in time and sample the nostalgia of the Victorian era right in the heart of Oamaru's Victorian Precinct. Come along and join in the fun for the entire family. $10 per person Under 18's free

10am-4pm  Custom House Gallery and café 
Come and admire local art which will be for sale in our gallery or relax and enjoy the refreshments from our cafe in Tyne Street.


10am  St Paul's Presbyterian Heritage Service
Join in the service at this beautiful church. St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, 5 Coquet Street.


9.45am  St Luke’s Anglican Heritage Service
Dress up in your finery; come and celebrate our heritage with St Luke’s historic church: hear an organ recital from 9:45 to 10:30, followed by a brief traditional Victorian morning service, followed by a scrumptious old-fashioned morning tea. Includes North Otago Floral Art Society Display.
All welcome. St Luke’s Historic Church, Itchen Street. Open Noon to 4pm.


1pm–3pm  Clarks Mill Self-Guided Tour
​Take a leisurely self-guided tour through four floors of original roller milling machinery and marvel at this 19th century feat of engineering. $10 per person Heritage New Zealand Members Free Clarks Mill, Maheno, SH1, (12km south of Oamaru)


4pm-6pm  Headstones & Stories
A twilight walk through Oamaru’s oldest cemetery with conservation historian Helen Stead. Laid out in divided denominational areas, headstones tell tales of sadness and great endeavour as well as who the early settlers were and what they did.
Tickets $20.  Meet at Greta Street gate.

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