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Browse through events below or click image above to download pdf 


Upstairs Downstairs

Pre-Celebrations lead up events 2018


Fotographix Photo Reproduction Competition

​Do you have a photo from the Victorian era taken in North Otago? How about trying to recreate it?

Find a photo taken in the Victorian Era and try your best to recreate it in the original setting. This is an open competition for anyone who is inspired. Get together your family, friends, work colleagues and classmates to see what you can create.


Heritage Schools Programme

Local primary and pre-schools are invited to join the Heritage Schools Program

For more information contact Lucianne White 

Suffrage stories at Totara Estate

​Join us for a community art workshop to celebrate 125 years since women won the vote. We are creating a commemorative banner that will be joined with others from around New Zealand. Open to all budding or established artists – or even those who don’t know they are artists! 
Entry to workshop Free – bookings appreciated. Contact Totara Estate on 03 434 1269 for more information
Totara Estate. 565 Alma-Maheno Rd, SH1 8kms South of Oamaru


Daily Events

St Luke's Anglican Church Open Days

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

St Luke’s Historic Church with North Otago Floral Art Society 

Upstairs/Downstairs Floral Art Display by North Otago Floral Art Society (Gold-coin donation)
Corner Tees and Itchen Streets


Custom House Gallery 

​Come and admire local art which will be for sale in our gallery open

Tuesaday11am-3pm, Friday 10am-3pm and Saturday 10am-3pm

29 Tyne St

Brydone Hotel High Tea

​Come experience a delightful High Tea in elegant surroundings

Brydone Hotel 115 Thames St Oamaru

$26.00 per person. Booking essential 03 433 0480

Oamaru Steam and Rail Trip

Welcome aboard the vintage train that will take you from the Harbourside Station to the Quarry Siding in the harbour area and return. Trips every 30 minutes from 11am Saturday and 10.30am Sunday

Return tickets: Adults $10, children $4, Family (2 adults 2 children) $20.
Book at the station or i-SITE 
Harbourside Station pedestrian access via Itchen Street

Origins of Electricity in North Otago

​​A small display commemorating the Waitaki Electric Power Board and the beginning of electrical power in North Otago.

North Otago Museum, Thames St


A Musical Soiree

​Tickets $20 Adult, $10 Student, $15 Block booking of 10 or more seats. For pre bookings before 7th Nov phone 034347667 or email: 7.30pm Wed 14th Nov – Fri 16th Nov; 4pm Sat & Sun at the Oamaru Repertory Society Theatre, 15 Itchen Street.
From 7th Nov Tickets available daily at the theatre (12 - 5pm) or phone 03 434 8868.

Wednesday 14th November 2018

12.05pm  The Waitaki Valley Singers

Enjoy their first midday concert. Bring your lunch. Tea 
and coffee provided.
Entry by gold coin donation
St Paul’s Church 5 Coquet Street 

6pm Public Talk by Ann Dennison of Te Kiteroa Lodge,  Waimate

Ann will focus on Emily Phillips’ story, as housekeeper to Allan McLean, at “The Valley” (Waikakahi Estate) and later at the McLean Mansion, or “Holly Lea”, in Christchurch. Following his death, he left a fortune Emily in his will. She used this to build Te Kiteroa Lodge too, together with two cottages, for her staff. Ann and her husband Gary have owned Te Kiteroa Lodge, Waimate for a number of years.
FREE Oamaru Public Library, 62 Thames St

Thursday 15th November 2018

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

From open roadstead, Oamaru Harbour welcomed migrants, stock and building materials from the 1840s, then as the breakwater and wharves were built, exported wool, grain and frozen meat to the world until 1970. From tents on the beach to Oamaru stone buildings for merchants, bankers and millers the town & district grew rapidly. History with Helen Stead.
Tickets $20Book at i-SITE Meet on the Corner of Harbour St and Wansbeck St.


12:05pm  Friends of the Salvation Army Band and The North  Otago Women’s Club Choir

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.


5pm Grand Opening

Come and join us on the Opera House steps for the Mayoral launch of the 2018 Victorian Heritage 
Celebrations, and the announcement of the winners of the Fotographix Photo Reproduction Competition. Enjoy delightful music and entertainment inside the Opera House and admire outfits of the ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ theme.Non-alcoholic refreshments and nibble provided . Café and bar will be open for purchases. Free Entry
Oamaru Opera House, 94 Thames St


7:30pm  A Suffrage Meeting with Entertainment 

To celebrate 125 years of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, join us for an informative talk on the suffrage movement with arguments for and against giving women the vote. Refreshments available. Free entry but bookings essential Limited tickets, book at Houbour St Collective or via Harbour Street Collective Café, 8 Harbour St


Let’s Make a Hat

Enjoy a ladies only evening spent exploring the art of millinery. Materials provided. Above the Star and Garter, 9 Itchen St
Tickets $20 including supper, NO DOOR SALES

Gentleman’s Relish

Enjoy a night of burlesque, circus and comedy with the talented performers from ‘Lads on Tour’ Cabaret. Experience the ‘other side’ of society in Victorian Oamaru.

Refreshments available at bar. Tickets $15
Long Room at Loan and Merc building, 14 Harbour St

Friday 16th November 2018


9am-11am  North Otage Temperence Ball Practice 

For those who wish to learn or practice dances for the Temperance Benefit Ball. Gold coin donation. Scottish Hall, 10 Tyne St


10am-12pm  Oamaru’s Classical Architecture Walking Tour

Conservation historian Helen Stead takes you under, through and past some of Oamaru’s magnificent historic buildings; linking classical and humble structures created by artisans and pioneers rejoicing in the local availability of easily worked limestone giving historic Oamaru its distinctive character.Tickets $20 Book at i-SITE. Meet at 1 Thames St i-SITE.


10am-2pm  Elevenses with Mrs B

Call into the Early Settlers’ Hall for delicious treats from Mrs Beeton’s kitchen with tea, coffee, or a small glass of madeira. Both ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ will be catered for.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 90 Thames St

10am-12pm  Café Promenade

​Stroll the streets and study the winners of the Photo Reproduction Competition in the shop windows. Don’t forget to sample the fare at our local victuallers.

10:30am–12:30pm Morning Tea at the Opera House

Where your manner of dress dictates where you shall be seated. The Grand Foyer welcomes gentlemen and ladies to enjoy a refined morning tea befitting their status. Commoners and ruffians will be directed downstairs where they can be comfortable among their own kind.Prices as charged.Oamaru Opera House, 94 Thames St


12:05pm  Variety Concert

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 Great Photo Opportunity

Join Oamaru’s heritage family for a group photograph in costume on the steps of the Opera House. Presentation to the winners of the best Victorian costume competition.
Oamaru Opera House 90 Thames Street


12.05pm  Forrester and Lemon Memorial Lecture

“Death at Sea: Victorians and death on the voyage to New Zealand in the 19th Century.” – Prof. Lyndon Fraser. This lecture will look into Victorians ... and death ... at sea. With sharks, omens, ghosts - and an insight into people’s words from their diaries and letters. A free public lecture organised by the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust.
Oamaru Opera House, Ink Box, 94 Thames St


1pm-2pm Intrepid Cycling Adventures

The Oamaru Ordinary Cycle Club presents the places they visit and the adventures they have had. Free event
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, Chelmer St


2.30pm-3:30pm  Crombie & Price Victorian Garden Party

Come to experience the delightful elegance of the ever￾popular Victorian Garden Party. Light refreshments and entertainment while you admire the beauty of the costumes. Horse and carriage rides round the gardens will be made available for a modest fee.
Free, Oamaru Public Gardens, Chelmer St


5pm  Downstairs, Upstairs

An Exhibition Opening at the Grainstore Gallery featuring works by Donna Demente and Watts Davies. 
Hosted by those vagrant vagabonds The Whitestone Wretches! Peasant grub and victuals...dress and behaviour “downstairs” not “upstairs!” Grainstore Gallery, 9 Harbour St


7pm Oamaru Steam and Rail Evening Penguin Colony Trip

Welcome aboard the vintage train for the journey from the Harbourside Station to the Quarry Siding in the harbour area in time to attend evening viewing at the Penguin Colony (entry separate, advised to book in advance). 
Departing Harbourside Station at 7pm, 7:30pm and 8pm. Return 8:30pm and 9pm.
Return ticket- Adults $10, children $4, Family (2 adults 2 children) $20 
Book at the Harbour Station or i-SITE 
Pedestrian access via Itchen Street

8pm North Otago Temperance Benefit Ball

The Reverend James and his good lady invite Temperance and Suffrage Supporters to a Benefit Ball on behalf of Mrs Mary Clemett Leavitt, touring in order to establish the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in our fair land. Tonica, a quartet from Dunedin, have been engaged to play and a four course supper will be served throughout the evening. Non–alcoholic liquid refreshments may be purchased during the evening. 
Dress code: Formal Ball attire or Dress uniform. Limited places, booking essential. No door sales.
Ballroom opens at 7pm. Grand March commences at 8pm. Dancing until late. 
Tickets $65
The Scottish Hall, 10 Tyne St.

Saturday 17th November 2018


8am  Vintage Car Club Swapmeet

The North Otago Vintage Car Club is hosting their annual Swapmeet, a treasure-trove of delights for all vintage and veteran enthusiasts, something for everyone. Entry $5 at the gate, A and P Show grounds, Caledonion Road.


8:30am Highland Dancing

​Enjoy a Celtic fling at St Paul’s, where Highland dancers will be competing all day.
St Paul’s Church, Wear St entrance

10:30am–2:30pm  Grandma’s Treasures Sale
Pre-loved china, paintings, jewellery. St Luke’s Church Itchen Street



10:30am Ye Olde Captain Pinky’s Pirate Toddler Boogie

Arrrrrrr, calling all ye wee salty scallywags! Come an’ shake ye booty with Captain Pinky and her dancing friends Jolly, Roger and Stinky the Parrot. A 55-minute treasure chest of solid gold hits to make you and your toddler shimmy ye timbers! No more than 3 mini sailors per adult. Suitable for ages 0-6. 
$7.50 (+ fees) Dancers under 6 months free.
Oamaru Opera House, 94 Thames St


12pm Whitestone Contracting  Grand Street Parade

Gather to witness a celebration of Victorian Heritage. The suffragists will be out in force as will the bands and machinery, and of course the schools will be competing for best float.
Contact Trevor Holdstock 0272739904 if you plan to join the parade and bring the streets to life. 
Starting at corner Tyne and Wansbeck Streets travelling to Opera House and return.

Parade assembly 11.30pm

12pm-3pm Ploughmen’s Picnic at Totara Estate

Definitely downstairs here on the farm at Totara Estate; experience life for the working people during the Victorian Era in early New Zealand. Not a cucumber sandwich in sight but a proper ploughman’s picnic with rustic breads, cheese, pickles, and a slab of cake to stick to your ribs. Washed down with lashings of ginger beer, apple juice or bottomless cups of tea. Explore this important historical property or relax on a straw bale or blanket and enjoy the surroundings. Share stories and billy tea with characters from days past including the shepherds, swaggers and shearer. Blade Shearing 
Tickets: Pre-booked tickets Adults $20, HNZ Members $10 (avaliable only from Oamaru i-SITE or Totara Estate), Children $10 
Door sales for Picnics Adults $25pp including entry. $15 Members and $10 children. 
Totara Estate. 565 Alma-Maheno Rd, SH1 8kms South of Oamaru.

1.30pm Working Vintage Machinery Display Celebrating Reid and Grey 150th

 This fascinating working museum of rural life brings you a range of early machinery; a steam traction engine, a portable steam engine, early car models and much more. This year the display will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Reid and Grey; an Otago based rural engineering company which originated in Oamaru and was well known through out the country for their agricultural implements. 
Free, 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 24nd 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  Harbour Promenade and the Oamaru Challenge  Cup Rowing RacePromenade around the Harbour and watch the high drama of the annual rowing race as local rowers and the NZ Navy battle for the Oamaru Challenge Cup. The Oamaru Coastal Defence will fire the cannon to start the race between an Oamaru Rowing Club crew and the Dunedin Navy Reservists. The cannon will fire again when the first boat crosses the line to signal the end ofthe race. The crews will be racing in the Scott’s Own Sea Scout’s cutters around the inner harbour and will be crewed by six rowers and a coxswain. Enjoy an afternoon of family activities at Friendly Bay beach, listen to music by the Sumner Silver Band and cheer on our local crew.
Free, Friendly Bay, end of Wansbeck St


3pm-4pm  Historical Fashion Show

Please let us know if you want join in email by 10th November.

The Fashion Parade returns for this year’s Heritage Celebrations! Ever wondered how or why Victorianfashion changed? From crinolines to bustles to the puffiest of puffed sleeves, see how the fashionable silhouette evolved. Find out what the serving class wore and what was being worn when New Zealand’s women won the right to vote. Come watch as nearly seven decades of Victorian and Edwardian fashion grace the catwalk in the Scottish Hall. 
Gold coin donation, Scottish Hall, 10 Tyne St


3pm-4:30pm  Millers at Work – Clarks Mill, Millers House and Smokey Joes

Continue the rural workers theme and head a little further down the road from Totara Estate to Clarks Mill to experience this important flour mill in operation. This Victorian engineering marvel once ran 24 hours a day with the millers working shifts. Cleverly adapted over the course of a century by the Clark Family, you will have the opportunity to hear the story of this beautifully restored Mill and experience it running. You will also have the opportunity to include the Millers House and the Smokey Joes. Entry Fee: $15.00. Heritage NZ Members Free. Children Free but will need to be supervised at all times. Door sales available.

Clarks Mill, Maheno. 12 kms South of Oamaru on SH1.


6:30pm Poetry Slam

Poetry Slam is the competitive art of performance poetry. Witness the most vital and energetic thing 
to happen to poetry in years and get ready to be transported and dazzled by dancing words as Poets leave their hearts and souls on the stage. We’re calling all poets to take part with your best 3 minutes or less. To participate register by 5pm Friday 18 November by emailing Spaces very limited. Confirm your slot ASAP. $2.50 (+ fees)
Oamaru Opera House, 94 Thames St

1pm-4pm Masonic Lodge Open to View

Come and investigate Freemasonry, explore the historic tradition upstairs and down in this stunning architectural masterpiece. Tea and biscuits, coffee and cake, available downstairs in the Red Rose room. 
Gold coin donation. 10 Wansbeck St


7pm Victorian Banquet – a pleasant social affair

The Committee of Good Taste requests the honour of your company at this high altar of excellence.
Your good self, along with other illustrious gastrophiles, shall partake in a banquet of eleven courses. These have been prepared with attention to original receipts. You can expect to enjoy the ambience of a fine welcome in Oamaru’s most prestigious home. Liquid refreshments may be purchased during the evening.Dress code: Formal evening attire or dress uniform. No stiletto heels.
Very limited places, booking essential. No door sales.$150 per person Pen-y-bryn Luxury Lodge, 41 Towey Street


8pm  Servants’ Shindig & Shenanigans at the  Oamaru Club

Escape from your toil and join your fellow workers for a night of fun and dancing. Let your hair down and have a knees-up until the midnight hour. The Black Velvet Band from Christchurch will provide the music to get your toes tapping. A hearty repast will be served and liquid refreshments can be purchased. Limited places, booking recommended.Tickets $35 The Oamaru Club, 32 Seven St

Sunday 19th November 2018

10am–4pm  The Network Waitaki Victorian Fete 

Surround yourself with the beauty of Oamaru’s stunning Victorian architecture and take a step back in time and sample the nostalgia of the Victorian era. All day; Live Music, Competitions, Family Entertainment, NZ’s best Artisan Stalls and Street Food. This event is the annual fundraiser for the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust with proceeds going towards preserving New Zealand’s Best Collection of Heritage Buildings here in Oamaru. Come along, support a great cause, dress up in your Victorian best and join in all the 
fun of the Fair!Entry $10, Children Under 18 Free, Cash only to enter the Fete, however, Eftpos will be available within the Fete.

Programme and stall site Harbour & Tyne Streets

9:30am-1pm  Oamaru Farmers’ Market 

Visit the Oamaru Farmers’ Market to meet the growers, farmers and producers of the best seasonal produce the Waitaki region has to offer. You’ll find a fantastic selection of fruits and vegetables, preserves, baking, meat and plants plus hot food and coffee.Corner Wansbeck St and Tyne St

10am-4pm  Custom House Gallery and Café 

Come and admire local art which will be for sale in our gallery or relax & enjoy the refreshments from our cafe. 
29 Tyne St


9:45am-10:30am Organ Recital

Come and enjoy the ambiance of this beautiful church with Dr. Ron Newton playing the organ – Not to be missed! Stay on for church service. St Luke’s Historic Church, Itchen Street

10:30am 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 Open

Clarks Mill will be open for tours but not operational today. Spend some time marvelling at the four levels of Victorian engineering and learning the story of this important part of our national story. Originally part of the mighty Totara Estate, the Mill ran for over a century before it finally closed in the 1970s. The Millers House and Smokey Joes will also be open for visiting. 
Tickets: Adults $10, Heritage NZ Members Free, Children Free but must be supervised. Parking available. Clarks Mill, Maheno.12 kms South of Oamaru on SH1.

2pm-4pm  Headstones and Stories Walking Tour

Helen’s final event on the Celebrations calendar is a two-hour walk through Oamaru’s oldest cemetery with conservation historian Helen Stead. Laid out in denominational areas, stories of individual, family and district endeavour live on through carved names and dates inscribed in stone. 
Tickets $20, Book at the i-SITE. 
Meet opposite 63 Greta Street gate at Cemetery entrance 

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