It’s a place where generations of people gather to honour some four thousand souls laid to rest. Words engraved on stone provide the headlines of who they were, but the 2022 Queanbeyan Palerang Heritage Festival will reveal Riverside Cemetery’s story cannot be captured on its epitaphs alone.
Running from 9 April to 14 May, the annual event kicks off at the Queanbeyan Library with a presentation by Tim Adams. The local university graduate dug into the history of the oldest public burial site in the ACT region for his recent honours thesis.
Tim will share his discoveries and analysis of the social and cultural influences reflected in the cemetery, as the first of many activities in the Festival’s packed program.
Activities will be shared across the major towns of Queanbeyan, Bungendore and Braidwood and aim to help the community learn more about the area’s history.
They include a guided tour around Queanbeyan’s historic sites including the Queanbeyan Museum, a talk with a senior conservator from Endangered Heritage on how you can prevent the loss of valuables in fire or flood and a presentation on the curious details and stories behind the mapping of the ACT and region.
Other highlights include how to deal with an infestation of moths or bugs in precious family items and the story of how several students from the Australian National University stumbled across a series of war-time trenches at Duntroon.
Council’s local history librarian Brigid Whitbread is eager for the community to get involved in the Festival, assuring that there is an activity for everyone.
“We are so excited to bring these events to our region and share our rich history with the community,” she said.
“This year’s theme for the Festival is ‘curiosity’ and we are looking forward to celebrating the wealth of heritage, social, art and culture that lives in the Queanbeyan-Palerang area through this lens.”
The Queanbeyan-Palerang region has held the event annually for more than 20 years alongside local organisations of all sizes. It forms part of the wider Australian Heritage Festival, which is the country’s largest community-driven heritage event, running for more than 40 years.
The Festival also coincides with the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival which launched on 24 March and is made up of more than 150 diverse events.
ACT Minister for Heritage Rebecca Vassarotti said First Nations’ heritage events are the key component of this year’s program, more than tripling from last year.
“The beauty of living within the Canberra community is that you do not need to venture far to explore the history that is spread across our region,” she said.
The Queanbeyan Palerang Heritage Festival will be launched at 6:30 pm on 12 April at the Queanbeyan Library. View the full program here.