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Maitland Heritage Festival taking you on a trip down memory lane

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To say Maitland is a city steeped in history would be an understatement.

Everywhere you go or everything you do in the LGA boasts links to the past, from the gaol to the courthouse, the post office to Grossmann House, the Walka Water Works to St Mary’s Church… the list is endless.

Now, locals and visitors alike can step back in time, and relive their favourite memories, at the Maitland Heritage Festival this month.

Steve Bone (Maitland & District Historical Society), Janece McDonald (Maitland Regional Museum), Catherine O’Neil (Australian Museum of Clothing & Textiles) and Margaret Richardson (St Mary’s Anglican Church & Parishioners) outside Grossmann House. Photo: Rod Thompson

The fourth edition of the event, from 14 to 29 June, promises to capture everyone’s imagination.

And, with not-for-profit community/volunteer groups Maitland Regional Museum, St Mary’s Anglican Church & Parishioners, Maitland & District Historical Society, Maitland & Beyond Family History, Maitland Embroiderers, Friends of Grossmann & Brough Houses (National Trust), Maitland Heritage Guardians, Australian Museum of Clothing & Textiles, Maitland/Rutherford Guides, East Maitland Scout Group, Hunter Weavers & Spinners, Maitland Woodworkers, Friends of Tocal, Hunter Chapter of First Fleeters, Maitland City Choir, City of Maitland City Pipes & Drums, Maitland City Brass Band, Maitland CWA, Volunteers for Palliative Care Inc. Maitland, Rose Shamrock & Thistle Band, Frank Oakes Fantastic Puppetry, Maitland Croquet Club, Maitland Classic Car Club, The Louth Park Mob, Lace Makers Guild and the Paterson, Dungog, Gresford and Clarence Town Historical Societies on board, all bases are covered.

“We’re really proud that we are now in our fourth year,” said coordinator Janece McDonald from the Maitland Regional Museum.

“And, it’s getting bigger and better each time.

“In 2018, when Maitland celebrated its 200th anniversary, we got all the groups together and staged a big picnic in Maitland Park.

“Surprisingly, it was the first time we’d joined forces.

“Everyone went ‘wow, isn’t this great?’

“So, we started thinking, how about we do something permanent… that’s where the concept originated.

“Our inaugural Maitland Heritage Festival would have been in the middle of COVID, so we had a break and resumed in 2021.

“It went tremendously well.

“I think the most positive thing that’s come out of it has been bringing all the organisations together.

“We’ve got heritage and craft groups, people like the lost trades, the Scouts and Guides, a Town Crier (Stephen Clarke), Sanjex Seratti’s vintage games and penny farthing, Dennerley leather, Geoff Pearce (silhouette artist), an old iron blacksmith, Cinderella Arrivals (coach rides), Newcastle Folk Club, local poets, musicians, artists, artisans, conservators and heritage renovation experts, stall holders and food vendors, and much more… the list is growing.

“So, it’s just been a marvellous collaboration.”

Ms McDonald, the current Maitland Citizen of the Year, believes the city has a lot to celebrate.

“Maitland exudes history,” she said.

“You’ve just got to walk down the street and what do you see?

“Historical buildings… and each one has a story.

“So, what better way to acknowledge all those fantastic elements?

“A big thanks go to our sponsors Maitland City Council, Burton Automotive, NetworkICT, The Bloomfield Group, Easts Bowling Club, Creightons Funeral Service, The Mutual Bank, The Sign Shop, Pender Place Shopping Centre and Cinderella Arrivals for allowing us to make it happen.”

The Maitland Heritage Festival kicks off on Friday 14 June with a launch dinner party at the Fairway Room Easts Leisure and Golf East Maitland.

However, the big drawcard occurs on Sunday 16 June, a Free Family Day at the St Mary’s Anglican Church.

Between 10am and 3pm, the precinct will feature plenty of activities and historical entertainment.

“That’s our main event,” Ms McDonald told the Newcastle Weekly.

“For the first time, we’ll have horse carriage rides, starting from Church Street, where people can enjoy a 10-minute journey around Maitland.

“A blacksmith is going to demonstrate how the old sledgehammer was made in the ‘olden days’ and a leathermaker will showcase his talents, too.

“Sanjex Seratti’s vintage games are always popular; he also rides the penny farthing.

“City of Maitland City Pipes & Drums and Maitland City Brass Band will open proceedings and we’ve received a lot of support from local entertainers.

“We try to cover all bases and host something for everyone.

“There’ll be vintage cars, a treasure hunt and even a teddy bears’ picnic, so the kids can bring along their favourite stuffed toy, plus markets and food to tempt your tastebuds.

“Afterwards, the Maitland City Choir will perform in St Mary’s Anglican Church at 3pm.

“There are several ticketed events later in the month, too, from heritage walks to a 1950-inspired fashion show.

“We can’t wait.”

Other Maitland Heritage Festival highlights include:

Saturday 22 June (6pm)

Emmy-Lou’s Vintage Fashion Show

Enjoy a fun evening of 50’s vintage fashion and music, presented by the Maitland Heritage Festival at Sun Street Studios. On arrival, enjoy complimentary canapes and a glass of bubbly.

Sunday 23 June (1.45pm)

Heritage walking tours

Walk 1: Explore Lorn with Michael Belcher

Walk 2: Explore the monuments of Maitland Park with Kevin Short 

(Both walks followed by a mini high tea at Studio Amsterdam)

Saturday 29 June (6.30pm)

Evening Music Recital

A piano recital, with pianist Erin Sweetman and feature Roeni Coates, will take place at Sun Street Studios.

For further information, or event details, visit www.maitlandheritagefest.com.au

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