For one vibrant weekend in August, Tasmania’s history comes vividly to life in the 19th century sandstone village of Oatlands. Follow the Shadows of the Past to the Oatlands Heritage & Bullock Festival and discover a wealth of traditional trades and crafts, engaging displays and activities, live music and yummy food. Watch artisan makers create beautiful things, see the bullock team in action, get swept up in theatrical performances, and much more.

Festival info

When: Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 August 2019, 10am – 4pm each day
Where: Oatlands (around a 1 hour drive north from Hobart or a 1.5 hour drive south from Launceston)
Entry: Free

The festival takes place throughout the village, including inside a variety of charming heritage buildings. Don’t miss the action in Callington Park, located behind the Main Street next to Lake Dulverton. The quaint cafes and boutique shops along High Street will also be open for business. A community courtesy coach will circulate during the festival.

To really get into the spirit, dress up in traditional clothing. If the mood strikes you on the day, it’s not too late to get a costume⁠—pop into the Heritage Hub and ask how. One person who will be dressed in his finest is The Town Crier, who will no doubt be very busy!

Oatlands Heritage & Bullock Festival

Image supplied by the Southern Midlands Council

What’s on

The talented artisans will be showcasing their trades and crafts in a range of historic buildings and spaces throughout the village. Visit the recently restored Heritage Hub and Commissariat at 79 High Street for information during the festival. We’ve listed some highlights below.


In a typical rural scene, Brian Fish’s team of bullocks will pull a load along High Street from 10:30am each day. Watch as they journey from the Oatlands Recreation Ground to Callington Park. The bullocks will also have working displays in Callington Park.

Traditional Chinese Lion Dancers

The Chinese community were early settlers in Tasmania. Buddhist members of the Southern Midlands community will perform the traditional Chinese Lion Dance, following the bullocks along High Street. The bullocks and dancers will also be accompanied by a pipe band and pack horses.


Back in the day, Callington Park served as the district’s sale yards, holding up to 7,000 sheep on auction days. On the Saturday of the festival, Roberts Livestock (est. 1865) will hold a sheep auction in the original sheep yards, with 500 sheep—plus a few head of cattle—for auction. Following the livestock auction, a ‘Paddy’s Auction’ will be held, with traditional items reminiscent of the old country market up for grabs.

Theatrical performances

Don’t miss the theatrical shows! Edwin Batt and his thespians will entertain you with humorous and engaging performances at the Oatlands Gaol.


The Dulverton Masonic Lodge will be open to visitors for the two day festival. Join one of the guided tours to learn more about this organisation that has been in Oatlands since the mid-1880s.

Traditional trades

The festival celebrates all things heritage and handmade, so there will be a wealth of traditional trades and crafts to explore. Discover vintage machinery, steam engines, blacksmith forge and farriers, leather workers, spinners and weavers, felting, art exhibitions, wooden boat building, fly fishing, shingle splitting, and much more.

For more info, see the program on the Southern Midlands Council website and show your interest in the event on Facebook. To see what else is on, check out our Events Calendar.

We love it when you share your adventures with us! Tag @midlandstasmania and use #MidlandsTasmania or #HeritageHighway and we’ll share our favourite photos on InstagramFacebook, and in our Blog.

Related posts:
Story Time: Where to Hear Tales of Days Gone By
The Oatlands Key: Access the Historic Military Precinct
9 Things to Do at Lake Dulverton
Colonial Tasmania: 10 Places to Step Back in Time
Colonial Charm: 10 Tips for Exploring Oatlands
Discover the Heritage Highway Silhouette Trail

Header image:
Supplied by the Southern Midlands Council

Isabel Galloway