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A Rare Chance to Explore Bear’s Castle

Wollert and the entire City of Whittlesea is home to a diverse and rich history, much of which can still be seen today. You’re sure to spot farming homesteads, tiny wooden churches and remnants of bluestone boundary fences all across the rolling hills to Melbourne’s north. One site, in particular, will be familiar to many who live in the area and that is Bear’s Castle. Located high on the hilltop of the Yan Yean Reservoir this mysterious monument is usually not open for public exploration, but on this occasion, they’ve made an exception!

A guided tour of this significant site is part of this year’s Australian Heritage Festival, an occasion that sees more than a thousand events take place around the country across April and May. The festival is a great chance to visit buildings, landscapes and sacred sites usually off-limits to the public, embracing and celebrating their histories.

Tours of Bear’s Castle are usually only conducted by special request, but on May 5 for one day only the doors to this cob castle will open! Rare due to its design and construction techniques, Bear’s Castle is a site of national significance. As legend goes, the castle was built as a result of a casual remark made in passing conversation, reputed to have been made by John Bear to his shepherd. So Bear’s Castle may have simply been constructed on a whim!

Don’t miss your opportunity to discover the rich history of this curious building, visit the City of Whittlesea website to reserve your tickets. Sessions are available at 10am or 2pm, and the tour includes a delightful morning or afternoon tea held at the charming original Caretakers Cottage.

More than 260 events are on offer across Victoria as part of the festival’s 2019 program, including Indigenous stargazing, mid-century open houses and ghost tours of The Espy Hotel. Visit the National Trust website to view the full program.