When will bookings open?

In February 2019. There will be an early bird booking period for a limited time.

Are there any concession rates?

There will be early bird rates for all cities – see each city page.

There will be a discount for Sydney (3 days) if booked in addition to another city – see each city page.

What if I have to cancel a booking?

If unexpected circumstances arise preventing you from attending we can refund any fees paid – if you advise us before the event. You may however let your booking stand and remain in the draw for hundreds of $$$ in prizes – and have access to any special deals offered at the event/s.

talks & speakers

Why not come to Tasmania … Darwin … New Zealand … other cities?

Blaine Bettinger is heavily in demand internationally and can only give 2½ weeks to Australia. This only allows for the six cities chosen. The three-day extended / in-depth conference in Sydney is a world class DNA event – and the central plank of Blaine’s down under visit. Initially it was planned to only do Sydney, but with Blaine able to give some extra time we added one-day events in other major cities. 60% of the interest in Sydney has come from other states and New Zealand.

Will the sessions be recorded to make them available after?

No arrangements have been made for this at this stage.


Will there be discounted DNA tests at the event?

We will be approaching the major DNA companies and other potential sponsors and exhibitors. It is likely some/all of these will offer special roadshow deals.

I am interested in this event as an exhibitor – how do I find out about that?

Watch our web site and newsletters. All venues (all cities) have adequate space for a good exhibition and this will be open to any genealogy product and service providers (almost everyone who has done a DNA test will be interested in genealogy generally). There will also be opportunity to get your promotional material into registration kits in cities you may not personally attend. We will be adding an exhibitor / sponsor page to the web site soon. In the meantime you can email alan@unlockthepast.com.au to register your interest. Let us know what city/cities interest you.

sydney 3-day conference

If I choose a Sydney program, would it be a waste of money to attend an interstate talk?

No, only three of the seven talks in the one-day cities will be repeated in Sydney – and with three streams in Sydney and two in the afternoon in other cities you can do a full four day program without any repetition at all. Check out the preliminary programs. Those doing Sydney as well as their own state will be able to get a discount rate on Sydney.

Is there enough material for 3 days? Isn’t one day enough?

Yes – there would be enough for a six-day conference if we wanted to run that long! We had to make a selection of only half the topics offered by Blaine and the other five main speakers. Check out our preliminary programs.

Why not three days in Melbourne as well as Sydney?

The answer is much the same as to the previous question. Blaine’s time does not allow for this. Also running two events of this magnitude is not realistic in Australia.

Why Castle Hill for the three-day conference? Why not Sydney CBD?

An event in the Sydney CBD would probably add $200 or more to the cost for the three days – with the higher venue cost and the requirements that any CBD venue booking would also require an (expensive) catering package. Also with around 70% of the interest in Sydney coming from interstate, New Zealand and country NSW accommodation costs (though still high) are likely to be better than the CBD.

Where is Castle Hill and how far from the CBD is it?

32 km north-west of Sydney CBD – about the same distance out as Parramatta, where we have held many of our events in the past. Whatever location we choose it will be convenient for some and not for others. We will be checking out various access options for visitors from interstate, overseas and NSW country and adding information to the web site. With so much interest from interstate and NSW country it is recommended you coordinate travel and accommodation with others – car/taxi pooling, apartment sharing, etc. Apart from cost advantages this is also good for networking with others outside the set program.


What food and drink will be available?

A light lunch and morning and afternoon tea is included in every city. See city information pages for more details

Previous Unlock the Past events have not included lunch in the registration fee. Why the change this time?

The over-riding consideration is to maximise the time delegates have to interact in the relatively short lunch break with speakers, other experts, delegates and exhibitors. This is best achieved by having food platters in (or close to) the conference area.

The interest to date suggests we will have significantly higher numbers than we have ever had before. To do as we have in the past – queuing at venue dining places (those that have them) or even going off-site – would run the risk of not being through lunch in time for any interaction with others – or even in time for the program resumption after lunch.

A provided lunch offsets the need to purchase separately on the day.


accommodation & general

Will there be accommodation close to the seminar location?

See each city page for information on accommodation.

Melbourne and Canberra – the conference hotels are offering discounts on their standard acommodations rates for DNA Down Under delegates. See pages for those cities.

Sydney – there are a number of major apartment blocks reasonably close to the venue.

  • We will be checking these out further soon to see if we can get any conference group deals.
  • It would be more cost effective if several people shared a two or three bedroom apartment. With multiple people at the same hotel there is also opportunity for informal networking with other conference delegates around the dinner table in the evenings (that is also an option at the Castle Hill RSL Club).
  • If you know others who are travelling from a distance it is recommended that you consider coordinating travel times to share a vehicle (a hire car if flying to Sydney). A shared hire car will be more cost effective and convenient than using public transport.
Will Brisbane being on a public holiday help or hinder?

If your priority is the Ekka on that day then it won’t work for you – but the Ekka runs over other days too. If you normally work mid-week, then the Ekka public holiday allows you to attend without taking a day off work. In addition onsite parking will be easier on a public holiday than a normal work day.

Is wheelchair access available?

Yes – in all venues across Australia.

Will you cater for those who are deaf?

We had a question “I am deaf and there is a small group of deaf people who are interested in DNA and we would love to attend. A larger group would be in Melbourne, while there is 4 of us based in NSW. We would need Auslan Interpreters …” (more information given). We will have to check this out further … but if you are in this category email alan@unlockthepast.com.au to help us know the likely interest level.