Living in the past


Instead of just reading about times past, and wondering what it would be like to have lived then, some people take the next (we can call it logical) step and try to recreate as much of that time as possible.

If you’ve ever been to one of the medieval fairs in Brisbane or at the Abbey Museum near Bribie Island then you will have seen the Knights Guild of Wessex and Mercia and the members of the Society for Creative Anachronism’s Loganlea based group – the Shire of Bacchus Wood – in action. Some of them will have been hitting each other with large bashy or pointy things and others would have been demonstrating the arts, crafts and culture of medieval times.

A little closer to home, up in the Hinterlands, there is a Viking group called Jorth Gar who enthusiastically demonstrate viking culture at an annual festival on Mt Tamborine (I’m not quite sure where they launch the longships…) I’m also not sure what other groups are around on the Gold Coast (but chances are good that there are more out there).

What really intrigues me about “living history” as a hobby, is not just the big investment of time and money that people put in making and buying authentic costumes, weaponry and other accessories. It’s the application of the immersion approach to learning – like moving to France so you can learn to speak French properly, but since you can’t really live in the past, they recreate a version of it around themselves. 

Maybe someone involved in one of the groups could comment further (and with more knowledge…) 

Meanwhile, I’m going to go and borrow the Lord of the Rings DVDs again – and watch hordes of people hitting each other with large bashy or pointy things.


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One Response to “Living in the past”

  1. Timothy Says:

    The recreation is a recreation…a pun that works better in verbal words than written ones. I don’t think people are trying to make the past around them, because the events I’ve been to that’s not the focus. People don’t want to have bread with gravel in it for lunch and use Medieval period toilets. It’s just colourful.

    It’s just cool to know stuff. It’s cool to make stuff. Its cool to do stuff with other people who do the stuff you do. And yes, there’s a fair down here on the Gold Coats each year. There’s a group around who do Napoleonic navy…but then again there’s a group around who do Star Wars Imperial Navy. 8)

    Now, I was never much of the “bashy and pointy” sort of guy, although I did run some events for bashy and pointy guys (and girls) and I’ve helped out on craft days (making swords out of fibreglass cores, that sort of thing.) and I did get married in garb, which is what we nerds call “With cool medieval clothes while carrying a big sword.”

    I don’t think its about building medieval history around you though, because a lot of people who do anachronism know perfectly well how really unpleasant the vearious parts of history were. It’s just more interesting than, say, golf.

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