Living History Australia

Living History Australia

There are a number of Australian Living history and historical reenactment groups.

The Australian Register of Living History Organisations (ARLHO) is a group that is a focal point for Living history groups and provides some information resources for them via their website. The Australian Living History Federation was formed in 2002 and it acts as a focus for historical re-enactment and living history societies portraying aspects of world history within Australia.

The Dark ages, medieval and renaissance periods are popular, and the three largest events, as measured by participants rather than spectators, all focus on these eras of history.

18th and 19th century re enactment groups are also popular, and convey Australian interest in early colonial pre federation military regiments. The Australian Light Horse regiments is the area of Australian history with the most interest, with over 13 groups formed to re-enact this period of military history. There is also some focus on the Australian Pioneer era.

With no conventional land battles and few protracted civil disturbances since the British colonisation of Australia, most military reenactment focuses on other periods from other countries, including European Feudal, medieval, renaissance, American Civil war. Viking Era is popular. While arguably not as authentic as others, the SCA is probably the oldest established history group in Australia, having been established since the early 1980's and continues to run collegia and do demonstrations on living history for its members.

Historical Eras focused on by living History groups in Australia.

Australia's colonial and post-colonial history is relatively short, as compared to European nations, so while some focus is given to Australian history, a large amount of focus is also given on historical eras from other countries.

Dark ages

Many groups focus on the Viking era, late Roman and Early Byzantine. The NEMAS Easter Festival focuses on this era, and 20 or so living History groups that specialise on this era attend this event. One of the larger groups living History Groups, the New Varangian Guard, has groups in a number of cities, and it focuses on both this period and the early medieval period. While arguably not as authentic, this is a popular area of focus within the Society of Anachronism in Australia, the Kingdom of Lochac


Probably the largest group to focus on this period is the SCA. Other groups also focusing on this period include Lion Rampant, Das Törichte Leben, Company of the Wolf, the Condotierri, and the Company of the Phoenix.

Renaissance - 1700's

While less numerous, there are a number of groups that focus on this period. The largest is the Pike and Musket society(aka the Routiers). There are also a number of schools that teach historical fencing techniques from this era, including the Stoccata school of Defence and [ Prima Spada] .

19th Century

A number of groups focus on the activity of early colonial units. Sometimes these groups are based around a particular feature, like an historical fort. Other times, they focus on the history of an actual unit from the area. There is also some interest in American Civil War reenactment, with some groups focusing on this.

Australian Light Horse

The focus on Australian Light Horse is quite large, particularly considering that most participants have to provide their own horse. There are many country groups that participate in light horse re-enactment. Unusually for Living history groups, the Light Horse groups participate in War memorial services, - it was up until only recently that actual veterans from the campaigns still rode in memorial services, and the Light Horse re-enactors often have connections with their local Returned Services League (RSL). Groups normally re-enact the units that were historically active in their areas. The oldest historical re-enactment group in Australia is "A Troop, Richmond/Windsor", started in 1978 []


There are a number of smaller feasts, drill practices, weekend events and tournaments held regularly throughout the year by various groups in Australia. These will atypically focus on the period dealt with by the group. Some historical groups will be involved in cermonial duties, teaching history. The Lighthorse living history group has associations with the RSL and is usually involved in ANZAC day duties. There has also been a re-enactment of the Castle Hill convict rebellion(aka the Battle of Vinegar Hill) and the Eureka Stockade which are the only two historical battles of any significance on Australian soil.The Australian Medieval Conference is also a yearly large event focusing on arts, culture and combat of this period.

There are several large living History focused events held regularly:

NEMAS Easter Gathering - Armidale

A large Viking era biannual New England Medieval Arts Society (NEMAS) Easter Gathering in Armidale in northern NSW. This is a combination of reenactment groups from various parts of the country, held every second Easter in a Pine Forest. It is attended by around 400 people.

Rowany Festival

See Main article Rowany Festival.

The Society for Creative Anachronism has been holding the Rowany Festival every year since 1983. It regularly gets an attendance of about 1200 people, the largest amount of living historians at any one event in Australia.

Medieval Conference

The Medieval Conference is a 4 day event now in its 14th year. Participants seek to re-create the life and times of a number of specific periods of history from the Ancient period to around 1600 AD. There are many activities, including lectures and workshops on historical and cultural topics, Arts and Crafts, feasts, Games, and Combat. It is an opportunity for all re-enactment groups to showcase what they do and to share their knowledge.

Abbey Tournament

Held at the [ Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology] in Brisbane, The [ Abbey Medieval Festival] is a large festival run for the public, to generate interest and educate. It includes mostly medieval groups covering the period from 600 to 1600 AD, and features combat, music, a large banquet and a masquerade ball. it is the largest living history event by attendance, attracting thousands of spectators. In 2006, approximately 20,000 people passed through the gate. In 2007 it is anticipated that there will be over 800 re-enactors.

ee also

* List of historical reenactment groups
* Living history
* Society of Creative Anachronism, Australia


*(1) [ Lighthorse richmond windsor ]

External links

* [ Danelaw ]
* [ Medieval conference ]
* [ Rifles ]
* [ Colonial Era living History ]
* [ Queensland Victorian Barracks Soceity ]
* [ ARLHO: The Australian Register of Living History Organisations]
* [ The Queensland Living History Federation Inc]
* [ Battle of Vinegar Hill event]
* [ Lighthorse Living History groups]
* [ New England Medieval Arts Society]
* [ Order of the Lion Rampant]
* [ The Abbey Tournament]
* [ Ancient Arts Fellowship]

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