Ironfest 2009 - Lithgow
The brainchild of artist/sculptor and present festival director, Macgregor Ross, Ironfest was first held in April of 2000 to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the birth of steel in Australia, in Lithgow.Comprising of an exhibition of metal sculpture, paintings and drawings accompanied by blacksmith demonstrations by artist blacksmith Harry Piers, and metal music by local band, ‘The Mullpigs; around 25 artists participated and approximately 400 visitors attended.
This years event saw over 12,000 visitors attend during a weekend of unsettled weather and a constant biting cold wind. Imagine if the weather was pleasent.
One of the highlights of the Ironfest weekend would have to be the jousting.
Jousting is a competition between two knights on horse-back, where each knight tries to knock the other off his mount or score point by breaking a lance on specified target areas on their opponent. Jousting was at the peak of its popularity in the 14th to 16th centuries. (From Ironfest website)
Jousting competetor, Phillip Oliver
Another of the Ironfest attractions is the Battle of Lithgow - Napoleonic battle re-enactment.
It is the biggest annual Napoleonic battle re-enactment to take place in Australia, involving participants from all around the World. The re-enactment takes visitors back in time to experience what it was like to be on a military campaign in the 19th century; the fighting, the thunder of cannons, smell the smell of gunpowder, the marching and the camping.
Other parts of the display include a 19th century field hospital, kitchen and smithy. The uniforms and equipment are all historically accurate.
Seen here are a mixed regiment of Brittish troups preparing for the battle with cannons thundering and some members of the 95th Rifle Regiment in their camp.
As a fan of the Bernard Cornwell 'Sharpe' books, the 95th Rifles were one of my personal favourite displays.
Even with the inclement weather, the trip to Ironfest was well worth the effort. The events were spectacular and the displays were as authentic as you can get without stealing a time-machine. The participants happily gave their time to talk to visitor and answer questions.
Finally, me trying to work out how I could manage to walk out with this set of armour without being noticed.