Photos: Baz – The Landy, and Janet-Planet, at “The Basin” located on Pittwater just to the north of Sydney.
The sound of a shell fired from the World War 2 tank rang out across the field, the boom and compression of the explosion sending a shiver down the spine of all in proximity…
Men in khaki and camouflage fatigues were hitting the ground to avoid the inevitable fall-out from the shrapnel, weapons at the ready as they lay silently waiting for the order to advance on the German line.
The rattle of machine gun fire ringing out from the bunkers and motorcycle side-cars was deafening as the Germans fought to protect their ground, shrouded for a time behind the white plume of smoke that was by now drifting across the battlefield.
Mind you, some of the soldiers ambushed on “patrol” were a about a quarter-of-a-century too late for the encounter given it was a mock battle between American and German World War 2 forces; the advance party were dressed and kitted out for the jungles of Vietnam…!
But hang-on, what are those Vikings doing on the battlefield?
Didn’t they have their run a few centuries ago marauding and pillaging their way across England?
And aren’t those fancy looking blokes dressed to the “nines” with the feather plumes on their headgear “Frenchies” from the days when Napoleon was barking out orders as he roamed the countryside looking for trouble?
The scene was unfolding at Ironfest 2017 in the Central Tablelands township of Lithgow.
Ironfest is an arts festival that explores the relationship between humans, metal and identity and is held annually at the Lithgow Showground. It brings together artists, designer-makers, blacksmiths, and performers of all kind, musicians, Steampunkers, as well as historical re-enactors and steam-machine enthusiasts from all over Australia…
TomO, the Crown Prince, is a member of Ausreenact, a non-political World War 2 living history organisation made up of members who share a common interest in history and militaria, with a particular focus on the uniforms, equipment and vehicles of the Allied and Axis forces in the period 1939-1945. He re-enacts as a member of the US Forces 2nd Armoured Division and has quite a collection of gear and equipment he has assembled from the era and which he proudly had on display in his “bunker” during the weekend.
Each year Ausreenact, along with a number of other military groups, including those dedicated to Napoleonic re-enactment and Knights from medieval times, are invited to attend and take part in the festival.
No wonder the “battle-ground” was chaotic…
Medieval swords flashed and clashed to the boom of Napoleonic guns that were challenging the armoured vehicles from more modern times.
When the Knights were not swinging their swords in battle they were charging at each other in a medieval jousting match.
And here I was thinking how macho I must look wielding the whipper-snipper with menacing precision each time I trim the moraya hedge at home. Strewth, talk about starting to feel just a tad inadequate.
So I’ll just move on…
Away from the “battlefields” there was the sound of iron striking iron on anvils as blacksmiths demonstrated their craft, beads of sweat rolling down their faces as they forged metal into works of art.
And hey, what about all those Steampunk people…?
Steampunk I hear you ask? I too had to look up the definition of a “Steampunker” and I am still not sure I have it right.
One of the best definitions for a Steampunker I have come across is from Jess Nevins, author of the Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana (it hasn’t come up on my book club read list yet) who said…
“Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover brown.”
The costumes were as varied as the people that dressed in this fashion genre inspired by the Victorian era of steam and industrial machinery. I think it was the default costume for many who attended the festival.
But the Steampunkers seemed a happy bunch even if the women’s corsets appeared three sizes to small and their mode of transport was from another age if not simply strange…
Without doubt this weekend is possibly the two days of the year the various groups can safely come out from behind closed doors and still look normal; safety in numbers, so they say.
The activity was as diverse as it was frenzied, but somehow it all worked and integrated in a way that you would not think possible and I even got to take Janet-Planet on the cruise she has always wanted to do…
On the infamous “Love Boat”…
Photos: Baz – The Landy & Janet-Planet, Lithgow, Australia…
Selfishness is a word that we are likely to be confronted with every day…
But what does it really mean and how should it be applied to our daily lives, if at all?
Most dictionaries define selfishness as…
“Devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.”
I pondered on this definition and eventually came to a conclusion that this is possibly one of the most misused words in the English vocabulary.
I asked myself the question..
Is it selfish to pursue our dreams, to live the life we desire, to see what we can achieve; to explore new horizons and to develop as individuals; to stand at the edge and look at the world through a different lens…?
As individuals our life and the way we lead it creates a mosaic of who we are.
The pieces of a jigsaw puzzle randomly sitting in a box are meaningless unless they are joined.
In much the same way the pieces of our lives, scattered, cannot portray or project anything about who we are or what we seek to be until pieced together.
Interlocked they provide a mosaic of whom we really are…
The picture unfolds…
Whom or what would we be if we were not able to join the random pieces together and pursue our dreams?
Would we ever achieve our real potential, or would a fear of selfishness limit us and how we develop as individuals?
Baz – The Landy
In 1956 the British Government built an atomic bomb testing site in the South Australian outback with assistance from the Australian Government of the day…
We discovered these beautiful flowers growing at “ground zero”… Don’t they demonstrate the tenacity of nature by defiantly shining through in spite of the brutal treatment this wonderful landscape was subjected to?
You can read more about the area in our blog titled “An Atomic Blast (In the Outback)”.
Photos: Janet Planet – Maralinga, South Australia