The Abbey Medieval Festival is all about bringing medieval history and culture to life right here in Southeast Queensland and as it turns out there could be no more perfect a venue for this annual medieval celebration than The Abbey Place.

Did you know that just a short spear’s throw away from Abbey Museum lies Moreton Bay Region’s very own rare archaeological site built along the Caboolture river bank upon what is now the North Harbour Heritage Park area?

This Queensland heritage listed site’s significant historical and cultural value harks all the way back to 1861…

Archaeological Treasure Trove near Abbey Medieval Festival

George Raff established his ye alde plantation on the southern bank of the Caboolture River upon land originally used to grow and process cotton by the Caboolture Cotton Company from 1861 to 1866. Renaming his new homestead ‘Morayfields’, Raff had the site converted into a sugar plantation (with some rum production and other activities carried-out on the side).

“Tadorna Radjah” – Ship use to supply “Moray Fields” in late 1800s. (63.7 feet x 12.1 feet; 32 tons gross, 21 tons net)

Numerous buildings and facilities were built including housing for Raff’s European workmen and their families and accommodation for the South Sea Islander workers. Worthy of note was the Morayfields ‘commodious wharf’ on the river, constructed for landing, or embarking produce, goods, and also people.

The homestead site even housed what is believed to be Queensland’s very first sugar plantation locomotive driven tramway constructed to transport cane to the mill and sugar to the wharf for river transport and trade.

Reliance on Water Transportation

Access to the Morayfields homestead over land was difficult, so as in ancient times, transport by river proved a smarter option. Links to the outside world were simply better, more easily accessible, more efficient and less expensive via traversing the water, a fact well-recognised as far back (and even earlier) as the ancient medieval period.

In medieval times, oceans, seas and river systems became vital transportation and trade routes which enabled these ancient medieval societies to flourish, grow, innovate and expand.

In the medieval period, water transport was up to 10 times more affordable than transport via land. Mastering the high seas and navigating the river systems was integral to urban development and aided economic advancements, thereby greatly affecting the prosperity of ancient medieval societies, influencing the rise (and fall) of whole civilisations of these ancient peoples.

None of these ancient medieval societies were more skilled, fearless and adventurous when it came to venturing across the high seas, open oceans and complex European river systems than the Vikings…

Who Were the Vikings?

The Vikings lived between the late 8th to early 11th century.

Though today in popular culture they are often misrepresented as primitive pagan barbarians who conquered, pillaged and favoured horned helmets, these common misconstructions of the Vikings falsely represent what were in fact an intelligent, innovative, non-horned helmet wearing ancient medieval peoples who, on an interesting side-note, were actually much more hygienically-minded than others of their time.

Many Vikings eventually converted to Christianity after settling in Normandy, Ireland and throughout the British Isles later on in their thriving medieval hey-day.

The majority of Vikings were farmers, shrewd traders and gifted craftsmen, only a very small percentage of Vikings were actually warriors.

Content thanks to the 2016 Abbey Festival Sponsors North Harbour