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Balsa Wood In Jousting

Whats the one GREAT thing a Jousting Tournament MUST HAVE?

 

Well, apart from horses, costumes, Knights, armour, and joust a plaisance (old jousting term for ‘friendly tournament’)… one of the greatest things a tournament must have is a lance!

After all, what’s more spectacular than seeing a wooden pole obliterated into a hundred pieces at high speed?

balsa joust

Pieces of balsa wood flying off in all directions in a cloud of timber splinters not only looks really cool, but lets the onlookers in the berfrois (old jousting term for ‘stands for the posh’) know who has made the strike – unless someone gets unhorsed.

And the great thing about using balsa wood for lance tips? It’s soft, explodes on impact and even breaks down to melt away into the soil in just a matter of days.

Historically, ash and oak were the jousting timbers of choice for Knights, but a hollowed out soft wood like pine was also used in tournaments to lessen the blow. And although European knights are usually credited with the use of lances, their use was widespread throughout Asia, the Middle East and North Africa whenever suitable mounts were available for use.

Balsa wood is a recently popularised wood compared to older Europeanbalsa wood plane timbers, coming to prominence in World War II when it was used as part of the construction of aeroplanes like the de Havilland Mosquito (pictured right).

balsa wood shipIn 1947, Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl set off on a raft made of this particular wood to cross the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian Islands. The raft was named after the Inca Sun God, Viracocha, for whom “Kon-Tiki” was said to be an old name (pictured left).

 

Today, balsa wood products are available online from Balsacentral.com in Adelaide. In fact they even sell Jousting sticks to Europe! The balsa trees are grown in tropical plantations using old cocoa bean and coffee lands where crops have failed. As a completely sustainable crop, balsa is widely used by the education, theatre, craft, art and modelling communities in all its various shapes and forms. But the best thing about balsa wood is… it makes the best lance tips for jousting tournaments!

See all of Balsa Centrals amazing products here. 

To see the Balsa wood tips in action, buy your tickets to the Festival and Joust Tournament now!

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Whats New?

How can the Abbey Medieval Festival get any more amazing, you ask?

What will they have this year that is new and different?

 

This year, you can expect not only a brand new layout of the Festival, but you can now visit not one, but two new authentic Village Precincts!

The first of these is “Kirkby”, our 14th-15th century Village, where you can see some encampments from that particular time period, and participate in activities such as Finger Looping, and Split Ring Mail Making.

The second new Village precinct is the “Crusaders Quarter” which will host specialist re-enactment groups. Here, for your entertainment and education, you can see shows and displays such as Bedouin Coffee Making, Cavalry Tactics and Horses: East Meets West talk, and a Lucet and Weaving Workshop.

new templars

Make sure you visit the Info Booth this year, as we will have a REAL SUIT OF ARMOUR on display. This armour was recently purchased by the Abbey Museum, and is originally from the 15th Century!

 

New in the VIP area is a 2 storey, ‘tudor’ themed viewing gallery for our special guests and Sponsors!

 

Exciting news for our Jousters! We have 2 Jousters coming from CANADA to compete for the Abbey Tournament Champion title! Who will you be cheering for??

new joust

 

The Festival is going green! You may have heard that this year we will be beginning the transition to no plastic bottled water being sold inside the Festival gates. There are many reasons we have chosen to take this initiative, and for this year only, we will be selling limited edition Abbey water bottles, for you to fill up at any one of our 4 Water Rehydration Stations. You may catch some cheeky pedlars selling bottled water around the Festival for this year, but as of next year, remember to bring your own water bottle for unlimited FREE refills throughout the day.

 

To see all this and much more, plus all the much loved shows and displays from previous years, buy your tickets now!

 

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MEET THE JOUSTERS – PART 3 2016

Meet the final 2 Jousters for the 2016 lineup!

As we are all getting ready and very excited for this years Medieval Festival, the Jousters are training and readying themselves for the ferocious combat that is the Jousting Tournament! The final 2 Jousters have been named, get to know them before you witness them live at the Festival!

 

The Lady Elizabeth – Australia

jousters liz

Lady Elizabeth has been in the jousting world more, behind the scenes and Head Marshall, for nearly 10 years, and has previous Jousted in the 2009 Abbey Tournament. Lady Elizabeth may be more recognized through her horse Flash who carried many an international rider to victory.

Lady Elizabeth has been riding for over 23 years now. She has been competing and training in dressage, show jumping and cross country. She is the founder & head instructor at Moonlight Manor Horse Riding, and teaches horses and riders of all ages & disciplines.

The 2016 Abbey Tournament will be the Lady Elizabeth’s return to the field after many years of training.

Motto:  “Victoria venit in” – “Victory comes from within”

 

Jouster Amanda Challen – Australia 

jousters amanda

Amanda has been working with horses since her early teenage years. She started by simply trail riding, and then into trail guiding and droving. She then became a riding instructor and now works in the racing industry. Amanda trains horses for all sorts of disciplines which includes Jousting. She will be astride ‘Nyx’ – the black daughter of the mighty war horse ‘Fenris’ – a well renowned Jousting horse for many years in the Abbey Tournament.

Amanda has been training under Talisien Bleechmore, Luke Binks, and Sasha Buchmann – all well regarded Jousters within Jousting circles. This will be ‘Nyx’s’ second Joust at the Medieval Festival, this time carrying her breeder and trainer!

Buy your tickets to the Festival and Joust Tournament now!

lady freya joust
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Meet the Jousters – Part 2 2016

Meet some more exciting new faces for the Jousting Tournament this year! Please welcome Jousters new and old:

Jouster Anthony Hodges – Australia

tony hodges jousters

Anthony is a full time horse trainer. He has been competitively Jousting since 2014, and is a member of the Kryal Castles Mounted Knights. He is regular participant in Jousting and Skill At Arms Tournaments, and was the 2015 Timeline Skill At Arms Champion.

Motto: “Ad vincere honorem – To conquer with honour”

 

Jouster Kimberly Belcher AKA Lady Freya Erynn – Australia 

lady freya jousters

Lady Freya (Kimberley Belcher) is a 25 year old from Queensland. She made her debut at the 2015 Abbey Medieval Tournament, where she got to test her skills against some of the best. Returning this year, she is keen to compete again.

Kimberly has been immersed in jousting and medieval culture from the beginning of her riding. Training alongside the legendary pair, the Lady Elizabeth and her partner ‘Shanks’ and all the wonderful horses at Moonlight Manor, Kimberly has completed her joust training upon the horse Strider .

Descendant of a light horseman, she is ready to do her heritage proud and compete with honour, as she competes on home turf. The 2016 Abbey Medieval Tournament will be her second competitive joust. Competing in 15th Century German Gothic armour she’s sure to make an impression, and will be easy to spot in her green (Viridis) and blue (Caeruleus) colours, under the banner of the white stag. She’s confident for a great result from this year’s joust.

Motto: “per prudentiam, non virtutem – by wisdom, not power”

Jouster Luke Binks – Australia 

luke binks jousters

Luke Binks is Australian born and bred, with a lifelong passion for knights and the chivalric culture of the middle ages.

Luke started to make armour, learn to fight and ride horses in 2001. The next year, Luke was competing in his first international joust. Since then Luke has competed in tournaments in roughly a dozen countries across the globe and lived on three different continents, all in search of like-minded people making “the ultimate pass with a lance, or a skilled clash of a sword.”

 

Stay tuned for part 3 of “Meet the Jousters 2016!”

Buy  your tickets NOW!! 

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Abbey-Medieval-VIP-Experience-Photo-by-Neda-Lundie-300x200
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New Ticket Prices for 2016

Are you ready for the Abbey Medieval Festival 2016?!

We certainly are! So to get you started, we would love to give you some information on the ticket prices for this year.

medieval festivalTickets will on sale VERY SOON, so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know!

The Festival will run, like normal, over the 2 day weekend, on the 9th and 10th July, but if you’re just wanting to come for 1 day, your ticket price for an adult will be $31.50 if you prepay online, or $37.00 at the gate on the day.

If you’re wanting the full experience of the WHOLE weekend (both Saturday and Sunday), an adult ticket will cost you just $42.00 if prepay online, or $47.50 at the gate.

To watch any one of our amazing and authentic Jousts, grab your ticket at just $4.00 per person per session.

The Medieval Festival is an entirely different experience than you’ve ever had before, and we can almost guarantee you will find something you absolutely love here, so why not bring the whole family and enjoy a lovely day out, or the whole weekend! For a family ticket for just the 1 day, you’re looking at just $84.00 if you prepay online, or $90.00 at the gate. We would love you to bring the family for the whole weekend, and at just $92.00 for prepaid tickets ($99 at the gate), why wouldn’t you?!

If you are after the FULL experience, in your very own luxury seating, then our VIP experience is what you need. You will be treated to your own private guided entrance into the Festival and a carpark space for VIPs only. Once inside, you will be invited to indulge in a served morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea, along with your own VIP’s only bar. And a VIP only toilet aswell, so no long waits in lines! Premium seating at all Jousts is included in your ticket, so you won’t miss out on any of the action in the arena! A VIP ticket will cost you  $174 for the day, and with meals, drinks, and all Jousts included, this is great value for money.

If you would like to take it up a notch and really immerse yourself even more in the Medieval way of life, attending one of our beautiful Banquets is definitely for you. Gather some friends, have fun dressing up in some amazing and glorious clothing of that Era, and enjoy an enormous Medieval feast at our deluxe banquet tables! We host 2 Banquets, the first on the 25th June and the second on the 2nd July. You can purchase tickets to these Banquets online very soon, from $95 per ticket.

For more information on all tickets types including children, concession and carers, please see our website VERY SOON.

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with all the exciting Festival news

Volunteer your time to work at any of the numerous jobs needed at the Festival

alison mercer jouster
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Meet the Jousters – Part 1 2016

The Jousts at the Abbey Medieval Festival are one of the main attractions, and draw in people with a love of that Era, as well as the general public alike. We welcome the Jousters from previous years, as well as the new faces (and horses) to our 2016 Abbey Medieval Festival!

Please meet some of the Jousters for 2016

 Jouster Alison Mercer – Canada

Alison-Joust

Riding since childhood, Alison took up jousting in 2010 and rode her first international tournament in 2012. Since then she has ridden extensively throughout Canada and the USA. In 2014, she was the first western Canadian to joust in the southern hemisphere, winning Tournament Australis of the Southern Cross series, and making her debut at Abbey Medieval Festival. Alison is thrilled to return to Abbey in 2016 and counts Australia as one of her favourite countries to visit, even with the deadly wildlife.

Motto: Fortiter et Fideliter (Boldly and Faithfully)

Heraldry: Representing her family and her affinity for the Holy Roman Empire. The dexter side of the shield represents the Mercer coat-of-arms and the sinister side portrays the triband of the Archduchy of Austria as a homage to Kaiser Maximilian.

joust justin

Jouster Justin Holland – Australia

One of the progenitors of the modern sport of jousting, Justin has been jousting since 1996, and since then has jousted in most states of Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France and Poland. He was hired to set up and train the joust team for the new Kryal Castle, Ballarat, in 2012. Justin now runs Nova Hollandia Entertainment, a historical education and entertainment company in NSW, has been runner up at the Abbey Tournament 7 times, and Champion 3 times!

Motto: Invictus in animo (Unconquered in spirit)

Heraldry: Trois argent fleur de lys, gules ( 3 white fleur de lys on a red field).

Jouster Marc Hamel – Canada

marc joustMarc is a Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, armourer and sculptor. He has been a Jouster since 2006, and has participated in over 20 International tournaments in Belgium, France, England, Poland, Italy, USA and Canada. He was the Team Champion of the Lys d’Argent in Canada in 2012, has the Honor of Chivalry of the King John III (Poland 2013) and was Champion of the Revel (California,USA, 2014).

Motto: “Allons-y” meaning let’s go

Check back again soon for more on our Jousters for 2016!

Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when tickets go on sale, and other Festival goodies! 

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Jousting Profiles Part Three: Clifford Formosa

Clifford Formosa is a professional equestrian with a lifetime of experience. Born in Malta, he moved to Australia more than 30 years ago and, since settling here, has become a rider and trainer of National renown.

Clifford has studied classical horsemanship with Fernando Elveras, competed as a rodeo bull rider and for the past twelve years he has indulged his passion for the vaquero method of training at his stud, Marisma, in Snake Valley, Victoria.  It is this experience and his professionalism that has resulted in clients from all over the country seeking out Clifford to train their prized mounts.

For the past year he has turned his hand to jousting at Kryal Castle, Ballarat where he and his Andalusian gelding, Paco, have become firm favourites with visitors to the theme park.

This is his first appearance at The Abbey Medieval Festival where he is sure to be a formidable opponent.

 Cliff and Paco
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Jousting Profile Part Four: Sarah Hay

Sarah started jousting in 2008 after seeing a tournament at a festival in NSW.  Having always been attracted to all things medieval, jousting immediately caught her attention and instantly became her passion….it remains her passion seven years later.

In 2010 she made my first trip to Europe to joust in Belgium.  Since then, she has travelled internationally at least once or twice every year in New Zealand, USA, Canada, Belgium, France, Poland and Denmark.  Her most recent trip was to the World Invitational Grail of Chivalry Tournament in New Zealand in February, where she became the first woman ever to win the Grail of Chivalry.

In Australia she hosts four jousting tournaments each year.  These include ‘Tournament Australis’ in July and the ‘Southern Cross Tournament Series’ – three tournaments over three weekends in November.  These events include mounted games, jousting and mounted archery.

When she’s not jousting, Sarah works as a full time deputy principal in a large primary school in South Western Sydney.  She’s also passionate about educating children to enable them to grow up to the best they can be.

Her goal is to continue competing successfully as an international jouster into the future. She never thought that her sport would take me around the world each year.  Sarah believes it is a privilege to have this opportunity and she looks forward to seeing her friends at the Abbey Festival in 2015!

Sarah_femke

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Jouster’s Profiles – Part Two

Second in our Jouster’s Profile series is Vikki Subritzky! Jousting Spectacular introducing Vikki Subritsky

Lady Victoria Subritzky hails from Northland New Zealand.

She is from a distinguished line of noble Polish mounted warriors, and wears light armour very similar to what her fierce ancestor Jan Sobieski wore  in the Great Battle of Grunwald. There, the combined armies of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania decisively defeated the Teutonic Knights in a bloody battle that saw Jan Sobieski taking out many of the enemies warriors and horses.

Back to the present, Lady Victoria is a member of the International Jousting League, and has been jousting for 15 years. This is her sixth visit to the wonderful Abbey Tournament.

She is part of the jousting team Guild of the Hawk along with fellow Kiwiman John King, and together they regularly perform in various events and take part in many fundraisers for charitable organisations.

At home Lady Victoria breeds and trains sport horses, runs beef cattle and also runs a farm stay holiday, where people can enjoy a sample of rural life.

Her motto – Ancora Imparo – Yet I still learn.

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Jouster’s Profiles – Part One – Lady Freya Erryn

First up in our Jouster’s Profile series is Lady Freya Erryn!

Known outside of jousting as Kimberley Belcher, Lady Freya is new to the world of jousting, but has been immersed in its culture from the beginning of her riding. She has always had a love of history, and Kim has enjoyed experiencing aspects of the cultures she has studied. Now, she’s thrilled to have the opportunity to compete.
Descendant of a light horseman, this 24 year old Queenslander is ready to do her heritage proud and compete with honour against her opponents on home turf. She’s completed her joust training upon Flash and Strider from Moonlight Manor, who are amongst the best mounts in the business, and in this tournament!
The 2015 Abbey Medieval Tournament will be her first competitive joust, she is keen to test her skills against the best and make her mark on the sport. Competing in 15th Century German Gothic armour she’s sure to make an impression, and will be easy to spot in her green and blue colours.

Keep an eye on this one, she’s sure to impress!

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Shields, steel and saddles: The modern sport of jousting explained

Jousting Abbey Medieval Tournament

Yes, many of the best jousters are women.  Photo: Cumberland

On 6 and 7 July Caboolture will host an international tournament for one of most interesting of modern sports – jousting.  You may think jousting was a historic chivalric pursuit, but it thrives today as a modern contact sport.
Picture this: hundreds of kilos of humans, horses and armour charging at each other, intent on landing  the point of their 3 metre lance on the body of their opponent.  There will be wood flying, dents in armour, and if the crowd gets what they want, someone will be knocked off their horse.
No wonder it is popular.  In fact, so popular there is now an International Jousting League, with rankings, and there are annual prestigious jousting events that attract the best from around the world.

 

Horses, jousting, Abbey Medieval Festival

Horses quite enjoy the jousting at the Abbey Museum.  Photo Alex Hinsch

Sounds modern?  It’s the way the sport was organised in the 13th century.  In medieval times, the best knights would travel from tournament to tournament, and were the “sports celebrities” of their day.
Like all the best sports, the rules of jousting are simple and straightforward, but they allow a great deal of subtlety and gamesmanship from the competitors.
The object of jousting is for a knight to land their lance tip on their opponent – that scores points!   A hit is called an “ataint” and an ataint scores if it is a hit on the shield, body or helmet.  But you get even more points if you shatter your lance upon your opponent.  Yes, wince as you picture that.  The lances are designed to shatter on impact, and the tips are replaced after each ataint.  The breaking point is a set distance from the tip, and a lance must break at that point if it the ataint is to count.
And what does the  jousting “stadium” look like?  Like all sports, there are tiers of seatings all around, so the spectators can see every hit, hear every grunt, and all of the action.  Some things are eternal – it was the same for the gladiatorial games in Rome.
In the middle, picture this:  two horses and riders thundering down the line  towards each other, with a flimsy barrier separating them. The barrier, called a “tilt’, was used from the 14th century to prevent collisions between jousters.
Like most equestrian sports, spectators are more worried about the horses than the humans. Fear not, the horses are safe.  Safer than the jousters.  There have always been great protections built into jousting to protect the horses.  Harming or targeting  the horses is dreadfully taboo.  If a horse is hit, the offending knight loses the tournament and traditionally had to surrender his own horse!
In fact, we think the horses rather enjoy the action and attention.  Like the jousting knights, they don’t hold back.  And that is how all elite modern sports should be .

Jousting Abbey Medieval Tournament

Grace, skill, honour … and determination. Photo by G Beard

As a modern sport, jousting  may even be better than many of the ball-chasing events you see on pay TV.
It is a brief, intense one-on-one  contest where you can’t miss the action.  All the drama is distilled down to a single moment, the moment of impact.   There is noise, there is shiny armour, there are the “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd.  And sometimes, we see a knight knocked off his horse.
So take your kids to see an international sporting event in July. An event  with no drunken spectators, one where you get to see a result, and one where everyone learns something about the past.  Go to the jousting.

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Jousting Tickets – Quick and Easy Online Bookings!

TilIf you have tried to purchase tickets online for this year’s upcoming Abbey Medieval Jousting you may have noticed it was a little fiddly. Well, no more! We have just implemented a simpler, faster booking system so you can get your tickets for the joust of your choosing in a matter of clicks, right here 🙂

*** Please make sure you have purchased your festival entry tickets. Joust tickets only give access to the Joust session you have booked. Joust tickets are NOT festival entry tickets.