Posts

2018 Abbey Medieval Festival Hero

The face of the  Abbey Medieval Festival 2018

Festival Hero

(Photo by B Croese)

(Photo by B Croese)
Who is our 2018 festival hero?

Introducing Mr. Blair Martin, a multi-award winning Brisbane based actor, speaker, broadcaster, writer, director, entrepreneur and ‘Something Else’!
In 2018,  Blair will celebrate being the voice behind the microphone, the Master Herald at our annual medieval event and the announcer of all things… important or not… for the last two decades.   He is also the Steward of the Hall at both medieval banquets keeping the esteemed guests, the Lords and Ladies and Very Important People,  well entertained throughout the evening with his droll humor and witty wit. His extensive medieval knowledge, his spirit and pizzazz has made him a legend to many visitors to the Abbey Medieval Festival over the years. With a character that’s larger than life, a stature that leaves you in awe and admiration, the face of this 29th festival is truly our hero and has been for quite some time.

Festival Hero and ‘Something Else’!

Born and raised in Rockhampton, Blair has many strings to his artistic bow ranging from wildly colourful comic characters, MC services, and innovative corporate concepts and events including the Abbey Medieval Festival.  Blair is a also mastermind  for his ability to recall the most arcane list of facts, figures and quirky stories, and these are by no means limited to  medieval tid-bits.  Blair was a champion on the Australian production of the TV quiz show, ‘Jeopardy’, and in June 2007, Blair became the 6th Grand Champion of the hit Channel 9 quiz program ‘Temptation’.  In 2014,  Blair won one of the inaugural gold medals for the Trivia competition as part of the bienniel Pan-Pacific Masters Games on Queensland’s Gold Coast, and backed that up with a second gold medal in the same division at the 2016 PanPacs.

In various previous lives, Blair worked as the public face of many projects and jobs ranging from cinema usher to hotel receptionist and his talent for training, team-building and motivation of others, was and remains his personal brand. In 1993,  Blair started his own business called ‘Something Else Entertainment

Without a doubt, the Medieval Festival wishes to acknowledge and thank Blair for his creative  and dedicated services since 1998 and we recognise, also without a doubt, that every year, he just gets better!  He certainly is ‘Something Else’!

Thank you,  Blair. We appreciate you!

 

Sponsor Blog North harbour – medieval to modern living

North Harbour living

Medieval Cities

Living in the medieval ages, it’s fair to say that the role of the rich, powerful and godly was, unfortunately somewhat egotistical.  Little thought or care was given when the peasants or serfs were involved. This is not only reflected in the literature of the time but even in the way the cities were constructed and planned, or more accurately unplanned.  We have come a long way from thatched rooves and dirt floors.

Most medieval cities were created through impromptu building decisions made on the resources available. Cobbled streets twisted through narrow walkways creating a maze of backstreets filled with the poorest of the poor.

Anyone who has been to European medieval cities will understand the real threat of ending up trapped in the inexplicably tight alley with no room for a u-turn.  The walls covered in strange lines that you eventually realise are the thin strips of rental car paint from now folded inside mirrors.

These tourist traps came about for many reasons – one being only certain areas of medieval cities were planned – predominantly the homes of the aristocrats, clergy or royalty. The other aspect of medieval cities that were not haphazardly thrown together were, of course, the defences – moats, walls, battlements and even the classic spike pit were all planned out.  Another reason that many of these tightly packed streets exist is because cities were not planned for the people; they were created to meet the needs of the people in charge and nothing more. The third and most powerful reason is medieval peasants, building their homes, didn’t care that one day you and your steel dragon wouldn’t fit.

The ideals of city planning, among many other things began to change during the renaissance, becoming more comprehensively inclusive to not only the powerful but also the people.

Renaissance living and city building

Many of the great minds of the renaissance envisaged cities designed from scratch with purpose, sewage, water and ventilation.  Leonardo Da Vinci – one of the great minds of the renaissance, designed cities with specific pathways for people, local marketplaces to reduce travel time and designated freight routes to ease congestion.  Although many of these ideas were not implemented they were the first step towards contemporary town planning and residential standards.

The importance of these ideals was most duly noted on September 2nd, 1666 during the Great Fire of London. The medieval city was a sprawling network of inter-joining alleyways, tightly packed hovels and limited drainage and water sources.  These elements strung together to create one of the biggest metropolitan disasters in the last 500 years.  The fire started on Pudding Lane in a local bakery and from there got very out of hand.

An estimated 70,000 homes were engulfed in flames over the 3 days the fire raged. Firefighters could do nothing to stop the spread as wooden shacks built practically on top of each other created the biggest bonfire the city had ever seen.  The fire was eventually brought under control through the use of black powder, with the Tower of London Guards demolishing entire blocks to create fire breaks.  Not a strategy that many (or any) modern cities would use today.

Living in Australia today

Australian cities were built much later than those in European countries and benefitted from the hindsight of their structural disasters. Because of this knowledge, the importance of town planning had become clear to the Australian leaders and builders.  As society grew, so did the demand for curated suburbs with many aspects being at the forefront of planners minds including  – local amenities, shopping, education centres and entertainment venues.

These responsibilities to society have been adopted both within the government and private sector. For example, our sponsor, North Harbour doesn’t simply build homes but rather understand its ethical obligations to society to create high standards of community living. The creation of communities rather than just homes is what separates contemporary city planning from that of the medieval ages. Homes are built with access to amenities, schools, playing fields and entertainment hubs in order to provide people with the tools they need to live life to the fullest.

The role organisations like North Harbour play in creating an ideal living for not just one family, but an entire community are the building blocks of contemporary city development.

North Harbour is a new development in Burpengary East. North Harbour has a special history and contains the heritage listed “Moray Fields” homestead site, which was the first European settlement in the area and dates from 1861. These remains contain significant areas of cultural heritage, which are proposed to become a publicly accessible interpretive centre. The Abbey Museum is working in partnership with North Harbour to facilitate the creation of this centre.
In return, we are very pleased to welcome North Harbour as a major sponsor of The Abbey Medieval Festival.

To learn more about land for sale at North Harbour please visit www.northharbour.com.au.

Medieval to Modern Transportation

Medieval to Modern Transportation – the Industrial Revolution and Beyond

While today we travel at great speed covering vast cross-country, or cross-continent distances within hours via plane, train, or automobile, Medieval peoples travelled far slower covering far less of a distance and none could have dreamt of the dawn of modern transportation experienced eons after their time had ended, burgeoning during the first industrial revolution and picking up speed during the technological revolution.

The evolution of primitive transportation to the modern transportation modes we have at our disposal today, thanks to brilliant minds such as aviation pioneers the Wright brothers Orville and Wilbur, steam engine tramway inventor Richard Trevithick, or car industry pioneers the Renault brothers Louis, Marcel and Fernand, would have been inconceivable to the people of the Middle Ages.

This was a time period in which travel by foot was the most common way of journeying across the land for the majority of people. Horses, donkeys, mules and oxen pulled carts were generally reserved for royalty and the wealthier classes who could afford such luxuries, as well as more well-off traders dealing in such transport goods as wool, and some other Medieval folk such as knights, diplomats/envoys and mounted soldiers.

Travel through History – Where did People in the Middle Ages Journey?

Most peasants travelled within a very small radius upon their King’s land, as far as to the nearest market to buy food, or to work, and then home again. Farmers would venture as far as to the nearest village to sell their produce. As peasants belonged to the land they were born upon, they had to receive permission from their King before leaving their King’s domain.

The noble classes would travel further, between their vast estates and on occasion further still for special events. Pilgrims and knights would venture far and wide and merchants would often opt for water travel by ship (equipped with sails, or rowed by men) to access foreign markets to sell their wares across the known world and bring back exotic goods.

 Travel through History – The Problem with Medieval Period Land Transport

European road networks ingeniously established by the Romans, fell into disrepair after Rome’s fall. What were once well maintained overland routes quickly turned to muddy tracks during winter and at best, uneven dirt paths throughout the rest of the year.

As overland roads were severely damaged (until around the 12th century when road rehabilitation began) and travel by land required extensive leg work, or access to horse, mule, donkey, oxen and/or carts, along with coin for tolls, tips, lodging, food, veterinaries (if an animal was used) and more, water travel proved by far the quickest, cheapest and most efficient option for transporting goods, especially for longer journeys.

Travel through History in Medieval Times How Fast Could People Journey?

Whilst the average Medieval peasant could walk at approx. 3 miles per hour, covering a mile every 20 minutes, professional couriers could trek up to 31, or 38 miles a day by foot! A horse could travel up to 40 to 60 miles a day before requiring a rest, whereas a cart pulled by oxen (depending upon the weight of the load and quality of the cart) could travel up to 10 miles per day, and a horse pulled cart 20.

It wasn’t until the bridging years between the Late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance period when human patronage of carts increased due to the improvement of roads coupled with the introduction of primitive carriage suspension technology and by the 15th Century, ships were built with 3 masts.

Medieval Period Transportation Improvements were Key to Fostering a New Age of More Modern Transportation

Like the first and second industrial revolution, transportation was vital to social improvement, economic prosperity and European development during the Medieval period. The burgeoning transportation innovations of the Middle Ages and the discovery of the Americas helped bring about the booming economy enjoyed by the eras thereafter.

Similarly, echoing the benefits brought about by Medieval advancements, more modern transportation developments harnessed up until around the First World War also sparked a period of vast social, economic and technological improvement across primarily Europe, Britain and America.

The First and Second Industrial (Technological) Revolution Sparked the Evolution of Modern Transportation

In 1898, Louis Renault invented his first car – the Voiturette, along with the direct drive gearbox which greatly improved driving efficiency, allowing for noise reduction, higher torque at lower RPM, along with more advantages as well. Amongst other Renault accomplishments with his brothers through their Renault company, they adopted modernised automobile principles to improve car design and ultimately evolve this mode of road transport.

By 1907 50% of London’s taxis were Renault’s.

Much like the Medieval wooden ships such as the Galley, Trade-Cog and longboats of the Vikings, which were used as both vessels to move goods and people, as well as vessels to transport soldiers and/or wage high-seas warfare, 500 of Renault’s taxis were used during World War I to transport troops to impede the Germans advance upon Paris in 1914.

Car usage increased after WWII and by 1959 around 32% of British families owned a car.

Today people travel by car, plane, train, bus, ship and even space shuttle. The transport modes which will likely be pioneered eons from now, will probably be just as inconceivable to us, 21st century folk, as Louis Renault’s the Voiturette would be to the Medieval peoples.

As the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Alphone Karr once wrote during the Industrial Revolution: “the more things change, the more they stay the same”…

Major Change!

The Abbey Medieval Festival will make a major change regarding bottled water at this years Festival!

 water change

This year, the Abbey Festival will drastically reduce the amount of bottled water being sold INSIDE the Festival gates.  None of the actual market stalls will be selling BOTTLED WATER.

Wait, WHAT? No bottled water you say?

What we mean by this is, in a step towards a more SUSTAINABLE and environmentally friendly solution, we will no longer be allowing any of our Medieval Market Stalls to sell bottled water (Mt Franklin, Pump, etc). To make this transition smoother, for this year, there will be “pedlars” roaming around the Festival selling some bottled water, as well as selling some recycled and reusable bottles for you to buy.

There will also, most definitely, be access to FRESH, COLD WATER, at any of our 3 new water stations that will be set up at 3 different spots around the Festival. The Unity Water Hydration Station will also be onsite for you to fill up at, you just need to bring your own drink bottle, or purchase a reusable drink bottle from either the Museum Stall inside the Festival or inside Downtown Abbey (Sponsors Village before you enter the Festival).  These water bottles will be sold for $5, which will go straight back to the Museum, and the water re fills from the stations are completely FREE all day.

WHY are we doing this you ask?

There are many reasons for this decision being made and trialled this year. These reasons include the obvious effect these plastic bottles has on the environment when not recycled. Did you know that these plastic water bottles take up to 1000 YEARS to break down? And that “recyclable” water bottles are one of the 10 most COMMON pieces of LITTER just left on the ground, in drains, and worse, in the ocean?

If we, as an Australian organisation, can have even a small part in the minimisation of bottled water at big events like the Medieval Festival, this is our way of doing our bit. We look forward to our valued visitors and friends supporting us in this decision, and doing your bit too, even just for the day.

Subscribe to be the first to hear about changes like this!

Buy your tickets to the Festival online now

Meet Our New Event Manager!

With the Abbey Medieval Festival coming up again in July, we’d like to introduce to you our new, wonderful and very excited Event Manager for the Festival,

Colleen Ogilvie!

 col1

A little from Colleen about herself, her life, and what about the Festival and her job that she loves!

“So, a little bit of ‘goss’ about me hey? The new Event Manager for the Abbey Medieval Festival!

Where to start.. I live locally at Bribie Island (and yes, my husband organised a pre-nup agreement – I had to be prepared to live here for the rest of my life or no marriage – so of course I said yes to this terrible demand!!)

I love horses (I have competed and even done a bit of horse archery!) and arty/crafty stuff. I love making things (when I have the time) and doing a bit of sewing – tending to make creative clothing without patterns – just working it out as I go! I love nature and getting out into the great outdoors – very much at home in a simple camping environment! Our family spent 2 months in 2015 travelling to the Kimberleys and doing the Gibb River Road – just loved it!!

I have a work history of being involved in office administration, events coordinating and running an award-winning family tourism business. However, one day in late 2011, I decided I needed to do something JUST for myself…. So, I volunteered at the Abbey Museum of Art & Archaeology as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Abbey Medieval Festival. No small task, but one I thoroughly loved – both the challenge and the ultimate fulfilment of supporting all the wonderful volunteers.

I was doing this role as well as being a wife, mother and running our charter boat tourism business so it was a pretty hectic time for a while until we sold the business in late 2012.

Volunteers have been a passion of mine since putting in place the volunteer team for the first local Urban Country Music Festival for the then Caboolture Shire Council.

So over the past 4+ years I have been involved in the Maxime Heroica (volunteer team) for the Festival. After the business sale, due to my range of skills, I have been able to work at the Museum in various roles such as helping with the Museum events, crowd funding, and group visits.

With Edie moving into other important growth areas of the Museum, it was a major unexpected surprise when this role was offered to me. I certainly did not see it coming!! I was both very humbled as well as excited to be more involved in such an amazing event. I see it as a way to support the Museum and it’s ethos as well as all the people involved in the Festival – the re-enactors, the volunteers, and the co-ordinators just to name a few.

I work with the ideals of co-operation and believing in people – working with our strengths as well as our weaknesses and finding the best way forward for all. Nothing is right or wrong – it is about the correct ‘fit’, leaving our personal ‘agendas’ behind and making the best decision to achieve the best end result.

I am loving the challenge and I have enormous support from the 25 other co-ordinators of the Festival, as well as the Museum staff, volunteers and of course Edie, Michael and the Board of the Museum. This is certainly not a role that can be done on ones own! It takes a team!

And an amazing team at that! I am VERY excited about what this years Festival will bring. Not just in entertainment and experiences, but in growing the sense of comradeship, goodwill and greater cooperation between all those involved.

I am really looking forward to enjoying this years Festival with you all!”

We welcome Colleen with open arms into this new role, and put behind her all of our support, belief and trust that she will, along with Edie and the entire team, bring you a bigger and better Festival than ever before!

To subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know about upcoming events and ticket sales, click here.

To volunteer your time for either the Festival Weekend, the Banquet nights, or any other events, please click here.