Your day at History Alive

So you’ve made the decision to bring the family to History Alive: A Journey Through Time on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend and you’re ready for an awesome day. But with 2000 years of history in one place, where do you begin?!

If you’re coming by car, you’ll need to drive to 91 Sandy Camp Road, park the car and take the free shuttle bus to Fort Lytton National Park. Or you can take the train to Wynnum North train station and take the free shuttle bus to Fort Lytton.

Accessible parking is available at Fort Lytton, please have your Australian Disability Parking Permit clearly visible so traffic management can wave you through.

The shuttle buses are provided by the Queensland Omnibus and Coach Society.


So what is happening at History Alive this year?

Below is just a sample of the events during the day. Make sure to check out the program here.

64-pounders10am: The day kicks off with a World War I Memorial Service and the firing of Fort Lytton’s 64-pounder cannons to commemorate the Anzac Centenary, followed by a WWI scenario in the Riverfront Arena where you’ll get to see our WWI groups in action.

11am: Take a wander through the encampments and learn about 14th Century cooking with the Knights Order of Lion Rampant or head over to the Lytton Arena for a 1930-40s Dance workshop and show the kids some new (old) moves! Immediately afterward in the Lytton Arena Dance Kaleidescope will be hosting a Regency dance workshop so there is no excuse for not getting some fun exercise in for the day.

TankNoon: You can watch WWII re-enactors in action with an Eastern Front battle playing out in the Riverfront Arena. For those of us who are hopeless romantics, Company of the Phoenix is hosting a 15th Century betrothal ceremony in their encampment.

1pm: Lunch time! Go visit our food vendors for a yummy feed. There really is something for everyone. Pancakes on the Go, Roam’In Pizza and Hungarian Langos (to name just a few) will all be on hand to satisfy the whole tribe. A new addition this year is The Curious Caravan, a 1957 vintage caravan coffee bar. Do not miss it!

Once everyone is fuelled up for the rest of their adventure, head to the Riverfront Arena to catch a tribute to the Battle of Waterloo by La Belle Alliance, or work off some energy at the Lytton Arena with a Medieval dance workshop.

Knights2pm: Knights! That’s all we need to say to get you back up to the Riverfront Arena to catch the 14th Century Tournament of War. Also, don’t miss the Costume Competition in the Lytton Arena. Open to all children up to the age of 14. Find more details here.

3pm: Learn some techniques in the noble art of fencing from the Prima Spada School of Fence in their encampments. The Saga Vikings close out the action in the Lytton Arena with Viking Shield Walls, while Army Group South have the final battle for the day on the Riverfront Arena with the Pacific Theatre Battle.

4pm: After a full day of fun the 64-pounders fire for the last time and we sadly say goodbye for another year and start getting excited for next year. Of course you can make a whole weekend of it and come on both Saturday and Sunday to make sure your family doesn’t miss a thing!

See you there!

Mother’s Day and re-enactment

Image0030I started re-enacting in 1991, when my girls were 5, 2 and 2; so they’ve been around the re-enactment scene for most of their lives.

Re-enactment has taught them to be self-reliant, to research and critique things (one of my daughters is a teacher), do risk assessments, make a fire, sew, embroider (one of my daughter’s first embroidery was better than my best after 20 years!), work timber, work metal (another of my daughters is a blacksmith), cook, negotiate and talk to people (visitors at events we attend).

Re-enactment has been a vehicle for passing on skills that a parent should pass on to a child and has made it easier, interesting, and more relevant.

CIMG3111After a few years’ sabbatical I started re-enacting again, this time with my father, my partner and two of my daughters (the third was living interstate at the time) and we had a small (but informative!) family-based re-enactment group going.

One of my daughters and I even dabbled in WWI re-enactment when another daughter moved overseas.

After taking another short break from re-enactment, daughter number three moved back to Brisbane – an opportunity to give the group bit of a re-vamp. Instead of a static display in our period tent ( made up of 25,000 words!) we decided to have the group portray an extended family’s living quarters traveling in 1229 on pilgrimage to the Holy Land (facilitated by the Knights Templar’s invitation to join them and be their ‘pilgrims’).

ha13_brettcroese-8490This has meant that, in between teaching and being a mother, my girls have been sewing costumes, embroidering, beading, leather working, (hand) sewing another tent…and all the other necessities to get a believable encampment up and running.  My daughters have become adept researchers and can rattle off a list of museums and resources that make my eyes cross. They have also become used to the annoyance of re-making items when new information – that indicates it’s not as good as it could be (or is just plain wrong!)- comes to light.

Re-enactment has taught them that nothing’s certain, nothing’s set in stone, and to always have a back-up plan!

999039_10151477270786537_1681628122_nNow we’ve got the next generation coming along – my 4-year old grand-daughter is learning to sew, and she and her younger brother understand about knives and sharp things, fires, manners… and the cycle is beginning again.

Mother’s Day is so much more special when you have a connection like this with your children and grandchildren – I look forward to it every year.


Mim has been re-enacting for over 20 years and is currently part of re-enactment group, Oltramar. You can catch Mim and her daughters at History Alive: A Journey Through Time 2015 at the Knights Templar encampment.

5 special ways to commemorate ANZAC Day with kids

Standard BearersThis weekend we will come together as a nation to remember the ex- and current service men and women who have served in our defence forces, and the sacrifices they have made in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations over the last 100 years. With this year marking the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing — our nation’s first big test in an armed conflict — it remains an ever-present and important job to pass on the meaning of ANZAC Day to our kids. However, we all find that it can be hard to start the conversation about war and ANZAC, especially with the very young. We love getting kids involved in history and believe in the importance of sharing our past with our future, so we’ve come up with some ideas on how to commemorate ANZAC Day with them and start the important work of sharing our ANZAC legend.

1.    Bake ANZAC biscuits
Baking in many families is a very social and relaxed activity, with a lot of room for conversation. Why not involve the kids in your life and get them baking some ANZAC biscuits. You can use this time to start the conversation and ask them what they think ANZAC means. Explaining how the ANZAC biscuit — or the ANZAC wafer or tile — was used by soldiers while baking and eating the biscuits can make it easier for kids to relate. The Australian War Memorial has a great explanation of the significance of the ANZAC biscuit, as well as some traditional recipes to try:

2.    Take them to a dawn service or an ANZAC Day March
While it can be a daunting prospect getting the whole tribe up and ready for a dawn service, the experience can be a great opportunity for kids to gain a deeper understanding of ANZAC and why it is so important to Australia as a nation. Being with thousands of other people in solemn remembrance is powerful for all ages. For some however this can be too much with very young kids, so consider going to the Anzac Day March in your local area. It is incredibly moving for adults, and the fanfare is engaging for kids. Check your local RSL website to find out times. Families Magazine wrote a great post on how to make it as easy as possible.

If you are in the Brisbane area, click the link below to find out the when and wheres on ANZAC Day:

3.    Put an ANZAC plant in your garden
There are many plants with special meaning to ANZAC that you can plant with kids in your garden. Rosemary is a popular and easy to care for choice, and it can be a daily reminder and conversation starter. You can explain that Rosemary was growing in abundance on the Gallipoli peninsula and is inextricably linked to our ANZACS. Next year you can wear a sprig on ANZAC Day.
Have a look at the link below for some ideas on some plants significant to ANZAC:

4.    Help your kids learn the facts
Some kids will be keenly curious about ANZAC Day and having a kid-friendly way to learn the facts and stories of ANZAC can really help keep their interest alive. For really young kids there are many picture and story books that introduce ANZAC Day:
Once they get a bit older, help them find accurate and reliable information by vetting websites and books before they read them. Here is a suggestion:

5.    Write a message to our troops
While we remember those who have been lost and given the ultimate service in past conflicts, we also remember the service of our service men and women who are currently overseas. Talk to your kids about the men and women serving overseas at the moment and try to explain why in a gentle way. The Department of Defence runs an amazing service that allows the public to show support to our defence personnel. Kids can put in a great amount of effort into a tangible project such as decorating a card to send overseas and it is a wonderful way to support our troops and thank them for their sacrifice, devotion and loyalty.


How do you commemorate ANZAC Day with kids? Join the discussion on our Facebook page.