In the Queensland Re-Enactment World, June heralds the annual event History Alive. I have been attending for a number of years with my group RIFF (Re-enacting Independently For Fun) and this year was no different. We play part of a massive two-day timeline event. Our group is an open period group, so we can do any periods that we choose.
Our longest running period is Regency, and this year we again dug out our Regency kits to spend the Saturday of the event dressed in our 1800s finery. We pass the day with handcraft activities, card and letter games, picnic luncheon and picnic games. It’s a pretty relaxing way to spend the day and the weather was just beautiful for it. This time, I wore my Yellow Gingham Muslin transitional dress. I’ve only worn this dress once previously so it was lovely to be out and about in it again.
For the Sunday of History Alive, our group jumped forward about 90 years in time to the 1890s where we portrayed Queensland Suffragettes, marching and petitioning for the vote. Our set up is an information stand with a petition. There were a number of petitions put forward to the Queensland Government in the 1890s, so I recreated one for members of the public to sign up and help us win the vote. It was actually wonderful how many young children came up to say that they had been learning about Queensland Suffragettes in school. It’s not something that I ever learnt about in my schooling days so it’s quite marvellous that this piece of history has made it into our schooling system. But this was the last year that we plan to do Suffragettes. Thankfully the costumes were simple this year – I just had to open up my costume tubs and pull out my skirt, blouse and hat. Unfortunately I took along the wrong set of stays so it was quite a challenge to lace my waist down enough to fit the skirt. It’s amazing how a different shaped corset can make the difference in your costume fitting or not.
I am looking forward to History Alive next year, I’m planning to convince the rest of my group to try out a new time period. We have somewhat discussed it, but it is high time. It gets a bit stale doing the same thing year in and year out. I enjoy the research part of re-enactment and tackling a new period gives us the opportunity to try new things and to make our display more interesting to the attending members of public.