It’s not every day you get to dress in regency attire and sip on tea with a group of dainty ladies.
So, I was completely thrilled when I saw a Facebook post call out for volunteers, to feature in a photo shoot for the upcoming Jane Austen Festival in Altona.
I called my mother straight away. She promptly gathered a few outfit options and off I went.
Not only did I learn about the great events and workshops coming up within the festival, (not to mention our photograph making the front page of the local paper!) I had stumbled across a new group of instant friends – other Janeites. They’re part of a group that attends regular costumed events, held across Melbourne.
The Jane Austen Winter Festival (20th – 31st July 2019) celebrates the life and times of one of the world’s most famous authors. While Jane Austen died more than 200 years ago, her work lives on through her six famous novels: Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park and Persuasion.
The team behind this have secured globally-recognised speakers for the festival. Caroline Jane Knight is Jane Austen’s 5th great niece and the last Austen descendant to grow up at Chawton House (in the South of England,) on the ancestral estate where Jane herself lived and wrote. Caroline has written about this experience in her memoir Jane & Me: My Austen Heritage, and founded the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation, to improve literacy outcomes in honour of her ‘great aunt Jane.’
All profits from this festival will benefit Indigenous literacy projects across Australia.
Caroline will speak about her extraordinary childhood and family traditions, and she will show some of the original 1813 Wedgwood dining service that Jane Austen wrote about, when she went to Wedgwood with her rich brother Edward to commission the dinner service:
“the pattern is a small Lozenge in purple, …between lines of narrow gold and it is to have the crest”- Jane Austen wrote to her sister on 16th September 1813
There are many other speakers, theatricals, and workshops that celebrate the life and times, food and fashion of Jane Austen and the characters she created in the Regency period.
Jane Austen Winter Festival
Dates: 20th – 31st July 2019
Where: Louis Joel Arts Centre, Altona
Head here to view the full list of events within the festival, and book your tickets.
Guest article by Amy Gardner from Western Melbourne Tourism (WMT).
WMT is an urban regional tourism board aiming to develop a more competitive tourism sector in Melbourne’s West. It encompasses the municipal boundaries of Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Melton, Moonee Valley, Wyndham and Maribyrnong. You can also find them promoting as Love the West on Facebook, Instagram and on LinkedIn. *Images provided by WMT