Australasian Convention 13 – 15 April 2007 in Upper Hutt, NZ

   Posted by: Julia Redlich   in

What a wonderful time this was!  The New Zealand Branch presented an superb programme, and it was great to meet so many old and new  friends. Six NSW members attended, as well as members from the UK, Victoria, Queensland,  Western and South Australia.  A host of NZ members were at Wellington airport to drive us to Upper Hutt and the charming venue at Wallaceville House.


The Venue:   Wallaceville House

After settling in, we assembled for registration and picked up our Convention bags containing a variety of wonderful items (including writing paper and envelopes, water-marked with the Society’s emblem, a hand covered note book and a small pendant) and the orders of specially-designed souvenir clothing.  We then socialised with drinks and a warm welcome from Deirdre Drysdale, the NZ chairperson.  The Convention Registrar, Rob Smith, read messages from our Patron, HRH The Duke of Gloucester, and the Society’s  President Peter Hammond and Chairman Phil Stone.  Those present were particularly delighted that HRH had recognized the Convention.  In passing on his good wishes, HRH commented how delighted King Richard would be to know that, even so far away, his reputation was still a matter for speculation. 

Deirdre then conducted a candle-lighting ceremony inviting Rob, as the Society’s local Vice-President, to light the candle for the Society, after which representatives from the UK and Overseas Branches with all the Australian States followed suit, with Deirdre lighting the NZ branch candle.

After a delicious finger-food supper, those who weren’t too exhausted watched a DVD of Olivier’s Richard III.  Great acting of course, but one sensed the unspoken thoughts of the audience who obviously knew Shakespeare got it all wrong!

Next day we were driven to a local club where we were regaled with talks on all kinds of matters medieval.  All Branches were represented with papers on a great variety of subjects interspersed with many a light-hearted moment.   Kevin, Julia, Carol and Dorothea did their bit for NSW and everyone seemed to enjoy the Medieval Quiz we presented: ”challenging, but not impossible and a lot of fun” we were told.

No-one will be surprised to learn that Kevin won the major quiz of the weekend!  And Dorothea won a delicious basket in one of the many raffles.

The afternoon proceedings were highlighted by a talk on jousting by Callum Forbes,  a member of “The Order of the Boar”, and a highly entertaining version of the old TV game Blankety Blank organised by the Queensland Branch with Blair Martin in full flight as the question master.

The banquet in the evening was a grand affair.  The upstairs reception hall at Wallaceville House was filled with damask-covered tables and decorated with white roses.  The majority of members were in full costume  and we all enjoyed the delightful feast presented to us.  The banquet commenced with Blair Martin delivering Grace, appropriately in Latin.  Toasts were drunk to the Queen, King Richard, to the Society and to our Patron, and to the New Zealand Branch on its 21st anniversary.


We were entertained by an amusing skit performed by members from the NZ Branch, followed by members of the Wellington Medieval Guild with songs and dances – some of which were simple enough for us to take part.

The following morning we met in the banquet hall in its everyday clothing and more interesting talks were presented, including an excellent one (as always)  on medieval Scottish monarchs from Victoria’s Michael Iliffe and a beautifully illustrated one on medieval jewellery by Helen Hardegen from WA.

The convention wound up with a business session in which NZ’s Rob Smith was endorsed as the Australasian Branchs’ Vice President and Liaison Officer.  The Western Australia Branch offered to host the Convention in 2009, so start saving to cross the Nullabor now, whether by air, Indian Pacific, your car  … who was it who suggested a bicycle?

by Julia Redlich (NSW),  and Rob Smith (NZ)