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Steampunk at Altitude will bring lovers of retro-futurism to Nimmitabel

Albert McKnight30 April 2021
Evans family in steampunk outfits

The Evans family, from Canberra, dressed up in their finest outfits for a previous edition of Steampunk at Altitude. Photo: Tess Hudson.

The countdown is on until a steampunk festival is back to turn a historic village on the Monaro plains into a retro-futuristic town filled with family-friendly activities.

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.

For the past few years, Nimmitabel has become a meeting place for lovers of the genre with its Steampunk at Altitude festival, which this year is being held on the weekend of 1-2 May.

The festival will feature attractions including steampunk-themed stalls, live music, poetry and a Victorian dinner.


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There will even be teapot duelling, which involves combatants dunking biscuits into cups of tea and keeping them there as long as possible before taking them out without getting drops onto their clothes or plate.

“There’s an art to teapot duelling – it’s not a simple thing,” laughs Nimmitabel Chamber of Commerce member Tess Hudson. “People take it very seriously.”

She says Nimmitabel is a great location for a steampunk festival because of the 1800s building facades in the main street and through the town.

Man and woman in steampunk outfits

Teapot duelling ‘tiffin master’ Craig with Tess Hudson at a previous edition of the Steampunk at Altitude festival. Photo: Supplied.

“It’s the perfect place to have people wandering around in steampunk gear,” says Tess.

She explains people love steampunk because it is so encompassing.

“Steampunk crosses all the genres and appeals to adults and children alike,” says Tess. “And who doesn’t like dressing up?

“You’ve got the safety of a persona you create. That tends to break down barriers. People try things they are normally too shy to attempt. People get a real buzz out of it.”


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The festival will feature artisans and makers of handmade crafts selling steampunk jewellery and accessories, as well as food stalls.

There will be snail races for children, face painting and a scavenger hunt.

And, of course, people will be dressing up in steampunk gear and wandering around the town.

“It will be like stepping into another world,” says Tess.

Entry to the festival is free, except to the four-course Victoriana banquet on the night of 1 May. To book tickets, click here.

To see the festival’s program, click here, and for updates and more information, visit Steampunk at Altitude’s Facebook page.

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