A LIVING HISTORY BLOG.

18TH CENTURY LIVING HISTORY IN AUSTRALIA.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Statement of group's aims.

NECLHG Statement of Aims.
We, the New England Colonial Living History Group are dedicated to the study of the New World frontier lifestyle by means of literary research and experimental archaeology. We are living historians, historical trekkers, and experimental archaeologists, studying and emulating to the best of our ability the period of 1700-1760. This also involves some research into the late 17th century.
As is the purpose of an archaeologist, to establish facts about people in a particular time period, we establish facts and an understanding of the people and their lifestyle in the early to mid 18th century. This is accomplished through experimentation in various historical situations, often in a wilderness setting, by using clothing, arms and equipment that was used between 1680 and1760 on the New World frontier to accomplish historical tasks and everyday living activities that involve period living skills and primitive wilderness survival skills.

We are not historical re-enactors involved in public displays; we practice our skills and experimental archaeology in the privacy of Wychwood Forest. We do however encourage the public to approach us for historical information, and we welcome enquiries for membership. The following is a list of interests that are in some way linked to our activities:
Daniel Boone lifestyle/ mountain men /woodsmen/ woodswomen/ woodsrunner/ Indians/ woodland Indians/ woods-women/ 18th century living history/ 18th century hunting/ camping skills/ historical trekking/ wilderness survival/ longhunters/ Scouts/ 18th century militia/ survival skills/ primitive skills/ archery/ muzzle-loading/ period fishing/ primitive shelter construction/ primitive fire lighting/ flint and steel fire lighting/ fire-bow fire lighting/ reading glass fire lighting/ spinning and loom weaving/ finger weaving/ moccasin construction/ wild plant identification/ tinder plants/ tinder preparation/ tomahawk throwing/ muzzleloader/flintlock/Davy Crocket/ Mrs Pentry/ Ann Bailey/ Huntress of the Lake/ traps and trapping/ 18th century militia/ 18th century research/ butcher knives/ hunting knife/ clasp knife/ Siamese knife/ fascine knife/ musket/ fusil/ scouting/ moccasins/ leggings/ sashes/ rabbit stick/ log cabin/ wigwam/ 18th century trail foods/ trekking/ gunpowder/ Black Powder/ cannon/ flintlock pistol/ water canteen/ water bottle/ Costrel/ tinned iron canteen/ copper canteen/ copper kettle/ 18th century cooking kettle/ brass kettle/ Knapsack/ Snapsack/ Haversack/ Market Wallet/ Shot Pouch/ powder horn/ Simon Kenton/ Tah’ca Inyanka/ Running Deer/ Le Loup/ Gris Loup/ on the trail/ Pine Tree Shilling/ Axe/ Tomahawk/ Hatchet/ woodsrunning/ Fort Henry/ New England Colonial Living History Group/ Wychwood Forest/ Forester/ 18th century military/ Rangers/ Australian Living History Federation/ Woods Lore/ Long Term Wilderness Survival/ !8th century clothing/ 18th century equipment/ 17th century equipment/ 18th century accoutrements/ 18th century woman/ Backwoodsman/ Colonial Frontier/ Frontiersman/ 18th century living skills/ Early 18th century/ Late 17th century/ !8th century historical winter trekking/ Winter camping/ Bush walking/ Wild edible plant identification/ Log cabin building/ The three sisters/ Last of the Mohicans/ Moll Flanders/ Robinson Crusoe/ Deerslayer/ Backwoodsman skills/ Colonial frontier skills/ The early fur trade/ Wychwood Forest live museum/ 18th century living history forum/ Early 18th century historical trekking forum/ historicaltrekker@gmail.com Keith H. Burgess Esq/ French and Indian War/ King Georges War/ Woodland Indian Lifestyle/

Friday, 14 December 2007

Who we are and what we do.

Who we are and what we do.
We, the New England Colonial Living History Group are dedicated to the study of the New World frontier lifestyle by means of literary research and experimental archaeology. We are living historians and historical trekkers, which means we are also experimental archaeologists studying and emulating to the best of our ability the period of 1700-1760. This also involves some research into the late 17th century.
As is the purpose of an archaeologist, to establish facts about people in a particular time period, we establish facts and an understanding of the people and their lifestyle in the early to mid 18th century. This is accomplished through experimentation in various historical situations, often in a wilderness setting, by using clothing, arms and equipment that was in use between 1680 and 1760 on the New World frontier to accomplish historical tasks and everyday living activities that involve period living skills and primitive wilderness survival skills.

We are not historical re-enactors involved in public displays, we practice our skills and experimental archaeology in the privacy of Wychwood Forest. We do however encourage the public to approach us for historical information, and we welcome enquiries for membership. The following is a list of interests that are in some way linked to our activities:

Daniel Boone lifestyle/ mountain men /woodsmen/ woodswomen/ woodsrunner/ Indians/ woodland Indians/ woods-women/ 18th century living history/ 18th century hunting/ camping skills/ historical trekking/ wilderness survival/ longhunters/ Scouts/ 18th century militia/ survival skills/ primitive skills/ archery/ muzzle-loading/ period fishing/ primitive shelter construction/ primitive fire lighting/ flint and steel fire lighting/ fire-bow fire lighting/ reading glass fire lighting/ spinning and loom weaving/ finger weaving/ moccasin construction/ wild plant identification/ tinder plants/ tinder preparation/ tomahawk throwing/ muzzleloader/flintlock

Thursday, 13 December 2007

You are very welcome Running Deer/Tah'ca Inyanka.The method you describe was/is I believe a modern invention, that works best with charred cloth. Remember, there was no "char" or "charcloth". I can find no evidence that common people used charred cloth as tinder much before the 19th century. Tinder was soaked in potasium nitrate (saltpeter). and sold in the city streets by hawkers and it was available in drug stores. In wilderness situations of course this method of preparing tinder was not available, unless one wished to use urine. I have tried both without any satisfying results, but charring works very well. Often it seems musket flints were used. In trade lists of striker supply, no mention of flint shards is shown, only musket flints. Of course using agate or quartz or similar was probably common, one used what was at hand. It is easier to use the method you mention if you have a larger enough piece of stone. Really when you think of there being no use of charred cloth, except in an emergency where tinder was not available, it is not an easy method to use with firm tinder. Also the tinderbox made things easier, and conserved tinder. There was at that time really no need to invent a different method of striking sparks onto tinder.

Supplement to Primitive Fire Lighting-Flint and Steel. Read Mace. Also known in Australia as Broad-leaved Cumbungi, and Bulrush.· Piptoporus Cretaceus. Other similar bracket fungi: Laetiporus portentosus; Fomes fomentarius; Piptoporus betulinus. The Laetiporus looks very similar to the Piptoporus, and at one time was called by that name.· More information at: www.anbg.gov.au/fungi/aboriginal.html I hope you and the family have a good xmas. My very best wishes and most sincere regards, Keith/Le Loup.

More on period kettles !

10-3-08 After further research I have not been able to document any small straight sided copper or brass kettles as sold by many traders. The only one that appears to be authentic for the period 1700-1760, is the sloping sided brass French Trade kettle style as sold by Crazy Crow Trading Co. I have recently purchased one of these kettles, and is appears to be good quality at a reasonable price.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

18th century kettle

The 18th century kettle has sloping sides and is not the "corn boiler" type commonly sold. A close copy of an 18th century kettle can be purchased from Crazy Crow Trading Post, PO Box 847, POTTSBORO, TX 75076 USA. English Trade Kettle. Code: 5564-006-000 Cost: $45 us.
One tinsmith suggests that the straight sided kettles were/are late 18th century-19th century.
I am still trying to find accurate information on kettles and canteens. The kettle from Crazy Crow Traders is as far as I can tell from my research so far, a correct type for early to mid 18th century.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

EARLY 18th CENTURY HISTORICAL TREKKING-LIVING HISTORY-HISTORICAL REENACTMENT-PRIMITIVE WILDERNESS SURVIVAL SKILLS-PERIOD LIVING SKILLS-LATE 17th CENTURY TO EARLY 18th CENTURY CLOTHING, EQUIPMENT AND ACCOUTREMENTS-WOODSRUNNERS-WOODSMEN-WOODSWOMEN-WOODLAND INDIANS. THE NEW ENGLAND COLONIAL LIVING HISTORY GROUP IS NOW ACCEPTING RECRUITS FOR THE MILITIA AND SCOUTS. jOIN OUR GROUP OR OUR FORUM.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

New England Colonial Living History Group

This is the official site and forum for the New England Colonial Living History Group. Interests for forum include:17th-18th century living history and historical trekking, period living skills, primitive wilderness survival skills, period equipment, arms and clothing of the 17th to early 18th century woodsman and woods-women. Check this site for the information you seek. If it is not available, then please post your enquirie here on this blog.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Two red sashes


Picture of some very nice red sashes . One shows a beaded pattern on the body of the sash and both feature beaded fringes. The beads are no 7 French white glass beads.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Sashes for 17th-18th century colonial New World living history, historical trekking and re-enactors.

Early 18th century style woven & beaded sashes. We have a number of loom woven wool sashes of the correct style for late 17th century to mid 18th century. Some are plain & others are beaded with French No. 7 white glass beads.
The new book Primitive Fire Lighting-Flint and Steel is still available. This book answers many questions about 17th & 18th century (and earlier) flint & steel methods, plant tinders, tinder preparation in camp, wet weather fire lighting, emergency methods, & much much more.
To order or enquire about book or sashes, please contact the author at: historicaltrekker@gmail.com

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Reply to anonymouse

Dear A. Nonny-Mouse,
There was a certain amount of research went into this book, but many of the plant tinders are of my own finding. I cannot say whether or not colonials or Aboriginals used any of the tinders I found, but I would imagine that if a person had a need or an enquiring mind, and then it is possible that they too may have found and used these tinders. The Australian Aboriginals certainly used the yacca plant for carrying fire, and as there are yacca plants in all states of Australia there was probably no need to go looking for any other plants. The colonials in Australia must have used something, but I have found no info to suggest that they used any of the plant tinders that I have discovered. The fungus and punk wood used in Britain, Europe, and the New World is a matter of historical fact. Fungus tinders in Europe and Britain were sold uncharred, and were soaked in potassium nitrate, but this method was likely only used in populated areas and I would imagine used more in the city than in villages. This is not mentioned in my book because I did not see the need. Nor is the method of soaking tinder material in urine, because I have had no positive results by this method. All the tinders work very well once charred, and this is the easiest and most practical method to use. If for some reason one were to run out of charred tinder (and you should always keep some spare in your pack, and remember to make more when your tinderbox supply is getting low), there are emergency historical methods mentioned in my book.

Welcome

Welcome to my Blog. Finally I made it onto the Google search thingy ! If anyone needs information on living history, historical trekking or any related information, please post your question here on this blog and I will get back to you ASAP. Or for a quicker reply you can email me your question at: historicaltrekker@gmail.com

Saturday, 10 November 2007

The Courier.
The oµcial newƒletter of the New England Colonial Living Hi¥ory Group.

9th of November 1707
At our last meeting the fire lighting workshop had to be cancelled due to lack of attendance. Our next meeting will be on the 2nd of December, and this will be our xmas gathering. We may have a Barbeque outside, depends on the weather.

Cobb & Co are out of the gun trade, but a new one is available:
www.usedguns.com.au You might want to check this one out Tony. Last time I looked they had a Bluderbust !!! Oh drool.


Can new members and prospective new members please return membership forms and membership application forms ASAP. New members need to pay the $16 insurance fee to the Australasian Living History Federation. You can either do it through me, or you can send the money yourself, but remember to let them know which group you belong to if you send payment yourself.
Make sure the forms include your postal address, it helps me to be able to contact you by mail, such as sending you this newsletter rather than getting someone else to pass it on!

A reminder that this is a good time to be working on your period clothing and equipment needs. It does not have to be costly, if you use second hand materials. Check out the op-shops, Vinies and Salvoes, for linen & cotton tablecloths or good clean bedding. Leather garments & shoulder bags can supply leather needs. Look out for those cheap Chinese school-type knapsacks. They can be converted to period. Second hand butcher knives can be found at the market & in second hand dealers.
Mark, you may want to check out The Woodland Confederacy, woodland Indians on the net. Become a member & then you can post questions on their site & have some contact with other New World native decendance.
1WANTED. A ƒecond hand Brown Beƒs for one of our members. Early model preferred, but anything conƒidered.

Earlier Items in A Later period.

18th century clothing of the common man on the New World Frontier.
Clothing styles on the frontier was slow to changes, and people had their own preferences and tended to make things the same way as they always had, this applied to women’s clothing as well as men’s. When recreating the early to mid 18th century, it is good to remember that not all of your clothing and equipment will be new in that era, some items and styles will date back into the 17th century. As an example, let us say that you are 40 years of age and the year is 1710. That means that you were born in 1670. In 1690 you were 20 years of age. One could assume that you would still have some items of equipment or accoutrements from that period. If your Parents had given you something of theirs, then it would date back even further, and further again if your Grandfather had given you something, his folding knife or tinderbox for instance.
Another thing to remember is that early items of clothing and equipment can be used in a later period, but later items cannot be used in an earlier period. For instance if your main period of interest is say 1700-1760, like mine, then the same period clothing and equipment could still be used in say the American Revolution period of the 1770s.
The man’s shirt: The shirt needs to be long, knee length at least. Don’t forget that woods women can wear the same clothing as the men.
The weskit: The weskit too should be long, reaching almost, if not entirely to the knees.
Breeches: The breeches should be French fly and not falls.
The frock: The frock it seems was commonly the shirt-frock. This style is the pull-over type, closed front, open neck with no buttons except one button on each sleeve cuff.
If you need more information, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Friday, 9 November 2007

New shirt and sash.


Mark, a member of the New England Colonial Living History Group, is now the proud owner of a new shirt and sash. The shirt is linen and he did all the hand stiching himself. The sash is one that Carolyn made and is a beautiful red,purple colour with beading.

Mark is a knife maker and a bowyer. A man of many skills.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Moccasins and shoes


















This is a picture of Woodland Indian center seam moccasins and a pair of 18th century shoes. Some military units wore moccasins and saved their shoes for duty in the fort. Moccasins are easy and inexpensive to make.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Beginning Living History

I have just added a new link to my list. This is a good resourse for anyone starting out with historical reenacting. This site has simple and useful information to help with the difficult task of getting started. This is difficult because you need to make decisions at a time when you have minimal information. This site has lists and information that will make the processes simple and enjoyable.; and enjoyment is what this hobby is all about.

Friday, 25 May 2007

New Link

I have just added a new link to the blogroll. This should be of interest to those reinactors interested in things martime. The site is "Bonaventure" Reinacting Maritime History from 1560 to 1660. The site also hosts the UK re-enactment webring, the 17th century site webring and the history ring. This would be a good place to visit if you are trying to get an idea of what groups and resources are out there. Good hunting.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

The Yacca Plant


The yacca plant is also known as the grass tree, kangaroo tail and goonagurra. A similar plant exists in America, which is called the yucca.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

The Warrior's Path.


COPYRIGHT@ Keith H Burgess


The sun has not yet risen as I make my way along what is known as “The Warrior’s Path". Up above me is. Dragon' s Tor & I am traveling west. To my right & north the ground drops steeply through the woods to another trail far below. I stop every once in a while to look & listen. All is quiet, but not too quiet, there are plenty of birds in this forest. I look for sign along the trail & for anything else of interest or use. It is lighter now & I can see heavy dark clouds moving in from the west. With the promise of rain to come I decide to pick up some kindling & store it in my haversack; dry light sticks & a handful of dried grass. I look about me for any plant materials I can use for tinder, but can’t see any. I knew I had enough tinder in my tinderbox to light a good many fires but I always like to carry some spare tinder in my knapsack.

After negotiating a fallen tree that blocked the trail I finally came to Pilot Rock. The Warrior's Path runs below & beside this huge boulder & then turns sharply north & down the steep valley side. Here I need to move carefully so as not to loose my footing. I grasp at trees to help keep my balance as my moccasins: occasionally slip on patches of loose stones.

When I reach the bottom I only have a few paces to go; crossing a header-stream I pick up the trail again which winds upward towards a gap in the next ridge that will take me into Fox Valley. Here the forest floor abounds with ferns & once again I have to work my way around & over a series of fallen trees. Here too grows the yacca plant so I keep my eyes open for a dried flower stem that I can use to make tinder.

As I pass through the gap into the next valley the ferns are even more plentiful. Again I stop & listen & look to make sure I am alone & to see if there is any game about. Part way up a stringybark tree I spot the bracket-fungus, Piptoporus Cretaceus. This plant makes excellent tinder. The fungus is too high & out of my reach, but a well-aimed rabbit-stick brings the prize down on the second throw. This I place in my haversack along with the dry kindling so I can char it in tonight 's cook fire.

A sudden flurry of wings as two wood duck take flight from a nearby pond startles me into stillness as I watch the two fowl negotiate the forest trees at high speed looking for a way out through the upper foliage. My campsite is only a stones throw from the pond & although I have camped here many times in the past, I never fail to look up & about my campsite for "widow makers”. These are broken branches, which hang or lay in wait to be bought to the ground by a wind or sometimes by only a slight breeze. It is always wise to look up as well as down, something it is said white men rarely do.

With some downed timber & some leather thongs from my pack, I soon construct my shelter with a crossbeam between two trees & my small piece of canvas pegged to the ground. The pegs cut sharpened & driven in using my tomahawk. My bed is a mattress of sticks to get me off the ground. This is important in cold or wet weather. After collecting a good supply of firewood & storing it within reach beside my shelter, I collect a. store of dry kindling & place it behind my bed of sticks. This is in case my fire should burn low, in the night or even go out.

Now, my blanket is placed on my bed of sticks & I store my knapsack, haversack, shot pouch, powder horn & flintlock fusil under cover in the back of' my shelter. The small fire-hole is dug out & as I start to lay rocks to help contain my fire & reflect warmth into my shelter, the first drops of rain start to fall. I quickly retrieve the dry kindling from my haversack & get out my tinderbox with flint & steel. As the rain gets heavier I move into my shelter to make fire there & then transfer it to my fireplace. Soon the kindling is alight & I can add larger pieces of wood to keep my fire going in the rain. Only now do I realize that I have failed to make a tripod from which to hang my kettle.

The rain looks as though it is here to stay, but I manage to fashion a tripod from sticks from my firewood supply. Soon my small tin kettle of water is boiling & I drop in a. good-sized piece of chocolate & wait for it to melt. From my knapsack I take out a. chunk of homemade bread & some boiled beef. Food somehow always tastes better in camp. My chocolate drink is ready so I remove it from the fire & set it aside to cool. This kettle is also my cup. Later when I have finished my drink I will find a suitable place to put my kettle where it will catch rainwater from my shelter. Then? Then I will rest on my bed & watch the beautiful rain falling from a leaden sky.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

A new book on the pirate Captain Qulech

I recently come across a link to a book that may be of interest to those of you interested in pirates and privateers. This bookis the history of Captain Quelch. It is in the early 18th century. If you check out the website you can read the books introduction . http://www.captain-quelch.com/

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Second Hand Material.

Clothing and equipment is even more inexpensive if made from second hand materials. My first real linen shirt was made from a tablecloth. Wool blankets, tablecloths, heavy bed sheets and leather clothing are all good sources of materials. Remember to sew with linen or cotton thread not synthetic.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

The Clothing of the English and European Forester, Woodsrunner or Woodsman in the New World. 1700-1760.


The clothing of the eastern forester whether man or woman is probably the easiest to come by and the least expensive. They are practical, hard wearing, cool in summer, warm in winter and best suited for historical trekking. The following is a list of the basic items; Indian influenced woodsmen, Indians, white and black Indians, and courier de bois wore the same or similar dress excepting possibly the wide brimmed hat.
Low crowned wide brimmed wool felt hat. Black was a popular colour, but dark green or brown is also acceptable.
Linen, cotton or wool shirt. I suggest you carry a wool shirt in your bedroll for winter night use.
Linen, cotton or wool waistcoat. This should reach to just above your knees.
Breeches or breechclout. Linen, cotton or leather. The breechclout may be lined.
Leggings. Leather and reaching from just above the knees to the foot and long enough to fit over or inside the moccasin flaps.
Moccasins. Leather, woodland Indian style. The center seam moccasin is easy to make. I extend the flaps to wrap around and reach up above my ankles giving me more protection.
Stockings or socks. Linen, cotton or wool. I prefer stockings that reach up over the lower leg of my breeches making it easier to put on my leggings.
Smock or hunting shirt. This garment is of the pull over style and can be made on the basic shirt pattern. Open neck, linen or tow, this fits over all other clothing unless you also wear a coat, match coat, blanket or half blanket and it should at least reach your knees.
Half blanket. The half blanket is just that, half a blanket. This can be worn folded and pinned over the shoulder in winter. I use a brass trade ring clasp or brooch to secure my half blanket in the front but you can also fashion a wooden pin.
Neckerchief. Linen or cotton. To be on the safe side I would stick to dark solid colours.
Mittens. I have a knitted wool pair and a pair I made out of blanket material, which have a woven cord securing one to the other long enough to reach from my hands up and around my neck.

Bibliography.
The New World Woodsman 1700-1760. His clothing, arms and equipment by Keith H Burgess (unpublished manuscript) and other sources listed therein.
Copywrite KH Burgess

Friday, 27 April 2007

Shane


Today picture is of my good friend Shane. He was a good man with a great sense of humour. Unfortunately Shane died several years ago and is still greatly missed. This picture shows Shane at Rendezvous with his Brow Bess. This picture also shows some of crafts you practice when you are involved in historical re-enacting. Shane has on a hand made period style shirt and breeches. He made is own woodland Indian centre seam moccasins. Shane bag has a hand woven strap and he made the bag, belt pouches and powder horns.

In the background is my wife and she is wearing woodland Indian costume that she made herself and standing in front of the hand sticked linen tent that I sewed for the rendezvous.
One of the great things about this activity is that there is such an opportunity to learn new crafts and skills and for all age groups to be involved.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Sashes.


Here are some examples of early to mid

18th century sashes that my wife and I have made. They are made to go once around the waist and tie by the fringes. This is the correct way to wear them for this period. The beaded fringes are a lot of work but well worth the effort. There are also tin cones on the fringe ends.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Trekking


I do not get as much time

to go trekking as I would like. The autumn is starting here and as the temperature drops I like to get out more. Unlike some who enjoy trekking in the warm weather I like the cooler times and love a snowy winter day. In this shot I am resting after a walk in Butterfly Valley (so called because at certain times of year the valley is filled with butterflys). You can see my 60 calibre fusil propped againcst the tree. I find my homemade mocassins the most comfortable footwear I have. So much so that I wear them around all the time if the situation allows. I like to feel the ground when I walk.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Beaded bag & question on belt pouches


My wife and I work together on some projects. In this case she did the sewing and wove the strap and I did the beading and finishing. She provided the hair for the "scalp locks" and I did the cone work. The result of this team effort is a very neat smallish bag in the Indian style . The fabric is dark green pure wool and the beads are number 7 white French glass beads.

One thing I have been trying to find out for some time is about the use of belt pouches in the 1680 to 1750 period. I have documented accounts of the use of cartridge cases but not of any other type of belt pouches. I have seen photographs of reenactors wearing them but have never seem any primary source material that supprts this practice. If anyone has any information on the use and type of belt pouches I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Recruiting for the Colonies,1609.

This is the title page that describes the attractions of settlement in the New World. Most accounts of the "excellent Fruites" of life in Virginia were, like this one, written by people who had never seen America but sared the excitment that the colonies inspired among the early 17th century English. (New York Public Library).

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Hi my name is Keith & I am 59 years of age. This is my first attempt at witting a BLOG! As. you can tell from this blog's name I am a Living Historian, 1 am also an experimental archaeologist & I participate in 18th century historical trekking. I am a founder member: of “THE NEW ENGL.AND COLONIAL LIVING HISTORY GROUP” here in Armidale NSW, & we are looking for more people to join our group. Our activities include the leaning & practice of 18th century living skills & wilderness survival skills .For those who would like to learn the skills but are not able to participate in historical trekking & camps, we have a. clubhouse where you can learn most skills from spinning & weaving, to flint & steel fire lighting, but to learn & practice the more advanced primitive skills you really need to get out into the woods. Even so you can learn & practice such skills as bow-drill fire lighting & tomahawk throwing etc nearby our clubhouse
The biggest problem we having finding new membership is explaining what our group is & what it is we do. Terms like colonial skills or primitive skills mean different things to different people. I could say that we emulate or re-enact a New World colonial lifestyle or even a “Daniel Boone Life style " but even these terms do not guarantee, that someone out there who might really enjoy doing this stuff will understand what I am talking about. So if there is anyone out there who thinks it might be fun to join our group but wants more information, just drop me a line.
Apart from our normal activities we have an old fort that is badly in need of repair &I have a cabin to build out in the forest somewhere.
If anyone is into learning long-term wilderness survival skills, practicing 18th century historical trekking is the way to go. With the skills, clothing & equipment we have & use you can survive in the wilderness indefinitely. I have a saying, that when packing for the trail, it must be a compromise between minimum weight & maximum self-reliance. We don't carry a lot of equipment; the more skills one learns the less equipment one needs. Through experimental archaeology, wearing the period clothing & using the period style equipment to perform primitive skills, we gain a better understanding of what it was like to live &: survive on the new World frontier during the early to mid 18th century.
We would also like to form a 'Train Band' or militia. Anyone who thinks they could handle the job of Captain should contact me. No experience is necessary, just a willingness to learn. Same goes for other militia members.
Our main period of interest is 1720-1760, but, we can go earlier & later to suit individuals. If there are any other groups out there that share our period of interest, (or individuals) it would be good to hear from you. Perhaps we could share research information & activities ideas.
Does anyone know of any good web sites with information on 17th - 18th century common items such as tin containers & belt buckles?

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Olde Times Adventures

OLDE TIME ADVENTURES.

In a private forest 35 km from Armidale the New England Colonial Living History Group reenacts a colonial lifestyle in the New World. This group of dedicated history buffs and outdoors people wear the clothes and use equipment from roughly 1720 to1760. The standards of historical authenticity are high within this group but they are not an elitist or closed group and are constantly looking for new members. Historical trekking, mid 18th century period living skills and wilderness survival skills are a major part of this group’s activities.

The historical treks are fun, challenging and test the skills of participants, their clothing and the equipment they carry with them. Trekkers learn all the skills and tricks of keeping warm in winter and surviving in the wilderness. Fires are usually lit using flint and steel and a tinderbox, but participants can also learn how to make fire with a fire bow. Period style foods are cooked over an open fire using only a period style cook pot and other items fashioned in camp. Some period foods that don’t require cooking are always carried incase it is not safe to light a fire or if the trek scenario dictates that no fires are allowed, for example, traveling in hostile country usually dictates a “cold camp”.

There were “woodswomen” as well as “woodsmen” in the 18th century and there are no age restrictions in this group. For those that don’t wish to trek on foot there are drive-in camps and ordinary regular meetings with plenty of opportunities to learn a wide variety of period skills, or just relax, eat and drink and watch others practicing skills.

Regular meetings are a time to relax and share research information or show a piece of period equipment recently acquired. Children can learn wilderness survival through “survival games” such as building a simple survival shelter. Children gain a real insight into life in another time and history comes alive for them.

Regular meetings and camps are also a good time for some friendly competition tomahawk throwing or practicing other skills such as finger weaving, making cordage or flint and steel fire lighting.

Reenacting a New World colonial lifestyle allows group members a large range of personas, activities, nationalities, skills, crafts, equipment, clothing styles and trekking scenarios to choose from. There is in fact such a wide range of skills and activities that there is something of interest for everyone and all ages. This makes mid 18th century living history an ideal activity for families where members can learn together and from each other.

Today’s world is sadly lacking in the adventure and opportunities for adults and youths that was available over 250 years ago. Modern adventures often carry a high price tag that few can afford, especially low-income families. Living History is only as expensive as the individual wants it to be. Most participants make a lot of their own clothing and equipment and trade for items they cannot make or don’t wish to make themselves. In 18th century living history you can be anyone you want to be and follow a trade or occupation that you won’t find at any modern “job center”.
So, whose for shipping off to the New World to a life of adventure and opportunity? Anyone interested in joining the New England Colonial Living History Group or wanting more information can contact the group’s primitive skills instructor and spokesperson: Keith at historicaltrekker@gmail.com