Monday, 24 August 2009

New Holland & The New World Living History.

I took this photo this morning from our front door and thought it a nice picture to introduce this following article. This is looking east at sunrise near Armidale in New England.

New Holland. The Early Exploration Of Australia.
· 1688 - William Dampier was the first Englishman to land on the, now called, New Holland north-west coast. Part buccaneer, part scientist the adventurer Dampier found it no more "fruitful" than his predecessors.

· 1699 - Dampier returned officially eleven years later as commander of HMS Roebuck on a voyage of discovery for the British Admiralty. He gave the first written impressions of the flora and fauna, as well as the Aborigines which he described as the "miserablest People in the world". But his descriptions, said to be the inspiration for Gulliver's Travels, inspired European scientists.

Cook and Bougainville came to Australia much later because up until then they were both involved in the French and Indian War in the New World.

We have had some enquiries regarding the lifestyle re-enactment of early Australia. As I have explained many times there is good reason for our group to avoid emulating early settlers in Australia. For one the period is too late for our interests, the only dates for exploration that come close to our period of interest are those above. Later than this we fall into the first penal colony and the only personas available at that time would be military and prisoners.
After this we get into free settlement and the atrocities committed against the Native Peoples, and I do not want to go there for obvious reasons. After this we are in the Bushranger period. Bushrangers were the thieves, robbers and highwaymen of Australia and I see no enjoyment opportunities here.
Australian Living History Historians for the most part must emulate the English. If your ancestors came from anywhere else they would not have been in Australia. The skills available are very few, limited basically to those living skills used in England. Your clothing would be basic poor peoples dress and not in very good condition, or it would be military uniform.
For activities there are not many, you would be tied to the penal settlement or a farm whether male or female. Some would have had skills such as carpentry, but the lifestyle would still be poor.

The New World. Life in the Colonies.
Settlement and exploration started very early in the New World. Many people from different countries settled in the New World, not just the English. There were a wide variety of trades being practiced which gives the Living Historian more personas to choose from. This in turn gives a larger variety of period living skills and primitive skills to learn and practice.
With a larger choice of characters to choose from this also gives us more activities and scenarios to work with. There were woodsmen and woodswomen, there were Native Peoples, white Indians and black Indians (captured & adopted into Indian society). Every man in the colony between 16 and 60 years of age was required to join a trained band (militia). These characters alone give us ample opportunities to trek and camp in the woods and practice a large variety of primitive wilderness survival skills.
Lifestyle conditions in the New World settlements were generally good, at least the people owned their own land and were free to make of their lives and living conditions what they would. There were dangers involved, but this only enhances our ability to create more activities and practice more skills. What it all comes down to is a much larger choice of things to do and skills to learn in New World Living History than there is in Australian Living History.
We do what we do for fun, we learn a lot along the way, far more than you will learn from books or in school but to enjoy ourselves is our main aim.

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