You may not realise it but if you live in the Southern Highlands of NSW you are standing in the Canton of Okewaite. Our lands cover the known world areas of the Southern Highlands and Goulburn. Okewaite is a Canton in the Barony of Politarchopolis, which in turn is a Barony in the
Kingdom of Lochac.
Sounds confusing? It isn’t really. If you travelled back in time before 1600AD, instead of suburbs, cities, states and countries; you would have fount Households, Hamlets, Cantons, Shires, Baronies and Kingdoms.
The SCA (The Society Of Creative Anachronism), is an organisation which recreates the Medieval era that we would have liked to have had.
We keep alive the many skills, practices and culture of the Middle Ages. We offer an opportunity to step out of our mundane lives, to a time when everything was made by hand.
The SCA encompasses the skills needed to survive and flourish during a time before mechanisation and technology took over. When everything was handmade, and value was in the skill of the artisan.
But its more than reviving the skills of making things. It is also about reliving the values and the society of the time. Chivalry is not just a word in the SCA, it is a code which applies right across the many aspects of what we do. From the way we conduct ourselves on the tournament field through to the way we treat each other day to day.
So, if you would like to be involved in something quite different from your normal daily life, that’s very welcoming of families of all ages, where you can exercise your creative spirit across many skills, and be appreciated for it, or you just like to dress up or enjoy a bit of biff, the SCA could be for you.
We have regular events and gatherings across our lands (the Southern Highlands through to Goulburn) and you are very welcome to join us to see what all the fuss is about.
So, step back in time and join us in the lands of Okewaite.
Okewaite is family friendly. Most of our activities are child and teenager friendly. Young people are an important part of our community, and their contributions are recognised by special awards at the Kingdom and Baronial level.
To make it easier for families to get involved, the Barony and its Cantons have a policy of free entry for minors whenever possible.
For archery, under-12s must be supervised at all times by their caregiver, who may not be actively participating at the same time. Over-12s must have a caregiver present, but do not need individual supervision.
For renaissance fencing, teenagers from age 14 can authorise as rapier combatants, and 10-13 year olds can participate in youth fencing.
For armoured combat, children growing up in the SCA enjoy using ‘boffer’ weapons (made of foam) to imitate armoured combat. From age 14, teenagers can begin training with standard weapons, and they can be authorised to participate in adult combat from age 16.
Armoured Combat comes in a number of forms, one of which is one to one tournament combat. Another is Melee, where teams of heavy fighters compete in a tournament. And then there is all out
war, where the forces of the Kingdom come together to decide the future of the Kingdom on the field of battle.
Of course, nobody gets hurt, well not mortally at least. Whilst extremely physical, and every bit as skilled as in the era, safety is paramount, and we have an extensive set of rules, as well as blunted weapons, to ensure that we recreate the skills and competitiveness of our tournaments, without serious injury. The armour is most certainly real however, it needs to be.
Our combatants wear a mixture of chain-mail, leather, and plate armour (according to strict armour standards) and wield non-metal weapons so that our fights can be completely un-choreographed, full speed, and full contact, but still safe.
Victories are determined on an honour system, and chivalry is highly valued in our group. To ensure everyone’s safety, all fighters must be authorised as a safe combatant before they take the field outside of training, and referees (which we call Marshals) are always on hand to stop a fight in case something goes wrong.
Those unsophisticated brutes clanking around in plate armour aren’t your style – you’d rather be Zorro, or Inigo Montoya! (Or maybe you want to do both!).
With a broader range of techniques than you’ll find in Olympic-style fencing, our ‘Rapier’ experts wield sword, dagger, cane, and buckler in swift and elegant bouts. Rapier fighters use blunted metal swords, and fight ‘to the touch’, like modern fencing.
This is a very exciting fighting skill, and very accessible to most people. It doesn’t require the commitment to heavy armour as is essential in heavy fighting. It does however require an enormous amount of skill. We use authentic rapiers in this discipline, the only concession we make is that we use blunted tips and edges, for obvious reasons. The experience is exactly the same, but without the injury.
We do use various other forms of body protection, such as gauntlets, fencing masks, groin
protection and light weight chest protection for those that feel they need it.
Archery in the SCA comes in several forms. Traditional target archery with various classes to allow
for period accurate bows as well as more modern simple bows. We have classes from beginners
through to kingdom events where our finest archers can come together.
Then there’s combat archery; and yes, we do shoot arrows at fighters on the battlefield. They are
fully armoured and our arrows are blunted, and our bows are limited in power as well, however the
experience of being on the field of combat with shields and swords clashing and arrows flying
everywhere is something to behold, and a truly unique experience for archers in our time.
Pictured here are children learning how to shoot at stationary targets.
We also have equestrian skill at arms happening in Okewaite. This includes mounted horseback archery, mounted skill at arms, as well as performance equestrian such as the Ballet de Cheval. At some events, Okewaite have brought their horses in the past to compete and display their skills.
Arts & Sciences
Skills, or Arts & Sciences as we call them, include everything from costuming skills such as period accurate garment making, forms of embroidery, headwear design and creation, leather working, weaving, spinning.
We have traditional woodworkers, iron smiths, armourers producing armour. Some of our other Arts & Sciences include medieval and Renaissance dancing as well as music, singing and the bardic arts.
Okewaite puts on a mighty feast, so come along to one of our events to experience it first hand. Cooking includes everything food related, traditional medieval recopies and cooking including with fire. We also have some mighty fine brewers.