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Steamfesta has a world record for the largest gathering of Steampunks. The Brolga Theatre in Maryborough, Queensland was a great choice as the “chuf chuf” from the Mary Ann steam train added to the atmosphere. Nostalgic passengers travelling around Queens park, put their fate in the hands of a driver who looked old enough to have built the steam engine. Fire, extreme pressure and historic metal, what could possibly go wrong?

I first became aware of Steampunk after my brother commented on this post from the UK in 2010. The style is a creative mix of old and new, so anything goes, from the mechanical to the whimsical. More specifically, it is a fantasy alternative reality of how Victorians may have envisaged a future where everyone owns welding goggles instead of smartphones.

Science fiction author K.W. Jeter created the term in 1987. This makes it the same age as my van, which I have renovated, with Steampunk in mind, by adding lots of brass, portholes and a valve amplifier. Although my effort is more Heath Robinson than Terry Gilliam.

As I approached the festival, looking for the carpark, I somehow drove into the centre of the event. Next thing, I was surrounded by costumed characters on stilts and unicycles. A nice lady, who could have stepped out of a Jane Austen novel, approached the van and showed me the way. As I could not turn, the only route was a narrow gap past a row of priceless classic cars and quirky food stalls. I inched through the crowd to eventually discover the other carpark entrance everyone else was using.

There was an excellent Steampunk band from the Northern Rivers, NSW, called LunaSea. I am not sure what I expected Steampunk to sound like, but they nailed it. I guess the same musicians had a hand in the music for the festival promo video here. There was a costume competition, which I was asked if I wanted to enter. This made me smile all day as I was in my normal clothes.

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