Tag Archives: Steampunk Hands

Road Trip #4: Steampunk Road Trip: Grand Tour ‘Wish List’

Welcome to my final Steampunk Hands Around the World post for this year. I’ve already posted about my writing research road trips, local events such at the Time Travelers’ Picnic and the annual Steampunk Festival. Now I will indulge myself and present to you with my Steampunk Grand Tour Wish List.

If I could afford an annual steampunk pilgrimage, I would pack up my skirts, corsets and boxes of books and head off on my Wish List Road Trip:

Steamfest Tasmania

March 10 – 12th, 2018.
Sheffield, Tasmania.

I’ve only just discovered Tasmania has not one, but two steampunk festivals. Steamfest Tasmania is the first one on the Grand Tour.

SteamFest has the biggest collection of working steam machinery in Australia. They also have  exhibitions of pioneering skills such as blacksmithing, historic machinery and train rides and vintage cars. Last year they opened a new Miniature Railway. Yeah, trains!

Not only do they have stalls (with Tasmanian food, crafts), this year they are planning more exhibits, entertainers and children’s activities.

For more information – check out their webpage.

Hunter Valley SteamFest

April 14-15th , 2018
Maitland, New South Wales

We’re travelling north to Hunter Valley – one of Australia’s popular wine regions.  Last year Steamfest attracted over 50,000 attendees,  with live music, market and food stalls, heritage walks,  vintage machinery displays and demonstrations and historic steam train trips.

And they even have The Great Train Race – where their locomotives race against a single Tiger Moth. (Trains and Planes!)

Find out more at: www.steamfest.com.au/

Ironfest 2018 Wild West

April 21 & 22nd , 2018
Lithgow Showgrounds.

While we are in New South Wales this month, we can continue onto Ironfest. The first Ironfest celebrated the birth of steel in Lithgow and ‘explores the relationship between humans and metal’.   In 2015, Ironfest had close to 15,000 attendees. The event is divided into ‘clans’, including both historical re-enactors and steampunks.
You can find makers, artists, blacksmiths, performers and machine enthusiasts and food! (Food seems to be promoted in most Australian steampunk events.)
Some have described this event as ‘wacky‘. Like the Burning Man event, each year Steamfest has a new theme. This year’s theme is ‘Wild West’.  Previous themes have been;  Lost World (2017), The Holy Grail (2016), Gypsy Dreadnought (2015), Life on Mars (2014) – many easily adaptable to a steampunk aesthetic.
For more information check out their website and FB page.
Steampunk Tasmania Festival

June 30th, 2018
George Town, Tasmania

And it’s back to Tasmania for the start of the winter leg of our steampunk tour.  The cooler weather allows for long coats and lashings of steampunk gadgets (often difficult in the Australian heat).

Steampunk Tasmania Festival celebrates the history of George Town with with all the traditional steampunk fare: music, art displays, teapot racing, costume parade and – my favourite – tea duelling. There’s even a search for the Mysterious Object.

Check out Steampunk Tasmania Festival’s webpage.

Steampunk Festival

September 15-16th, 2018
Port Adelaide, South Australia

Now a quick trip back home to Adelaide, and our own Steampunk Festival at the National Railway Museum. Next year we are expanding to a local gallery as well. There’s interactive events and  new entertainments planned, including workshops, music, art and local authors.

You can read all about the Steampunk Festival and see event video in last week’s blog post: STEAMPUNK ROAD TRIP #3: STEAMPUNK FESTIVAL PORT ADELAIDE

and check out the National Rail Museum’s webpage for more information.

Steampunk Victoriana Fair

October 20-21st, 2018
Goulburn, New South Wales

And to end the Grand Tour, it’s off to the Goulburn Steampunk Victoriana Fair and a ‘chance to travel through time as it never was before’.

The event is hosted by the  Goulburn Historic Waterworks, with art, clothing and music. You can tour the historical buildings and engines.

Last year fellow steampunk author, Felicity Banks, attended (thanks for the photos, Felicity) and I had  my eBook, Doctor Jack, featured in the Australian Steampunk themed Never Never Book Box Lucky Dip at the event.

Click her for more information on the  Goulburn Historic Waterworks . For more on the event, check out Goulburn’s webpage.


But wait, there’s more!

No Australian Grand Tour is complete without an overseas trip! (Do you ever wonder why you see so many Australians everywhere in the world?) Aussies love to travel. So here’s two places I would love to visit on a Steampunk Grand Tour.

Lincoln Asylum Steampunk Fair

August 24-27th, 2018
Lincoln, UK.

I’ve been eyeing off the Lincoln Asylum Steampunk Fair for a while now.  It’s the longest running, steampunk event in the world – and the largest in the Northern Hemisphere – it’s spread out over historic Lincoln. (They’ve even incorporated the castle into the event!)

There’s an immersive market at the Steampunk Campus, talks and presentations at The Venue, Curiositea at The Refectory and The Great Exhibition, a photographic exhibition, Constance Stewart Talks and the Steampunk Symposium at the Constance Stewart Hall. 

Lincoln Castle hosts an outdoor market and a full entertainment programme, including ‘wacky races’ and parades. And there’s even a Guest Tent where you can meet authors, performers and guests of the festival! (Be still my beating heart!)

There’s just so much more I haven’t even mentioned. Check out the full list at their webpage.

NZ – Steampunk Fair – Oramaru

May 31-June 4th, 2018.
Oamaru, New Zealand.

From the Northern hemisphere’s longest running event, we travel back to the Antipodes for the Southern hemisphere’s longest running steampunk event, in Oamaru.

This is another event I have been wanting to attend for some time. If all goes well (and savings allow), I’ll be attending in 2019 and finally get to catch up with many of my New Zealand steampunk friends.

The town of Oamaru welcomes steampunks for a series of steampunk-related events, including, opshop hunting – thrift shops to international travelers (a staple of many steampunks),  workshops, live music, promenades, markets, dinners (and even a breakfast), vaudeville, parties, a fashion show and even a book launch (huzzah!) There’s also teapot racing and parasol dueling. Next year we also see the return of Airship racing!


You can find out more information on Oamaru Steampunk Festival on their webpage.

Photographs Acknowledgements (used with permission):

Ironfest 2018 Wild West
©Joanne van Raaphorst

Steampunk Victoriana Fair
©Felicity Banks

Steampunk Festival, National Rail Museum
©Karen Carlisle

NZ – Steampunk Fair – Oamaru photos
©Neave R Willoughby, ©Oamaru Captured,
©League of Victorian Imagineers.

Steampunk Road Trip #3: Steampunk Festival Port Adelaide

Science,  art, corsets, music and books – find these and more  at the annual Steampunk Festival in South Australia.

I’m fortunate to live in Adelaide, South Australia – home to one of the largest active steampunk communities in Australia.
<Waves at Brisbane>
As enthusiasm for steampunk in Australia is growing over the years, other local groups have emerged. More and more events are joining the ‘must see’ list. (Next week’s Steampunk Road Trip will list the Australian steampunk events.)

This is exciting, as  Australia has a smaller population than other steampunk havens, such as the UK, Europe and the US; I often ogle in awe at the size and breath of their events.  But our local event is going strong and growing every year.

The first South Australian Steampunk Festival was held in Port Adelaide in May, 2013. Later it was moved to mid September . This year’s dates: 15-16 September.

Steampunk Festival is held at the National Railways Museum .  So, if you love trains (as many of us do), here’s your chance to see refurbished historic trains and ride on the Peronne (steam train) or the Red Hens (diesel trains) during special events. The Museum has displays including Women in Rail display. It is housed on the former Port Dock Railway Station and Yards, with a heritage-listed platform and goods shed.

It provides an awesome atmosphere and is the perfect backdrop for photographs.

In the Past

Past events have brought us:
Authors, artists, musicians, costume, chainmail, trains, dancing, an animatronic sideshow and photo opportunities.

Each year I create a short video to record the event. I’ve only missed one steampunk Festival (due to personal crisis in 2014 – so no video for that year). Enjoy!





I am forever grateful for staff of National Railways Museum and  Steampunk Festival for their ongoing support of Adelaide authors of the steampunk genre, as there are few opportunities for local authors and artists to present their works to a large Adelaide audience.  Steampunk Festival has hosted the book launches for my  three Victorian steampunk mystery books in  ‘The Adventures of Viola Stewart’ series.


Looking to the Future

This year will be an even stronger literary component.  I’ve been asked to return again this year – and will be launching first book of new series ‘The Department of Curiosities’.

The following local authors and local comic book authors have been confirmed:

2018’s  event will be bigger and better, with Steampunk Festival introducing new items and ‘events’.
So far the following have been confirmed:


  • Virtual Reality – Experience being in the Captain’s chair on an Airship,  created by Shane Bevin.
  • The Game Carriage: Come and try Steampunk tabletop, boardgames and card games. Hosted by the Pop Club
  • Tea pot racing. Get your team ready!
  • Maths hunt (ages 4-14).  There’s a mini pocket watch as a prize for the first 100 each day.
  • Interactive Science demonstrations and Maker demonstrations.


  • Beard Competition, to be run by The Spot Barber, with prizes for the best coiffed beard.
  • Art Competition and exhibition to be held at The Port Emporium. Free entry both for artists entering and admission. Hosted by Lampin Ink. Open to all ages.
  • Steampunk Costume Competition. 


  • Performances by local primary and high schools.
  • Artist’s Alley, Market Stalls and Food Vendors.
  • Cosplay photographers.
  • Music at the Night Venue Mixed Creative on Nile Street.

There are a few more items yet to be confirmed – so watch this space!

If you are visiting Adelaide or planning on visiting Australia, why not stop by the Steampunk Festival in September, check out the trains, meet the local steampunk, have some fun and say hi. I’d love to meet you.


Photos: 2013-2017
©Karen Carlisle, ©David Ruwoldt, ©Stephen Muller.
Video © 2013-2018 Karen Carlisle

Road Trip #2: Travels Through Time

Steampunk Hands Around the World #2

For the past few years our local steampunk community has been involved in the Time Travellers Picnic. This event is traditionally held on the 8th of December.  We usually schedule the event on the closest weekend (if it’s during the week) – but as we are time travellers, any day can be the 8th.  And you can join in- anywhere in the world.

Come back with me in time… to 8th December,




and finally, 2014:

How to Picnic in steampunk Time Traveler style:

What you will need:

  • A spiffy outfit. All time travelers need protection from the elements. Steampunk is the perfect combination of whimsical and practical.
  • A sense of fun. Take time from the everyday.  Slow down. Enjoy the company. Who knows what, or who, you will meet?
  • Good food (especially chocolate cakes!)
  • And tea.  What better way to enjoy your tea but with…
  • tea cups!
  • A picnic rug to keep your outfit pristine.
  • Protection from the sun and errant time winds. A top hat or parasol is recommended.
  • A map. Ensure your cartographer has marked the map accurately, accounting for local time shifts.
  • and, most importantly, good company.

“If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?” 
– Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time

We’re having a picnic! Come join us.

Videos/Photography ©Karen Carlisle