Jane Austen Festival Australia | 21-23 April 2017 | Albert Hall, Canberra

Jane Austen Festival Australia is an annual celebration in Canberra where Austen and Napoleonic fans from all over Australia come and indulge themselves in everything Regency – including dancing, music, food, games, archery, fencing, theatre, promenades, grand balls, talks, workshops, costumes and books. Since its inception in 2008 this little festival has blossomed into one of the most delightful weekend anyone could experience each April in an old and beautiful part of Canberra, the Federal capital of Australia.

Jane Austen Festival Australia was the idea of Aylwen Gardiner-Garden and first took place in 2008. Aylwen’s aim was to hold an annual celebration where Austen and Napoleonic fans from all over Australia could come and indulge themselves in everything Regency – including dancing, music, food, games, costumes and books. This festival is now a regular part of the ACT Heritage Festival and Australian Heritage Week.

Each year the Festival grows with more people dressing in Regency costume celebrating the life and works of Jane Austen. Events are organised by the Festival team under the guidance of the festival director Aylwen Gardiner-Garden – small soirees, concerts, a costumed promenade, theatre, period games, fashion, food, lectures and of course LOTS of dancing feature over three days and four nights.

Theme for 2017: 

Jane Austen’s World and Beyond With 2017 being 200 years since Jane Austen’s death, our festival will both lead into Jane’s birth and look at what happened after her death, bringing in new fashions and links to another famous author, Sir Walter Scott.

Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones. – It is not fair. – He has Fame & Profit enough as a Poet, and should not be taking the bread out of other people’s mouths. – I do not like him, & do not mean to like Waverley if I can help it – but fear I must…
Jane Austen, 28 September 1814

I have amused myself occasionally very pleasantly during the last few days, by reading over Lady Morgan’s novel of _O’Donnel_, which has some striking and beautiful passages of situation and description, and in the comic part is very rich and entertaining. I do not remember being so much pleased with it at first. There is a want of story, always fatal to a book the first reading–and it is well if it gets a chance of a second. Alas! poor novel! Also read again, and for the third time at least, Miss Austen’s very finely written novel of _Pride and Prejudice_. That young lady had a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life, which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The Big Bow-wow strain I can do myself like any now going; but the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting, from the truth of the description and the sentiment, is denied to me. What a pity such a gifted creature died so early!
Sir Walter Scott,  14 March 1826

September 18.–Wrote five pages of the _Tales_. Walked from Huntly Burn, having gone in the carriage. Smoked my cigar with Lockhart after dinner, and then whiled away the evening over one of Miss Austen’s novels. There is a truth of painting in her writings which always delights me. They do not, it is true, get above the middle classes of society, but there she is inimitable.
Sir Walter Scott, 18 September 1827



Most attend the festival in regency attire, this is optional though, and if your wardrobe is limited we do ask that you make an attempt at regency costume for the evening events and the promenade, and that women wear simple empire-line dresses and men wear trousers, long sleeved shirts & waistcoats for daytime sessions. The festival will have a small selection of costumes available for hire before the event.




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