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Doc by Day : Knight by Night

February 13 @ 10:00 am 12:30 pm

Join us for a fantastic presentation by Dr Terry Fitzsimmons to uncover the world of historical reenactment. This 2.5 hour event also includes lunch and both a stained glass tour through the Abbey Church and medieval artefact tour in the Abbey Museum.

The event will take place inside the Abbey Hall, behind the Abbey Museum. Gluten free lunch options will be available.

What is Historical Re-enactment?

Historical re-enactment is mostly a hobby in Australia, though for some it can be a business or a career, particularly in Europe and the USA. Fundamentally it is about bringing the past to life through first person reconstructions of past contexts. Everything from Neolithic Hunters to Cold War soldiers is the subject of historical re-enactment. Some re-enactment events such as Waterloo in Belgium and Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, USA attract tens of thousands of re-enactors ready to reproduce the battle at 1:1 scale, while in the UK, Pike and Musket groups gather to refight the famous battles of the English Civil war. The Abbey Festival is the largest re-enactment event in the Southern Hemisphere and has grown up besides the re-enactment movement in Queensland.

This presentation will explore the origins of historical re-enactment and its history in Australia. It will also cover how re-enactment groups are formed and what they get up to when they are not at the Abbey Festival. I will share my experience of re-enacting Imperial Rome, The Knights Templar, the Scots Rebellion of 1745, the Napoleonic Wars and the American Civil War. Using these examples I will discuss researching costumes, accoutrements and context as well as share the passion and drive that lies behind the encampments that are brought to the Abbey Festival.

About the presenter

Dr Fitzsimmons is a Senior Lecturer in Leadership with the University of Queensland Business School. He is the director of the AIBE Centre for Gender Equality in the Workplace and Managing Director of the Australian Gender Equality Council (AGEC), a body whose members comprise of peak national bodies representing 400,000 women across industry sectors in Australia. He has served as a director on boards of Listed Public Companies in Australia and overseas. He has authorised several industry reports into workplace gender inequality and is widely published in the top 10 management journals in the world.

Dr Fitzsimmons is also the managing Director of Living History Australia, a company formed in 1998 to present the history curriculum in schools across Australia. He has been the President of the Australasian Living History Federation (ALHF) as well as serving for over a decade as the President of the Queensland Living History Federation (QLHF), bodies which represent the interests of historical re-enactors. He has led five different re-enactments groups in a re-enactment career spanning 30 years. 

Dr Fitzsimmons has worked with many of Australia’s largest firms on their diversity programs and speaks regularly in Australia and overseas in the area of leadership, gender equality, inclusion and historical re-enactment. 

*Our facilities and staff will be well equipped to create the safest possible environment to minimise any possible risk of Covid-19 transmission. Please see COVIDSAFE information below.


• Please stay at home if you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19; such as a headache, fever, coughing or a sore throat.

• Please stay at home if you have been in a declared hotspot, in close contact with a person who has tested positive to COVID-19 or overseas in the last 14 days.

• Please stay at home if you have been in contact with anyone that has been in a hotspot or overseas in the last 14 days.

• Social distancing must be maintained at all times. Please keep a distance of 1.5m from others.

• Please use the hand sanitiser stations provided or wash your hands with soap and water regularly.

• Please practise good hygiene, this includes coughing and sneezing into your elbow, away from others.

• If at any point during the event you begin to feel unwell, please immediately advise the closest staff member.