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Adelaide Steampunk Aetherfest

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

Welcome one and all to the 2022 Adelaide Steampunk Aetherfest. Held at the historic Harts Mill in Port Adelaide. This is the first time that this event has been held at this location having previously operated from the Adelaide Railway Museum which (due to size constraints) was no longer able to accommodate the plethora of stall holders and patrons for this fantastic event.

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that incorporates technology and aesthetics inspired 19 century industrial steam powered machinery. Often set in an alternate history of the Victorian era or the American Wild West where steam power remains the mainstream source of energy. Steampunk fashion often incorporates similar styles to Victorian clothing with modifications to incorporate steam or wind up technology including but not limited to cogs, pipes, firearms and other such items powered by steam.

Hart’s Mill began it’s life in 1855 as a flour mill co-founded by Captain John Hart and Henry Kent Hughes. Captain Hart is know for his employment and respect of the Karuna Peoples which was uncommon at the time. Hart’s Mill merged with other similar enterprises in 1882 to form the Adelaide Milling and Mercantile Company which expanded in operations multiple times over the following years. In recent years Harts Mill has been heritage listed and is being managed by a Port Adelaide based community alliance in order to both preserve the property and to find sustainable uses for it including markets, projection shows and moth recently the Steampunk Aetherfest. The Mural in Hart’s Mill was painted in 2015 by Guido van Helten as a part of the Wonderwalls street art festival which was responsible for many of the murals that we can see around port Adelaide today.

Operating on the 17th – 18th of September from 10am – 5pm gave everyone an opportunity to experience the wide range of attractions and stalls on offer at this years Aetherfest.

Some of the attractions were:

Belly Dance Amethyst – A private dance school and performance group based in and around Adelaide showing traditional and modern takes on the classic belly dance.

Alchemy of Rhythm – A steampunk band focusing on a blend of original rock, pop, ballads, & reggae music, with captivating, high-energy stage visuals

Costume competition – Over a dozen competitors over 2 days of competition and a 3 person judging panel led to a showcase of various styles of steampunk inspired clothing with teapot trophies for our victorious champions in their respective categories.

Tea Duelling – A competitive spectator sport were 2 opponents must dunk their weapon (biscuit) in tea for 5 seconds then hold it up for as long as possible without it falling into the tea or onto the table / floor. A very ceremonial form of combat suitable for the civilized gentlefolk of any Steampunk event and following strict tradition and rules.

Guildmaster Games – Hannah has been demoing Truthseekers: Seek the Truth, her up and coming conspiracy based debate game and it is looking like a winner considering the crowds and positive feedback. Alongside Truthseekers there is some other more well known steampunk style games such as Magic: The Gathering and Warhammer 3000.

Some of our vendors were:

Two Steam or Not – Steampunk inspired Costumes and Props. Watches, jewelry, mini robots, cups, clocks, toys, walking canes and much more.

LHOH Leather craft- a staple at many Steampunk and Medieval fairs across South Australia, Doug and Amanda from the Little House of Horus Leather craft creates masterfully handcrafted items such belts, book covers, artistic pieces, masks and anything else that you could think of.

Highland Treasures – Specializing jewelry and gift ware Highland Treasures provides high-quality products of a Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Cornish or Celtic background. They are the Australian Representatives for The Clan Baird Society Worldwide Inc.

Sewing Creations by Linda – Hand sewn artistic and practical creations made lovingly by Linda based out of Gawler.

Kapria’s Cottage – Kapria's Cottage this weekend was serving a selection of home cooked treats including fudge, biscuits, banana bread, preserves, relishes and other such goodies all vegan friendly and tasting great. They also specialize in the sales and hire of Party and Event items such as Giant Board games and attractions for all ages.

Shifty Lizard Brewing Co – They're pretty damn serious about making good beer and spirits, whilst having some fun. And are reasonably reasonable about doing it responsibly. The beer is what brought them here, it’s why they do what they do, but ultimately the fun is what actually matters. Nestled in one of Australia’s most prestigious wine regions in Mclaren Vale, Shifty Lizard Brewing has called Willunga home since 2017 and while producing a wide selection of craft beers for almost 4 years.

Many thanks to Amanda, Beth-Ann and Niv for having me this year and thanks for putting on an event with a variety of different thing to seen and do. I believe that plans are in the works for expansion next year so it will only keep getting better and better.

See you all again next year.

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