Lances at the ready: Knights to do battle at Abbey Medieval Festival

Published 12:00pm 22 June 2022

Lances at the ready: Knights to do battle at Abbey Medieval Festival
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Knights in shining armour are set to compete over two big days in a bid to be crowned the champion at the highly anticipated jousting tournament at this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival.

The festival, which will be held on July 9 and 10 in Caboolture, is the largest event hosted by the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, and one of the most popular celebrations on the Moreton Bay calendar.

The festival brings history to life with authentic re-enactments, games, crafts, music, food and more.

Professional armourer and local Moreton Bay resident Luke Binks will be running the jousting tournament for the first time and overseeing the six competitors.

Jousting is a competitive sport between armoured riders on horses, who use a large wooden lance to charge at each other at high speed in an attempt to unseat one another.

“I am really excited to be running the jousting tournament this year and bringing something new to the competition that hasn’t been done before,” Luke says.

“I will be running a representation of the mid-15th century joust where all the competitors will be in historically accurate replica suits of armour and jousting in a way that was done historically back then.

“A lot of jousting competitions that are done today have a fence that runs down the middle separating the two competitors, preventing you from running into one another, and a fence on the outer side of the rider.

“This wasn’t done historically – it’s likened to putting the bumpers down when you are bowling.

“This year we will only have one fence down the middle. It will only be a small difference to the spectators but will be more difficult for the knights.”

How to win

The six knights, four of which are from Queensland, and two from New South Wales, will go head-to-head against each other in a round robin-style competition.

Luke says points are awarded to the jouster who has the most impressive lance break.

“The objective of jousting is to break your lance on your opponent while riding at them as hard and as fast as you can,” he says.

“The acute angle attack of the lance against their body will make it grab and snap.

“You also need to limit the amount of openings where your opponent can go to break their lance.

“The better the break, the more points you will score.

“If you knock the rider off, you win the match immediately.”

There will be six jousting sessions over the course of the weekend, but due to its popularity, all Saturday sessions have already sold out.

The final will be held on Sunday afternoon where one of the two highest point scoring competitors will be crowned the festival champion.

Lances at the ready: Knights to do battle at Abbey Medieval Festival

A life-long passion

From a very early age, Luke has had a love and passion for all things medieval.

“There was always something about medieval history that always caught my attention when I was a kid even before I could understand the complexities of it,” Luke says.

“My initial attraction was that I thought they were like real-life superheroes.

“The first time I ever saw jousting was in the movie Ivanhoe, which was an old movie before I was even a kid.

“People were on horsebacks with lances and I thought it was the coolest thing.”

When he was eight, Luke was either playing with knight Lego, making wooden swords, jousting from his bicycle or hunting rabbits with his bow.

His passion continued to grow and when he was a teenager he came across a group of re-enactors that further fueled his passion.

“I was at the Petrie Markets with my family and there was a re-enactment group called the Knight Order of Lion Rampant, who had a small display,” Luke says.

“I had not long moved to the area and asked my parents if I could join. I had to convince them I would be safe to do it by myself because the group was based in the city.

“We would study historical fight manuals and recreate medieval combat as close as we possibly could without going to the extremity of injuring one another.”

Then, when the movie a Knight’s Tale starring Heath Legder came to screens, it prompted Luke to buy his own horse and learn the art of jousting.

“That movie was pivotal for me,” Luke says.

“I always wanted a horse when I was a kid, but I bought my first horse when I was 21.

“I taught myself how to joust, which is no easy feat. You can even take a well-experienced rider and put them in armour and a helmet and they will struggle.”

Two decades later, Luke is still jousting, and has travelled the world competing in tournaments and being a pioneer for the Australian and global jousting community.

He has jousted in Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Holland, France, England, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Swede, Russia and America.

He was the first Australian to joust at the prestigious Sword of Honour tournament held at the Royal Armouries of England.

He is also one of three knights in the world to re-introduce jousting with real historical lances.

He has lived and trained jousters and jousting horses on three different continents all while working as a professional armourer.

He also runs a local re-enactment troupe for other medieval enthusiasts to come and share their love of history.

Creating bespoke pieces for museums

Luke runs his own armoury business in Petrie called Red Hart Reproductions, specialising in high quality medieval pieces.

“I predominately make bespoke suits of armour for museums, collectors and re-enactors all over the world,” Luke says.

“It’s a lot of hard work. I think the quickest we can make a suit of armour is around three months.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into a suit of armour because everything is handmade, and there’s not much in the way of modern tooling.

“We want to ensure they are historically correct and making it to a high museum quality standard.”

Lances at the ready: Knights to do battle at Abbey Medieval Festival

Head along to the festival

With the Abbey Medieval Festival less than two weeks away, Luke is encouraging those who have never been before to come and check it out.

‘I would say, if you have never been before, you will be completely surprised,” he says.

“It will be an absolutely fantastic weekend out, with so much to see and do.”

All the fun will be held at ‘Abbeystowe’ - an open field near the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, located a 1-63 The Abbey Place, Caboolture.

Find out more

If you would like to know more about this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival, log onto the websiteFacebook or Instagram.


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