In 1813 in Leipzig, Saxony, the French army of Napoleon fought against the coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden. With some 600,000 soldiers involved, it was the largest battle to take place before World War 1.
It was the Battle of Leipzig, also known as the Battle of the Nations. Now two hundred years later, it will be re-enacted in miniature form at the Festival of History.
Battle of Leipzig Commemoration. Photo from Deutsche Fotothek (Wikimedia Commons)
With ancient automobiles, men in military garb, cannons firing and guns blazing, the Festival of History will take over Old Reynella on Saturday March 9th and Sunday March 10th, 2013. It is set to be one of the biggest history festivals in Australia, more than 20,000 people from around the state, and the country, are expected to attend the event.
Old Reynella is the ideal location for such an event. It provides a great opportunity to visit the charming township that is often bypassed by tourists. It houses historic sites with features that date back to the 1840s such as the oldest wine cellar in Australia.
It was also the home of Carew Reynell, grandson of founding father John Reynell, known as "one of the best Light Horse officers in the Commonwealth". He pioneered brandy making methods within the family wine business in Reynella before bravely serving his country in Gallipoli and becoming a casualty of war in 1915.
A weekend doesn't seem long enough for a festival with over two hundred years worth of tales to tell. There will certainly be plenty to do and see. Most activities will be free of charge while others will accept a gold coin donation.
It will be opened by the Governor of South Australia and some highlights at the Festival of History include:
- A colourful street parade with historic military uniforms, vehicles, colonial dancing and music.
- Mock battles recreated with authentic uniform, weapons, equipment and vehicles.
- Veteran Car Club of South Australia Fun Run from Adelaide to Old Reynella with pre-1919 vehicles. Some of these old beauties will also be on display afterwards for you to admire.
- Model train layout at the Noarlunga Model Railroaders Inc.
- There will be plenty of food and drink stalls to replenish after a day traipsing through time, including, of course, local wine tasting.
- An 1813 Costume Dinner at St. Francis Winery will conclude the Festival of History with an authentic feast. Ambassadors from the countries involved in the Battle of the Nations have been invited to attend the festival and the dinner.
WW2 Battle Reenactment. Photo by Simon Q (Wikimedia Commons)
A memorial plaque has been intended for Old Reynella since the end of World War 1 and for various reasons it is yet to eventuate. It is hoped that in 2013 the Festival of History will raise enough money to establish the memorial. It will honour the large amount of people from the south of Adelaide that have served in the Australian Military Forces. With any luck the memorial plaque will be unveiled at the following year's Festival of History.
The Festival of History is a time to reflect, remember and respect. Reflect on times gone by, remember the moments that shaped our past and present and offer respect to soldiers currently fighting for our future overseas.
Get involved, learn about and be a part of history at the Old Reynella Festival of History. Visit the Festival of History website for a schedule of events, locations and more information.