It is possible to become a knight in 21st century Australia without the Queen’s blessing, and don’t these three men know it.
Squires, jousters and brawling medieval lords, Ironfest has brought knights of all orders from around Australia to show their honour and bravery on and off the battle field.
Mitch Luke – Squire
Also known as ‘Mitch the Viking’, Mitch Luke of Katoomba acts as a squire and sprucer to the Ironguard, an official Ironfest jousting group.
Mr Luke can’t ride a horse but he needs plenty of skill to appear on the pitch between two feuding knights and their jousting poles.
When we chat he was having his ‘last rites’ cigarette.
“I go all around Australia with knights, and it’s just so great to see the Ironfest audience, they get so dressed up,” he said.
Mr Luke began touring with jousting crews 12 years ago.
“It’s part of my job to walk between charging horses,” he said.
“The big thing is not to fear the horses, if you show that you are scared you will likely get trampled. I’ve seen knights being thrown off horses, I’ve seen a knight fall off a horse, onto a pram.”
“Another part of my job is getting the huge egos of jousters into their tiny suits of armor and onto a horse,” Mr Luke chuckled.
Darrell Bossley – Knight
“This is my horse S’Calibar. He’s a Black Flat Friesian, a Dutch medieval war horse. They dictate what letter the name of these horses must start with. His was ‘S’, that’s why it’s spelled S’Calibar.”
S’Calibar had his first joust at Ironfest on Saturday, April 22. Otherwise, he hasn’t left his paddock.
Darrell Bossley, however, is a seasoned knight, and at almost seventy years old, he is the oldest jouster in Australia, of which there are only 15.
“He didn’t have a clue what he was doing this morning but he didn’t stress or get upset. In twelve months he will be right,” he said.
Mr Bossley didn’t begin jousting until after he retired at the age of 65. He was a martial arts teacher and rodeo rider from way back.
“Well, if you put martial arts and rodeo riding together you get jousting, and I love medieval stuff as well.”
Caleb Lawson – Lord of The Order
Caleb Lawson is a lord, among his social group anyway. He is part of The Order, a medieval re-enactment group based in Western Sydney.
Today he will fight with replica axes and swords with armor created by the group, hopefully giving him the protection he needs against any deep wounds.
“You need to wear your helmet, otherwise you’re dead,” he said.
Amy Penfold, another member of The Order, said that together they create their own tunics, camp, spears and weapon accessories.
“Yeah, I’m pretty much the queen,” she laughed.
“It’s a great social group and it’s so nice to get involved and socialise with people when we all share a common interest.”
“We love coming to Ironfest and camping out for three days. In the lead up to it we basically see each other every day getting ready.”