George Town's Steampunk Tasmania festival set to enter record books

PUNK FOLK: Tasmanian folk band Ruby and the Red Spinners swelled to a five-piece on Saturday afternoon, with Bruce Trappes' flaming piano and some toe-tapping tunes helping to keep the punters warm. Pictures: Hamish Geale
PUNK FOLK: Tasmanian folk band Ruby and the Red Spinners swelled to a five-piece on Saturday afternoon, with Bruce Trappes' flaming piano and some toe-tapping tunes helping to keep the punters warm. Pictures: Hamish Geale

Regardless of who emerged victorious from the tea duelling championships or the teapot racing competition, it was difficult to walk away from the second annual Steampunk Tasmania festival without the feeling that George Town was the real winner.

Inside, a building converted into the belly of an airship titled Ponrabble Boilertrumpet was home to steampunk guitars, belly dancing and a code cracking mystery trail.

Outside, patrons escaped the chill of an persistent breeze by resting in the radiant heat of a 1910 steamroller and Bruce Trappes’ Flaming Piano, which simultaneously spurted forth the blues and orange flames.

Best of all, organisers are confident Saturday’s gathering of 255 fully-costumed steampunks will be enough to see George Town clinch a Guinness World Record. 

“Oamaru in New Zealand hold it at the moment with 228,” festival secretary Lee-Ann Patterson said.

“We've got a bit of a Trans-Tasman challenge going on, so the official record will be known in a couple of weeks and we’ll be able to announce whether we’re the new world champions.”

Playing a crucial role in the world record attempt were visitors from the mainland, Finland, and four groups from the US. 

STEAM TEAM: 255 fully-costumed steampunks gather to attempt the world record for the most steampunks in one place.

STEAM TEAM: 255 fully-costumed steampunks gather to attempt the world record for the most steampunks in one place.

Ahead of the night session - Beer, Burlesque and Band - Mrs Patterson said the festival was well on track to achieve its total visitor target of 700.

“It’s doubled on last year.

“More people dressed up than last year and they knew more about the genre and about what we were trying to achieve - I’d say (we had) double again for people in costume.

“A lot came flying through the gates to be a part of the Guinness Book of World Records and we had people leaving saying ‘I wish I had have worn a corset’.”

And will the Steampunk Tasmania festival return in 2018?

“Hopefully next year it’ll be bigger and better again.

“It’s been a real community event and it’s really fantastic that we’ve got something like this happening in regional George Town.

“It gets us to showcase our region to visitors from all around the state so the economic return is showing already.”

ROLL UP: Legana's Clynton Brown gets behind the wheel of a 1910 Salisbury steamroller, the only machine of its kind to be built in Launceston.

ROLL UP: Legana's Clynton Brown gets behind the wheel of a 1910 Salisbury steamroller, the only machine of its kind to be built in Launceston.