Wisemans Ferry weekend of colonial history

The cast of the Convict Footprint productions outside 'Cobham Hall' or the Wiseman's Ferry Inn as it's now more commonly known, with Jerry Retford sitting.
The cast of the Convict Footprint productions outside 'Cobham Hall' or the Wiseman's Ferry Inn as it's now more commonly known, with Jerry Retford sitting.
Jenny Barlass

Delve into the colonial past of the quiet rural riverside town of Wisemans Ferry on May 19 and 20 as it erupts with a riot of theatre, live music, fireworks and indigenous culture exploring the town’s chequered history.

For the inaugural Wiseman’s Colonial Weekend there will be a host of historical entertainments including two theatrical productions put on by the Convict Footprints theatre group, as well as street entertainment, period buskers, artisan stalls, an indigenous ceremony and a classic colonial bush dance.

The town’s history goes back as far as 1827 when convict Solomon Wiseman was granted 200 acres to farm along a stretch of land along the Hawkesbury, ironically after doing his time here for stealing timber from the Thames in London.

“He founded the town and its pub, and owned a barge towing goods across the Hawkesbury,” explains Convict Footprints founder and director Jerry Retsford.

“But he wasn’t popular as he employed lots of convicts and treated them badly. We explore aspects of colonial life like this in our productions, which honours the convict heritage of our country.

“We will bring our unique brand of living history immersive entertainment to the picturesque riverside town with a day of roving street theatre culminating in the premiere of a brand new production on the 19th May at Wisemans Ferry Inn,” he said.

The show includes a spit roast dinner in true Aussie bush style, topped off by a free fireworks display. The night continues with classic colonial bush dance provided by the much celebrated Ozimaid Bush Band, with a prize for the best dressed gent and lady in colonial costume.

On Sunday 20th the second new Convict Footprints show premieres at the Tobruk Sheep Station on the hill above the town with morning and afternoon shows as the cast takes the audience for a bawdy historical romp through the area’s farming history as actors, stockmen, Jillaroos, sheep, dogs and horses all come together in a wonderfully chaotic entertainment, followed by an Australian bush BBQ lunch.

It’s free entry to the town for the live music, stalls and fireworks. Tickets for either of the Convict Footprints shows and meals are available online from www.tickets.convictfootprints.com.au

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