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The Jane Austen Festival is coming to Canberra to celebrate all things Regency

“So, what do you recommend to encourage affection?”

“Dancing. Even if one’s partner is barely tolerable.”

As Elizabeth Bennet mentions to Mr Darcy in the 2005 readaptation of Pride and Prejudice; dancing, especially dressed in Regency clothes in a grand ballroom, is the perfect way to encourage affection and spark friendships.

Luckily, the Jane Austen Festival Australia (JAFA) is coming to Canberra on the 17th of April to do just that.

You’ll step into a world unlike any other as you enter the era of frills, top hats, laced gloves, and more.

The two-day festival attracts people from around Australia who are eager to step back in time and celebrate the era of the 19th century.

The event will highlight the era of Regency clothes, customs, culture, and of course, Jane Austen herself.

Festival Director Aylwen Gardiner-Garden and her husband John Gardiner-Garden are at the heart of the festival and have been since its foundation in 2008.

During the festival, you can immerse in the culture, fashion, and food of the Regency Period, during which Jane Austen lived and wrote in.

The highlight? A Regency Ball complete with dancing, music, 19th-century games, and more.

So ladies, grab your bonnets, and gents, dust off your suits because this event will be making you ask your very own Mr Darcy if he likes to dance. Hopefully, without him answering, “Not if I can help it.”


The festival will formally begin on Saturday with morning tea at 10:30, followed by 11 am dance classes and a complimentary lunch. The grand ball will start at 7 pm and finish at midnight with opening march, quadrilles, longways sets, couples dances, and supper.

Sunday will feature a 10 o’clock morning tea and a 10:30 dance class. There will be a costume parade at 12:30 and a picnic lunch with period lawn and table games. The afternoon will bring a 2-6 pm tea dance with 24 period dance games.

This extravagant event will be making the ladies want to bring their very own handkerchief to “drop” at an Officer dressed in time-appropriate uniforms. Because, hey, just because it didn’t work for Lydia, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

The festival will showcase 19th-century Australian music and dance, as part of the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival. Canberra and Region Heritage Festival.

You can also book one of 40 places for an excursion on Friday 16 April of the 19th-century Australian dance material.

So, if you think you have your Mr Darcy, or you are searching for a Miss Elizabeth Bennet, this festival might just be what you’re looking for.

Know before you go 

What: Jane Austen Festival Australia 2021
Where: Yarralumla Woolshed, 208 Cotter Road, Weston, ACT, 2611, Australia
When: Saturday 17 to Sunday 18 April
How much: General ticket $125, Family  $250, child under 12 – free
Where to purchase a ticket: Jane Austen Festival Australia

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