This weekend, locals are in for a treat when the nineteenth century and science fiction collide in Dimboola for the Wimmera Steampunk Festival.

Lochiel Street will be closed to traffic on Saturday afternoon and evening and taken over by a street party with a most peculiar theme.

Steampunk reimagines history by imposing a science fiction theme on nineteenth-century Victorian England, utilising the technology of that era. Steam power, clockwork, and imagination are all significant features of this genre.

While the Steampunk concept has been around since the 1970s, it is believed that this will be the first such celebration of this kind in Victoria.

The inspiration for this unusual event has come from the photo of Dimboola’s National Bank of Australasia, now the Imaginarium, taken for its opening in 1909, and reproduced in 2019.

This photo depicts nearly two hundred white males, which was not an accurate representation of the district’s population at the time which also included significant numbers of Chinese, indigenous, and female residents.

The aim is to make this event an all-inclusive occasion with people from all walks of life and from right across Victoria and further afield welcome.

The weekend will begin tonight with the French and Fabulous evening at the V.R.I. hall from 7.30 pm, featuring French-inspired music, song, and food.

During the day on Saturday, the Court House and Print Museums both open on Saturday morning, and the Dimboola Girl Guides will be holding a Garage Sale between 8 am and midday.

The official opening of Ian Lehmann’s new music museum will take place at 3.30 pm featuring music by the Nhill-Dimboola Band.

At 5 pm, the Steampunk Festival will get underway in Lochiel Street, which will be closed to traffic with people dressed in 1800s-inspired outfits and street stalls and music for a giant street party.

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Two multicultural flash mobs will be dancing in the street during the evening, and after-dark several buildings around the town will be highlighted with floodlights, such as the mural on the Dimboola Café above.

Other features of the Wimmera’s first Steampunk Festival will include -
  • Night market food and stalls
  • A Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony
  • Grand opening of Tower Park
  • Premier of Tracy Rigney’s short film about the former Dimboola Hotel
  • Short film, Characters of the Wimmera by Ten Bag Press
  • Art installation by Nichola Clark
  • Vintage car display
  • Music will be provided by -
    • Nhill-Dimboola Band
    • Keychange Jazz Band
    • Danny Walsh Banned Trio
    • Rock Band Headrush
    • Alternative Country Band Blackbirds F.C.
    • Moonshine Coalition
On Sunday afternoon, the Steampunk Recharge Sunday will allow festival goeers to wind down after a big weekend, Former Dimboola resident and musician Aaron Moar to perform in the gardens at the rear of the Dimboola library from 1.30 pm until 5.00 pm, with residents encouraged to bring their folding chairs and picnic blankets and enjoy a relaxing afternoon.

Supporting acts will be local Wimmera performers Darryn Wardle and Jeff Woodward, who were both raised on farms near Brim and began their music careers playing in bands in the heyday of the Wimmera Rock scene in the 80s and 90s.