Arriving here in 2011 via university campuses, the sport of Quidditch recently became something Australia is a world champion in.
Adopted from the phenomenally popular Harry Potter books and movies, Quidditch has been described as a “mixture of dodgeball and European handball”, due to its intensity. However, the running, tackling and throwing elements also see it earn a few comparisons to rugby union.
It’s unique in many ways, though, says Nicholas Hirst, Chairperson of Quidditch Australia.
“It is a full-contact sport and mixed gender,” explains Hirst, who fell in love with Quidditch after being introduced to it through a University of Melbourne Harry Potter club. He’s now “way too addicted” to the challenging sport.
“It is pretty athletic. You’re on the field pretty much constantly running.”
Unlike at Hogwarts, the players’ mobility is limited by gravity and other physical laws, so they stay earth-bound. The broomsticks, however, remain.
The Australian Dropbears team travelled to Germany in July 2016 for the biennial Quidditch World Cup.
After gaining a bronze medal in 2012 and silver in 2014, they did what nobody else had been able to: they beat the United States team, finishing first among the biggest field ever (22 teams).
The US is recognised as the first country to have played the game, at Vermont’s Middlebury College, in 2005.
And up until 2016, they had been untouchable.
“Australia fought hard and was the first country to ever beat America and win the gold medal,” says Hirst.
The 21-player (14 men, seven women) team’s road to glory at Frankfurt was aided by Beastwear, who provided uniforms and more besides.
“It’s been incredibly helpful,” says Hirst of the support.
“Not only has it helped the team get over there in some very flashy, wonderful-looking jerseys and shorts, but also we were allowed to use their sponsorship for crowdfunding, which helped the team actually get to Germany.”