Select Society

Postal Address:

ADFAS Cairns
PO Box 807
Bungalow Qld 4870

Adfas Cairns is a vibrant society dedicated to a broader understanding of fine arts.  We are a not for profit organisation that is run entirely by volunteers.  We offer eight lectures per year, two lectures are offered by ADFAS lecturers, the remaining six by NADFAS UK lecturers all experts in their field.  Our lectures inform and illustrate arts, textiles, music, looted art, Persian rugs, the usual to the unusual and more. In the last twenty years Cairns has proudly hosted  many world renowned experts, showcasing their passion for their dedicated subjects,  our members are delighted to welcome such diversity to the tropics.

Isn’t it time that you joined us at the historic Boland Centre, right in the centre of Cairns.

Lectures held in the Boland Centre, 14 Spence Street, Cairns at 7.30pm sharp, doors open at 7pm.  A light supper is enjoyed at the end of every lecture.

Committee 2017

Vicki Jones

Belle Dean

Membership enquiries:
Leeanne Pogorzelski

Please contact us on or call Membership Secretary Leeanne Pogorzelski on 0409 067 491

The lecture series for 2017 begins on Monday 20th March, Anthony Russell Cultural historian, writer and Artist – Blenheim Palace – the Agony and the Ecstacy.

Enquiries should be directed to Vicki Jones Chairwoman on mobile 0416 054 834.

For quick reference here is our 2017 programme:-

20th March 2017 – Blenheim Palace – Anthony Russell NADFAS

Possibly the most admired historic English building outside London, Blenheim Palace is an uncompromising World Heritage monument to English military ambition and one family’s self-importance.  The story of its construction is a fascinating catalogue of excess and outrage, while the result is both monstrous and utterly sublime.  However, it is in the effect that its perceived spirit has had on consecutive generations of Marlborough’s that is most revealing.  It is also of course, from within this ‘cauldron’ that Winston Churchill, who was recently voted the “the greatest Britain of all time”, was born.  This lecture explores these themes and the characters involved, marvelling at the genius of Vanbrugh and considering the real impact the palace has left on the English nation.

1st May 2017 – Department Stores – a new way to shop – Dr Michael Marendy

During the latter part of the nineteenth century retailing underwent enormous change.  Small over crowded drapery stores were transformed into multi-storey department stores.  In addition to dressmaking, millinery and tailoring services, many of these stores established specialised departments which stocked corsets, dress fabrics, gloves, hosiery, lace, mantles, shoes, and underclothing, thus providing the total look for women, a service an individual dressmaker could not provide.  Most drapery stores in Brisbane were owned and operated by men, who would have had access to bank loans, or were able to enter into lucrative partnerships which enabled them to rent, buy or build large premises, stock a variety of goods, employ a large number of shop assistants and skilled modistes, as well as advertise on a daily basis.  The lecture will discuss the growth of the Queensland department store and the services it offered.

29th May 2017  – Flemish Art – Sandray Mowbray NADFAS

Paralleling the Renaissance in Italy was one farther north in Flanders where the reinvention of oil paint in its modern form imbued Flemish works with extraordinary detail, richness, and realism that represented a turning point in the history of art.  Prior to a major development in oil painting by van Eyck, fast drying tempera was widely used and meant that artists had to work at breakneck speed in small areas to finish the work before the whole piece dried; not a technique that encouraged labor intensive detail. But the slower drying oil paint gave the artist the time to build up the minutest detail and correct or extend his work.

The lecture will divide Flemish art into periods focusing on representative artists and their works as follows: Early ‘primitives’ of the 15th century represented by Jan van Eyck; the middle period of 16th century represented by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Hieronymus Bosch; and the Antwerp School represented by Sir Anthony van Dyck and Sir Peter Paul Rubens of the 17th century. The presentation will illustrate how the economic, political, and religious climate in Flanders helped shape Flemish art.


19th June 2017  – Music Debussey – Prefessor Heath Lees

Like the French Impressionist painters who painted with paint, and poets who painted with words, the composer Claude Debussy painted with sounds.  For all of them, the aim was one of suggestion. This lecture aims to seek out and demonstrate ways in which the Impressionist composer Debussy transferred the Impressionists’ suggestive effects into melody, harmony and rhythm.

24th July 2017 – British Tailoring – Kate Strasdin NADFAS

From the early 19th century, British tailoring became synonymous with quality and fit and was to become renowned for its high standards. Exploring the origins of Savile Row, royal influences and aristocratic patronage, this lecture offers a tour of some of the most well-known establishments on the row, their customers and how it has evolved over the generations to remain as a site of high quality craftsmanship to this day. Using archives, letters, portraits and memoirs as well as the evidence of the objects themselves it is a chance to metaphorically unpick this most British of trades.


*Special interest day on Sunday 23 July – ‘Couture Embroidery’ Kate Strasdin

Tucked away in the attic workshops of Paris Haute Couture embroidery studios have produced stunning hand worked embellishment for high class dressmakers since the 1850s.  We delve into the history of just some of these establishments, from the splendours of Maison Lesage and Maison Lemarie – embroidery and feather houses, to the less well known art of the plisseur, pleating fabrics using traditional techniques. We also consider some of the older British embroiderers such as Hand & Lock and looks at how, through establishments such as the Royal School of Needlework, the art of embroidery still occupies an important place in industry today.

This special event will be held at 321 Lake Street, North Cairns, from 1.30 until 4 pm. Afternoon tea will be served, and as numbers are limited, tickets $30 each should be paid on booking. There will be an opportunity to make Dorset buttons, and to try your hand at Honiton Lace making.  Contact Lynn Caskey on 0414 125100.

4th September  – The real stories behind stolen Art – Sauna Isaac

The Inside Stories is a ‘top 10 stolen art cases’ lecture. This lecture will examine the most famous works of art that were stolen and discuss whether the notoriety of being a stolen work of art increases or decreases the mystery around the work. Some examples included in the discussion are Munch’s The Scream and the Leonardo’s da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

25th September – Consolation of Movement – Degas and Rodin – Michael Howard

Two of the greatest and most accessible artists of the nineteenth century – at once traditional and revolutionary, Degas and Rodin continue to excite and disturb the modern viewer.  Rodin was a sculptor whose vision is fired by his vibrant spiritual and sensual search for expression; his figures struggle between heaven and hell.  Degas was an artist who seemingly disparaged the spiritual and yet his work is, like Rembrandt’s, profoundly human, to such a degree that he teaches us to see the spiritual in the earthbound.  Renoir once said, that even ‘if Degas had never picked up a paintbrush in his life, he still would have been the greatest artist of the nineteenth century.  He shows us, as one famous ballet dancer once said ‘the blood in the shoe.’  As an old man, Degas revealed a great truth about himself and his work: ‘if the leaves on the trees didn’t move’ he said, ‘how sad we would be’. That is the simple consolation of movement caught in his work.  Michael will bring along some of the props that he made for the film Degas and the Dance, these include monotypes, pastels, drawings, etchings and etching plates.

30th October – Adventures amongst the Nomadic Tribes of Iran & Afghanstan – Brian McDonald

*Sunday 23rd July – A special half interest day “Gilded Splendour: The Art of Embellishment” will be held on the verandah of 321 Lake Street, Cairns at 2pm, with high tea served at 3pm. There are limited numbers for this day, bookings are essential contact Lynn Caskey on 0414 125100