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Postal Address:

ADFAS Toowoomba
PO Box 1555
Toowoomba QLD 4350

ADFAS Toowoomba welcomes Members and Guests to attend our 2017 Lecture Programme. This year we are offering eight stimulating and enriching lectures on a wide variety of topics.  Six of our lecturers are from the UK and are accredited by NADFAS, our English affiliate ( The other two are Australian Lecturers with Heath Lees on the ADFAS Australian Lecturer Register and Professor Bryce Barker presenting his first lecture to an ADFAS audience.

Our lectures are held at 6pm on a Tuesday at The Glennie Room, The Glennie School, 246A Herries Street, Toowoomba. Following the lecture, a delicious supper is served with wine and orange juice and an opportunity to chat with the lecturer.

During the year an informative Newsletter is published in the lead up to each lecture. Excursions to important exhibitions in Brisbane and surrounds are often planned.

For enquiries, either call Caroline on 07 4636 4342 or email

Committee 2017

Caroline Freyburg
Tel: (07) 4636 4342

Ron Gordon
Tel: (07) 4638 8518


Programme for 2017

Tuesday 14th March
Blenheim Palace – the Agony and the Ecstasy
Mr Anthony Russell **

Anthony Russell is a cultural historian, writer and artist. He spent six years as a consultant for Luke Hughes advising on the furniture needs of prestigious buildings throughout Britain, including museums, palaces, schools and cathedrals.  Now based in London, he spends much of his time lecturing and undertaking research, while assisting at the British Museum with outreach events and visiting lecturers.  Committed to the ‘search for civilisation’ and as an advocate of nonviolence, he is the founder of the Chandos, on the committee for Uniting for Peace and a contributor to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy in Burma.  He is author of the book ‘Evolving the Spirit – From Democracy to Peace.’, commended by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Laureate, as meaning a great deal to her.

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. But 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 was born, who was recently voted the “the greatest Britain of all time”. 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 nation.

Tuesday 11 April
The Archaeology of Australian Rock Art
Professor Bryce Barker  – USQ

Professor Bryce Barker is an archaeologist specialising in Australasian prehistory at the University of Southern Queensland.  He is a Fellow of the Australian Anthropology Society and the Queensland Academy of Arts and Science.  He has ongoing research projects in Arnhem Land, the central Queensland coast, Cape York Peninsula and in Papua New Guinea.  Professor Barker has published widely in national and international journals and has published 2 books; The Sea People: Late Holocene Maritime specialisation in the Whitsunday Islands, and the Social Archaeology of Indigenous Australia.

Australian Aboriginal rock art is often cited as being amongst the oldest in the world in spite the fact that, very little of it is scientifically dated.  This lecture outlines the evidence for the antiquity of Australian rock art including the evidence from our recent collaborative research in Arnhem Land – which has produced evidence of the oldest dated rock art in Australia.  The antiquity of rock art both in Australia and elsewhere in the world is important in the debate over the cognitive abilities of early modern humans. This debate revolves around why rock art only appears some 40,000 years ago – 150,000 years after the first appearance of early modern humans in Africa.  The evidence from Australia, as outlined in this lecture, makes a significant contribution to this international debate.

Tuesday 23rd May
Spain’s 20th Century Artists who challenged the Art World
Mrs Sandra Mowry (Ind.)

Sandra is an author, historian and world traveller/lecturer. Her studies in world cultures began as an undergraduate history major with a concentration in Ancient Civilizations at the University of Massachusetts with post graduate work at West Chester University.  Sandra has taught at many universities in the US.  Her writing career includes penning a newspaper column for fifteen years, publishing a book, Nutrition Solutions, and numerous articles for various publications. Sandra has also made numerous television and radio appearances in the US. As a volunteer for the Philadelphia Art Museum she has presented programmes on ancient civilizations, artefacts and architecture. Sandra paints in several mediums, mainly watercolour, and in the decorative arts, she paints furniture in two styles: primitive folk art and a la MacKenzie-Childs.

From the modernism of architect Gaudi to the Surrealism of Miro & Dali, this talk focuses on art produced in the city of Barcelona, a city that defies convention.   Barcelona spawned the artist expression of Gaudi’s ‘drip castle’ structures, the bizarre dreamlike images of Dali and Miro, and the abstract shapes and forms of Picasso. Gaudi eschewed straight lines, building undulating facades, a house resembling a dragon whose victims’ bones form the balconies, along with a whimsical park of magical creatures and mysterious caves, and culminating with the spectacular cathedral not completed until a hundred years after his death. He paved the way for the surrealism of Miro and Dali, whose troubled childhood led to disturbing violent images of death and the macabre. In addition, the city encouraged the freedom for Picasso to paint what he felt – not what he saw, creating his own abstract reality. The lecture will delve into the artists’ creative worlds for an in-depth look at their ground breaking art.

Tuesday 27th June
More to Music than Meets the Ear
Mr Heath Lees *

Originally from Scotland, Heath Lees moved to New Zealand in 1978 and retired in 2008, after 25 years as Professor of Music at the University of Auckland. He now spends his time equally between New Zealand and France.

Mainly concerned with Wagner and the relationship between music and literature, Heath has also been the author of a number of musical treatments of writers such as Beckett and Joyce. His book “Mallarmé and Wagner: Music and Poetic Language” was published some years ago by Ashgate UK.

Heath is much in demand as a lecturer and presenter for various arts and music groups, and for Wagner Societies the world over.  In May 2016, he toured most of the Wagner Societies in the US and Canada, and since 2011 has been regularly ‘on the road’ for ADFAS and has now covered all three Australian circuits.

When in New Zealand, Heath broadcasts frequently for Radio New Zealand Concert Programme. Over the years he has chalked up some 400 programmes.  For some years he was host for the TVNZ weekly Arts Programme “Kaleidoscope” and in 1994 he founded the Wagner society of New Zealand, where he has been President for 15 years.

Music speaks to us through pictures and gestures in sound, all pre-arranged by talented composers. In this lecture, Heath explores how western composers have created sound-based messages through gesture and pattern. En route, he travels through a wide variety of musical media – instrumental music, opera, sacred music, pop music and (even) advertising jingles.

Tuesday 18th July
The Real Downton Abbey, Clothing the Classes 1900 – 1930
Ms Kate Strasdin **

Kate has worked with objects of dress and textiles in museums for almost twenty years in curatorial positions and is Assistant Curator at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Totnes, Devon.  Kate is also a Senior Lecturer at Falmouth University, teaching history and contextual studies to fashion and textile students.  Publications include ‘An Easy Day for a Lady’ (Costume, Journal of the Costume Society, 2008) and ‘Empire Dressing – the Design and Realisation of Queen Alexandra’s Coronation Gown’ (Journal of Design History, 2012).  Kate is currently writing a new book about Queen Alexandra’s wardrobe which will be published by Bloomsbury in 2018.  She is also one of the youngest practitioners of the dying art of producing handmade Honiton lace.

Using examples of original dress from the period, magazine editorial and contemporary photographs, this lecture looks upstairs and downstairs at the importance of dress across the social classes. Downton Abbey is the perfect example of how class dominated dress for centuries. Using the example of each member of the household from Lord Grantham, the patriarch of the family down to Daisy the scullery maid, this lecture considers how dress was central to status. However, it also begins to chart the changes that occurred during and after the Great War and how life was never to be quite the same again.

Tuesday 29th August
The Art of the Steal: Nazi looting during World War II
Ms Shauna Isaac **

Shauna studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art and Birkbeck College, London.  She runs an art recovery company and serves on the advisory board of the European Shoah Legacy Institute.  She has given talks to the Focus-Abengoa Foundation Symposium in Seville, the Courtauld Institute, the Documentation Centre of World War ll Cultural Assets, Sotheby’s and Microsoft. Shauna’s publications include articles for The Art Newspaper, Art & Law Magazine and Art Quarterly.

The Nazis looted over 20% of Western Art during World War II and the effects of Nazi looting are still evident today. This lecture will cover the following topics: setting the scene in Germany, the Fuhrer museum, Nazi art repositories, Post War restitution and the Monuments Men, contemporary restitution issues and current international recovery efforts. There are several landmark international cases that I will discuss in detail, including Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer and the stash of looted art found in Cornelius Gurlitt’s flat.

Tuesday 19th September
Poetry, Passion and Painting: The Pre-Raphaelites
Mr Michael Howard **

Michael, although actually retired, still teaches at Manchester School of Art and Design at the Manchester Metropolitan University, where he teaches both academic and studio-based students. He is President of Bolton DFAS and is a practicing artist, a painter, sculptor, printmaker and ceramicist.  Michael has published widely on European art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  His books include: L. S. Lowry: A Visionary Artist, (He also worked on the film on the artist that acts as an introduction to the artist’s life and work at the Lowry Centre), Goya, Whistler, Monet, Cézanne.  Michael’s work is represented in the Manchester Art Gallery and in many private collections here and abroad.   Michael has featured on television and radio many times and in 2004 he and Ghislaine worked on the film Degas and the Dance which has received many awards including one of the prestigious Peabody awards. He is currently working on two major projects: one with Ghislaine and Blackburn Cathedral – The Seven Works of Mercy and a dramatic presentation with Liverpool Tate to mark the birth of Dada in 1916.

In the nineteenth century, Britain was the most powerful nation in the world and the challenge for ambitious artists was simple – how to create modern English art that would be the equivalent to any of the great civilisations of the past. Using painting and poetry this lecture allows us to see the art of this period in a new light and will include some familiar names, as well as some not so familiar, as well as poetry from Shakespeare, Keats and Rossetti.  This approach will allow us to see the work of such familiar artists as Constable and Turner, Landseer, the Pre-Raphaelites and Whistler as well as many other lesser known, but equally fascinating figures, in a new light.

Tuesday 24th October
Adventures amongst the Nomadic Tribes of Iran & Afghanistan
Mr Brian W MacDonald **

During the 1970s, whilst carrying out reconnaissance work for two university archaeological expeditions in southern Iran, Brian travelled extensively throughout that country as well as in Afghanistan and Turkey. In 1972, he lived and worked amongst two tribal groups in Iran – the Afshar of Kerman Province and the Qashqa’i of Fars – making him one of the very few world carpet dealers who have actually spent ‘time in the field’. From 1973 onwards, he worked in Kerman in southern Iran until just before the Iranian Revolution when he was forced to leave. In 1990, Brian was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society for his work amongst the Persian nomads.  Brian has returned to Iran on several occasions in the 1990s onwards, travelling and collecting rugs and dowry bags amongst the Bakhtiari, Qashqa’i and Shahsevan tribes.  Since the 1980s, he has been dealing in the most exquisite 19th century tribal weavings, based in the Cotswolds, where he still acts as a dealer, lecturer and consultant today.  Brian’s book Tribal Rugs – Treasures of the Black Tent was first published in October 1997 and received a warm reception from collectors, dealers and enthusiasts worldwide. Ghereh International Carpet & Textile Review (Spring 1998) described it as “one of the finest books written on tribal rugs”. Tribal Rugs – Treasures of the Black Tent is now in its 3rd up-dated re-print and is due out in the Spring of 2016.

A fascinating insight into Brian’s travels searching for the woven art of the Nomads.  For many years, Brian has been asked by numerous NADFAS societies to talk about his travels and the experiences that he encountered whilst living and travelling amongst the nomadic tribes, whilst in search of their woven art.  This is a new lecture launched in 2013 which has since been very successfully received:

“My time spent in Iran and Afghanistan during the 1970s, began to foster a passion for the wonderful woven art produced by nomads on basic ground looms. My subsequent visits were spent travelling and searching amongst nomadic tribes for these exquisite 19th century weavings, which have become harder to find and have now virtually disappeared amongst the tribes themselves.  This lecture illustrates the woven art of the nomads as they moved over the lands they have travelled for generations. The audience will have the opportunity of seeing their way of life and looking at the 19th century rugs and utilitarian weavings, similar to those which I discovered during my forays into the different tribal territories.  The lecture also brings to life some of the unforgettable stories and adventures I experienced whilst looking for them”.

Tuesday 28th November
Christmas Party and AGM

** NADFAS Lecturer
* ADFAS Lecturer

Venue and Time of Lectures

All lectures take place at The Glennie Room, The Glennie School, 246A Herries Street, Toowoomba 5.45 pm for prompt start at 6:00 pm.


The fee for members of other ADFAS Societies is $15. Non ADFAS members are invited to attend lectures at a cost of $25 per person. It would be appreciated if the Membership Secretary could be advised of their attendance by Monday am prior to the lecture by contacting Chris Flemming on 0459 788 007 or email
We have Gift (Guest) Vouchers available for purchase for $25 each. Members who renew their membership before 31st January, 2017 will receive a Complimentary Guest Voucher.


Annual Subscription: $155.00
Membership includes 8 Lectures and a delicious supper with a glass of wine or orange juice at the conclusion of the lecture. The subscription also includes the Christmas Breakup Party with entertainment. Those members renewing their subscription will receive a Complimentary Guest Voucher if they have renewed by 31st January, 2016.

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