Blue Mountains

ADFAS Blue Mountains welcomes you

We acknowledge that we meet on the land of the Darug and Gundungarra peoples who have a deep and continuous connection to the blue Mountains. In our local area we know that their art and cultural practice extends back thousands of years and continues to the present day.

Wentworth Falls, located in the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains, offers spectacular bushwalks and views.  As well, there is a lively and attractive village with fine coffee, gift shops and off-street parking.  The area was originally called ‘Weatherboard’ after the ‘Weatherboard Hut’ built in 1814.  One year later the town was named ‘Jamison’s Valley’ by Governor Macquarie.

Blue Mountains ADFAS holds all lectures in the beautiful art deco School of Arts in Wentworth Falls.  We are renowned for our hospitality, warmly welcoming visitors to our lectures.  Our lectures are followed by a delicious home-cooked afternoon tea where attendees can mingle and meet the lecturer.

In July 1867 the historic first railway journey in the Blue Mountains left Penrith station and travelled through to Weatherboard Station where the train terminated.  It wasn’t until 1879 that the name was changed to Wentworth Falls in honour of William Charles Wentworth, one of the three famous explorers.

We support Young Arts in our community in the form of grants to Blue Mountains schools. In 202 1/ 2022 four schools received $1,500 each for music, dance and creative arts programs.


Lectures are held at Wentworth Falls School of Arts, Adele St, Wentworth Falls.
There is ample parking at the rear of the hall and the train station is a five-minute walk away

Lectures are a Friday and begin at 1:30 pm followed by afternoon tea.

Find full details of the 2023 program here

Early Bird annual membership: $150 – up to and including AGM on 9th December 2022

Annual membership – $160
Click here to join or email:

Guests welcome:
Visitors: $30 per lecture
Pension Card Holders: $25 per lecture

For all enquiries please email:
Postal Address: PO Box 100 Wentworth Falls NSW 2782
ABN: 54 699 436 472

Committee 2023
Chairman: Margaret Lipscombe
Treasurer: Denise Schoer
Secretary / Membership: Helen Gillam


Friday 3rd February 2023
Presented by Susannah Fullerton
Venue and Time: The School of Arts Wentworth Falls.  Arrive 1.30pm for 2pm start.

George Elliot became one of the most remarkable women and writers of the era, earning more by her own pen than any other woman in Victorian England. Discover the fascinating story of her life and learn about what made her one of the greatest novelists of all time.

Susannah brings to life the lives and writings of great writers in her fascinating lectures. Having built a stellar career as a lecturer giving talks about famous writers, Susannah always presents in a unique style. Immensely entertaining, yet truly informative, you’ll love listening to her talk about her favourite writers. Susannah is President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia, the largest literary society in the country, Patron of the Kipling Society of Australia and Lady Patroness of the International Heyer Society.

Friday 24th March 2023
Presented by Alan Read
Venue and Time: The School of Arts Wentworth Falls.  Arrive 1.30pm for 2pm start.

In the two centuries since they were removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin, the meaning and significance of the ‘Elgin marbles’ has changed dramatically. From architectural decoration to disputed cultural objects this lecture looks at the response to them over their time in Britain, from the original controversy over their purchase to the current debate surrounding the restitution of the marbles to the new Acropolis Museum in Athens.

Alan Read holds a master’s and first-class honours degree in History of Art from Birkbeck College, London. He is a gallery guide at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, National Portrait Gallery and for Frieze Masters and regularly lectures at the NPG, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Plymouth City Art Gallery and other galleries in the UK. He also works as a London Blue Badge Guide and a City of London Guide.

Friday 21st April 2023
Presented by Jos Hackforth-Jones
Venue and Time: The School of Arts Wentworth Falls.  Arrive 1.30pm for 2pm start.​

This lecture will look at some of the background to Captain Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific in 1768. Jos will examine key landscape and maritime conventions employed by artists and naval officers at that time as well as analysing Cook’s instructions, the contribution of Joseph Banks and the interactions and relationships formed between European visitors and key indigenous individuals. She will also briefly review issues around the 250th anniversary of Cook’s arrival and the work of some key contemporary artists.

Professor Jos Hackforth-Jones is an Australian art historian who has worked mainly in the UK.  She spent 16 years at Richmond The American International University in London, completing her tenure as their first woman president.  In 2008 she became Director of Sotheby’s Institute of Art.  In November 2019, Jos returned to Australia where she has been teaching ‘British Art and Empire’ in the Department of Art History and Film Studies at the University of Sydney

Friday 26th May 2023
Presented by Leslie Primo
Venue and Time: The School of Arts Wentworth Falls.  Arrive 1.30pm for 2pm start.​​

In this lecture Leslie will begin by tracing Vermeer’s origins, his early training and influences, and how he came to the genre of painting domestic interiors. The lecture will then look at his earliest known paintings and how he gradually migrated to the genre of domestic set-piece paintings we know him for today. Leslie will also take us on the ups and downs of his career right up to the present day.

Leslie Primo holds a BA in Art History and MA in Renaissance Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London. He was Visiting Lecturer in Art History at the University of Reading in 2005 and 2007, and gives lectures and guided tours, plus special talks, at London’s National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. He also lectures at the City Literary Institute and has presented a series of talks at the National Maritime Museum and the Courtauld Institute.

Friday 23rd June 2023
Presented by Kathleen Olive
Venue and Time: The School of Arts Wentworth Falls.  Arrive 1.30pm for 2pm start.​​​

Expanses of raked white gravel. Iconic trees – pines, maples, gingko – carefully twisted and pruned into dynamic and sometimes torturous shapes. The soothing drip of water onto stone. The autumn light shining through richly coloured leaves. When you deconstruct them, the elements of a Japanese garden seem so simple that they’re almost banal, yet their combined effect is undeniably engaging and soothing. In this talk, Kathleen will investigate the historic roots of Japanese garden design that, like much of the country’s art tradition, developed in isolation from European influence and thus preserves something quintessentially “Japanese”.

Kathleen’s PhD was a study of artisanal culture in Renaissance Florence, through the lens of a goldsmith’s commonplace book known as the Codex Rustici. She lived and studied in Italy for a number of years, and then taught Italian language, literature and history at the University of Sydney. Kathleen now works with Academy Travel, leading tours to Europe and, particularly, Italy.

Friday 21st July 2023
Presented by Jacqui Ansell
Venue and Time: The School of Arts Wentworth Falls.  Arrive 1.30pm for 2pm start.​​​​

Travelling through mainland Europe on an extended ‘Grand Tour’ was the latest fashion amongst 18th century aristocrats. Many men (and some women) were lured by the thought of obtaining the latest fashions.

Gentlemen returning to London with new manners, dress and deportment were sometimes scorned as fops or ‘Macaronis’ (the ‘dandies of their day’). Jacqui will explore this phenomenon through contemporary paintings, letters, and satirical prints

Jacqui Ansell is a senior lecturer at Christie’s Education, London.  She has an MA in History of Dress from the Courtauld Institute, was formerly an Education Officer at the National Gallery, London, and a tutor and writer for the Open University. She continues to lecture regularly at the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery in London and to publish on dress as a cultural marker and indicator of class, gender, national and professional identity.

Friday 25 August 2023
Presented by Chloe Sayer
Venue and Time: The School of Arts Wentworth Falls.  Arrive 1.30pm for 2pm start.​​​​

In this lecture Chloe will be looking at Tenochtitlan, the shimmering Aztec city, which was built on a lake. This Venice of the New World, with a population of 250,000 inhabitants, lay at the heart of a vast empire. Religion dominated every aspect of Aztec life. Military might was accompanied by exceptional developments in art and architecture. Aztec creativity found expression in miniature gold objects, fine ceramics, monumental stone sculpture, exquisite turquoise mosaics, feather work, and precious pictorial manuscripts.

Chloë Sayer, based in London, is an independent scholar, author and curator, specialising in the art and culture of Latin America. In 2016 the Mexican Government awarded her the prestigious Ohtli medal to thank her for her long-standing commitment to Mexican culture. As well as undertaking fieldwork and curating exhibitions, she is also widely published on Latin American art and culture.


Friday 22nd September 2023
Presented by Kathy McLauchlan
Venue and Time: The School of Arts Wentworth Falls.  Arrive 1.30pm for 2pm start.​​​​

Many stories are told about Degas, his attitudes and his work. This talk seeks to unpick myth from reality, pointing out the strange, even contradictory nature of Degas’ work. We concentrate on portraits and domestic scenes from the 1860s, quite early on in Degas’ career, when he was still in search of an artistic identity. Is there a logical explanation for these unsettling compositions, or is Degas engaged in an elaborate game with his viewers?

Kathy McLauchlan is a course director at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, organising courses, study days and publishing on the history of art and design. She is a graduate of Oxford University and the Courtauld Institute.

Friday 27th October 2023
Presented by Gillian Hovell
Venue and Time: The School of Arts Wentworth Falls.  Arrive 1.30pm for 2pm start.​​​​

One hundred years ago, on 26th November 1922, Howard Carter opened Tutankhamun’s tomb and he entered the boy king’s burial chamber itself for the first time on 16 February 1923.  With Gillian as our archaeologist guide, we glimpse the adventure of discovery, find out how this young Pharaoh lived at a wealthy but dramatic and tense time in Egypt, and enter his remarkable world through an archaeologist’s fascinating view of the ‘wonderful things’ that were found.

After graduating in Latin and Ancient History from Exeter University, Gillian Hovell is an award-winning freelance author, international public speaker & broadcaster, specialising in archaeology, prehistory and the Greek and Roman eras. She lectures at York University and has spoken at the British Museum. Having led and supported community archaeology projects in a hands-on way, Gillian now actively digs at major sites, including Orkney’s prehistoric Ness of Brodgar to Roman Pompeii and Vindolanda.