Brisbane River

Postal Address:

ADFAS Brisbane River
PO Box 259
Virginia BC QLD 4014


ABN: 21 339 806 033

ADFAS Brisbane River will this year provide a diverse programme of eight fully illustrated lectures given, this year, by Australian based lecturers all chosen for their communication skills and expert knowledge in their fields.

Our annual membership fee provides access to the eight lectures, which are followed by friendly conversation and refreshments, and to the special Christmas Morning Tea following the Annual General Meeting.

Anyone with an interest in the arts or who wishes to develop an interest in the arts is very welcome.  No prior knowledge is needed and the lectures are very accessible.   Our friendly members all have one thing in common – an interest in learning more about the arts.

We regret that we currently have no membership vacancies available but we do have a waiting list for future membership opportunities.

Committee 2021

Greg Vickery
Ph: 0419 707 416

Vice Chairman:
Judy Winston Smith
Ph: 0409 617 973

Terry Cronin
Ph: (07) 3870 8799


Ken Roberts
Ph: 0419 383 938

Membership Secretary:
Chris Rylands
Ph: 0404 875 309

Membership Enquiries:


The State Library of Queensland has an approved COVID19 Plan and will make changes to that plan according to Queensland Government regulations current at that time. Members may be required to pre-book for both the lecture AND morning tea separately. Members may also be asked on arrival at the SLQ to provide their names and contact details. We ask those attending to arrive early to avoid queuing and, at the SLQ, use sanitiser, practise social distancing and move directly to Auditorium 1.  Please do not attend a lecture if you are feeling unwell; have a fever, cough, sore throat or any other cold or flu like symptoms; have been in contact with a person who has a reported or suspected case of Covid-19; have visited a Covid-19 hotspot within the past 14 days. Due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID19 pandemic, circumstances may change at short notice.

12 March 2021
Jenny Bowker  BVA (Hons)

Tentmaker work is brilliantly coloured appliqué, and it is usually men who make it. The name comes from the fact that the work used to line tents or screens covered in appliqué that could line a whole street, or define an area for a wedding, a party or a funeral. The designs are intricate and beautiful. Some are designed on paper-fold principles, others derived from Mosque floors or door decorations, or from wall panels in Pharaonic tombs. Some are based on Koranic calligraphy.  The art is dying. Its connection with funerals deems it unlucky to put inside a house. The work is seen as the work of labourers, and is not admired or respected. Imitation printed fabric is made now printed in Egypt on long-lasting synthetic fabric to replace work made by the Tentmakers. There were about 255 excellent stitchers in 1979. There are now perhaps only about 45 of the master stitchers left, and while many work in the back streets they are rarely doing their own design work.  Jenny lived for four years in Cairo and worked closely with the Egyptian Tentmakers. She has led many International Exhibitions with the Tentmakers in order to keep their art alive.

Jenny Bowker has been working with textiles since receiving her Bachelor of Visual Arts (Hons) from ANU, Canberra.   Married to a diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Jennifer has been fortunate to live for a total of eleven years in Middle Eastern countries. A noted Quilter her solo exhibitions have been held in the U.K., Australia and the Middle East. Jennifer has also lectured in countries where she has travelled, and is a sought-after lecturer at Quilt Conventions and Universities.

9 April 2021

For the Greeks, to see the marvellous was to touch the divine.   The Greeks loved stories about fabulous works of nature and feats of engineering, and compiled many lists of “must see” monuments.   This lecture focuses on the most famous of these catalogues of marvels, the Seven Wonders of the World.   It describes the various monuments on this list and why they were so important.   It also looks at the mentality of the ancient tourist that came to visit them and the industry that grew up to support their endeavour.

Professor Alastair Blanshard is the inaugural Paul Eliadis Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Queensland.  Alastair ‘grew up’ in Brisbane, where he was an undergraduate before heading off to Cambridge to undertake his doctoral studies.  Following his studies in Cambridge, he was a college lecturer at Merton College, Oxford and taught at the University of Reading. Prior to returning to Australia in 2005 to take up a position at the University of Sydney, Alastair held visiting fellowships at the Centre for Hellenic Studies in Washington and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He is the author of a number of books including Hercules: An Heroic Life; Sex: Vice and Love from Antiquity to Modernity, and Classics on Screen: The representation of Greece and Rome in Cinema. His most recent book is entitled All the Matters in the Classical World.  Alastair hosts a weekly radio slot on Sydney’s 2GB discussing the relationship between the ancient and modern world.

21 May 2021
IAN FAIRWEATHER: An Artist Scholar Before His Time

Ian Fairweather (1891-1974) is a much loved Australian artist who created a distinct style of modern art during his lifetime. His life as a so-called hermit has overshadowed his scholarly background in studying art at London’s Slade School whilst also studying Japanese and Chinese at the University of London, and then learning Mandarin and calligraphy whilst living in China, and Aboriginal rock art whilst living in northern Australia. Fairweather was also widely travelled around the world. This lecture looks closely at his artworks to understand how this ‘international intelligence’ informs Fairweather’s art and how his international perspective was well before its time.

Dr Sally Butler is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Queensland and formerly a Senior Education Officer at the Queensland Art Gallery and an Associate Editor and feature writer for Art Collectormagazine. She has published widely in Australian and international journals and several books.  Sally is the author and curator of the 2007 publication and international touring exhibition titled Our Way, Contemporary Aboriginal Art from Lockhart River and is one of the editors of the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Art. She was editor of the book Fully Exploited Labour, Pat Hoffie, 2008 and author of a book chapter on the Arnhem Land artist John Mawurndjul.  She is also a former Associate Editor of Australian Art Collector Magazine.  Other curatorial projects include Sensing the Surface, the photographic art of Carl Warner, and the Queensland/New South Wales touring exhibition Capricornia, Between the Sublime and the Spectacular – an exhibition featuring the work of another Australian contemporary photographer, Shane Fitzgerald.

11 June 2021
(Hamlet’s advice to the Players. Hamlet Act 3. Scene2)
Prof Robert KETTON

A great speech has the power to engage, inspire and stimulate. With due consideration to context, Robert will explore what makes a speech memorable. Illustrating his lecture with performance and readings, Robert looks not only at the content, but also at various styles of delivery and rhetoric.  Why is it that some speeches have been credited with changing the course of history? What is it that elevates some speeches from the mundane to the eloquent?  By examining the language used, and by acknowledging the debt owed by many leaders to great speeches from literature, Robert takes a forensic look at why words can galvanize people to take action.

Prof Robert Ketton was a Lecturer in Theatre at the University of Southern Queensland.  Over thirty-three years Robert taught acting and directed dozens of plays for the university’s Performance Centre.  Since that time Robert has worked for GP Connections and Medicare local.  In 2011 he established “Floodlight” a federal government funded organisation aimed at helping flood victims.  Robert has a number of published books and plays and is currently working on an illustrated children’s book with his artist wife, Catherine.

16 July 2021
PEARLS: Dewdrops From The Ocean
Charlotte NATTEY  National Diploma of Design (Dress)

A look at many aspects of pearls; the myths and legends surrounding them, their use throughout the ages in art and the meanings that have been bestowed on them.  Pearls, which seem to appear as if by magic from the sea, have fascinated man for millennia.  They have bewitched many cultures and it was the Hindus who considered them dewdrops from the ocean – the myth goes into greater detail but that will be in the talk! Pearls have been harvested from temperate seas around the world.  That harvest was dangerous and difficult and, as a result, pearls have always been expensive and desirable.  Thousands of oysters are discarded for the discovery of one natural pearl.  From Persia to Rome, Byzantium, Europe, India and China pearls have been used in jewellery and objects to enhance and decorate the powerful and wealthy.  Today everyone can afford a strand of costume pearls but this was not always so and this talk will trace the history and romance of pearls through objects, jewellery and their depiction in paintings.

Charlotte Nattey studied art and music in Florence and is also a graduate of St. Martins School of Art, London, in design, majoring in fashion and dress.  She lived in Rome and worked as a designer in the couture dress trade for “Fernanda Gattinoni” and as a freelance dress designer for Simonetta, Pucci and other couture houses.  She has been a designer for London couture fashion houses including Belinda Belville and Spectator Sports, as well as for major fashion houses in Sydney.  Charlotte now maintains her own business, importing antique jewellery and antique sterling silver between the UK and Australia.  She is an ADFAS member, having served National Chairman.  During the Gold and Civilization Exhibition at the National Museum of Australia Charlotte was invited to give her talk Fashion and Fortune.  Her interests encompass the fields of decorative and fine arts, antiques, gardens, music and fashion, with a fascination for design and its influence on our lives.

13 August 2021
Benjamin GILMOUR

Jirga premiered at the 2018 Sydney Film Festival and screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival, the Adelaide Film Festival and CinefestOz, where it won the Best Film Prize.  Internationally it has screened at the New Zealand Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and the Tallinn Black Nights film festivals, amongst others.  Jirga was released theatrically internationally and was chosen as Australia’s submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for the 91st Academy Awards.  The script won the 2019 NSW Premier’s Literary Award (Betty Roland Prize) for Screenwriting.

“This movie is undeniably a remarkable achievement” The New York Times.

In two months in Afghanistan, Benjamin Gilmour and actor Sam Smith filmed for roughly 20 days.  As he worked on the film back in Australia, Gilmour decided it was time to move out of the city and work part-time as a paramedic so he relocated his family to the NSW north coast.  Two years on from the shoot, Gilmour admitted that Smith’s fears in Afghanistan were legitimate. “I would not have been surprised if we’d have been dragged out of our hotel and shot,” he says.  But while praising the courage of Smith and the Afghans who worked on the film, Gilmour insists they were never reckless.  “I think I’m more streetwise than that,” he says. “There are a lot of transferable skills and knowledge from the paramedic world to this kind of filmmaking – situational awareness, being able to read people and read situations, having a really good instinct for when things are turning in [the wrong] direction.”

The more Benjamin Gilmour talks, the more it’s clear how much Jirga is fuelled by the idealism he showed when he volunteered with Mother Teresa as a teenager. “I haven’t given up on the world,” Gilmour says. “As terrible as the state of the world appears to be to most people, I’d like to think we have hope.  And I’ve always believed that if your intentions are noble, if you’re working towards an important goal of social change or helping your fellow human, that you have an element of divine protection.”  He smiles.  “Even my atheist friends are convinced I have a guardian angel.”

10 September 2021

Today the rich history of women’s participation in Australia’s public cultural life, working across all artistic fields, is becoming increasingly understood, acknowledged, and even celebrated. This recognition is not always without hesitations and qualifications, but Julie will argue that, finally, the way that women participate in the public domain is now becoming… well, almost normal, expected.  This lecture considers what Australia’s women artists are making and doing today, in major solo and group exhibitions, but also as teachers, advocates and mentors.  Who are the major figures?  What are the latest developments in women’s work as artists?  Are there specifically feminine subjects and mediums? What does it mean for an artist to consider herself (or himself) a feminist?  These questions have been debated in Australia, and internationally, for over 100 years, so this is an opportunity to review what artists as various as Anne Ferran (NSW), Destiny Deacon (Victoria), Emily Floyd (Victoria), Agatha Gothe-Snape (NSW), Lindy Lee (NSW), Justene Williams (NSW), Elvis Richardson (NSW), Ruby Williamson (South Australia) and Judith Wright (Queensland) are contributing to Australian cultural life, and to these debates.

Julie Ewington specialises in contemporary Australian art across all media and contemporary art from Southeast Asia.  She has held curatorial positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and the Canberra School of Art Gallery and for many years she taught art history in Australian universities including as Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, Australian National University.  Between 2001-14 Julie was Head of Australian Art at Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane.  In 2014, she received the Australia Council’s Visual Arts Award to honour her achievements as a curator, writer, and advocate for the visual arts.  Since 2014 Julie has been a writer of catalogue essays, and reviews for journals, exhibition curator and broadcaster based in Sydney.  An authority on contemporary Australian art, especially art by women, and contemporary art from Southeast Asia, she has held both academic and curatorial positions, always focusing on contemporary art.  Julie’s interests extend from feminism to cosmopolitanism, from installation to jewellery, from museum projects to cultural resistance.

8 October 2021
THE BOOK OF KELLS:  Its History, Mystery and Wonder

The Book of Kells, circa 800 B.C., is Ireland’s National Treasure housed in Trinity College, Dublin.  It is said to be “the work of angels…”.  Gemma Black discusses the history, illuminations, calligraphy, pigments, tools and the background of the book that she was invited by the National Gallery of Australia to prepare and present for the NGA exhibition “Art of Illumination”. This beautifully illustrated lecture informs, educates and stimulates.  It is an excellent opportunity for those interested in books, book history and calligraphy to delve into the past and learn some of the history, mystery and wonder of this astonishing manuscript.

Gemma Black is a calligrapher, an artist and teacher with works housed in private and public collections including The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK, The European Parliament, Letterform Archive San Francisco and Parliament House Canberra.  Her love of calligraphy history and the evolution of the Western alphabet from the Roman period to the 21st century keeps her research interests ongoing.  Gemma has presented her highly polished and entertaining lectures, to audiences throughout Australia and around the world.

Friday 3 December – 10.30am

Queensland Terrace,
State Library of Qld                       
(RSVP by 26 November)



The State Library of Queensland, Stanley Place, South Brisbane.
Please be seated by 10.25am as sessions begin at 10.30am sharp


In order to comply with COVED19 regulations we are unable to accommodate Guests in 2021.


The annual membership subscription is $200.00