Postal Address:

ADFAS Cairns
33 Boden Street

Membership enquiries:

ABN: 95 113 690 226

Committee 2022

Lynn Caskey
Ph: 0414 125 100

Jo Hodgson
Ph: 0427 854 461  

Membership Enquiries:
Jenni Campbell

Cairns is the Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and has the Daintree National Park for its backyard.  Where the Rainforest Meets the Reef is the tourism catch phrase.  With a population of more than 160,000 the city spreads from the residential Northern Beaches south to cane farms and banana fields.  The Royal Australian Navy has a Patrol Boat Base in the Portsmith industrial area on Trinity Inlet.  The Cape York Peninsula communities are supplied by sea and air services.  Shipbuilding and Luxury Yacht refits are local businesses in Cairns and export shipping of refined sugar from local mills.

The city has many tourist and cultural attractions: art galleries, museum, aquarium, indigenous arts festival, and other ethnic celebrations including Chinese and Indian festivities that showcase their vibrant cultures.

ADFAS Cairns is a small, but enthusiastic society, having celebrated our 25th Anniversary in 2021.  We welcome anyone who wants to know more about the Arts in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere with similar-minded people.  Enjoy social and cultural opportunities throughout the year which include eight illustrated talks by expert speakers in their field.

Monthly illustrated talks are conducted at:

Cairns Sheridan Hotel
295 Sheridan Street,
Cairns North, Queensland
Entry via McLeod Street, next to Dunwoody’s Tavern. Monday 7:15  for a 7:30 pm start. Ample on-street parking.
Tickets available at the door.

Annual Membership Fee (includes 8 lectures)         $135
Membership Renewal                                                  $130.00 includes one Guest Pass per year
Non-member (per lecture)                                           $25

Membership Enquiries: Jenni Campbell    Email:


7 March 2022
Kenneth Park
The Sheridan Room  Cairns Sheridan Hotel  7:30 pm

From art to automobiles – in this lecture we examine the incredibly talented Bugatti family, well known for their extraordinary contributions in art and design.  Carlo was an important Art Nouveau artist, designer, and decorator. His two sons were just as talented; Ettore would establish a reputation as an automobile designer and manufacturer, and Rembrandt was a renowned sculptor. Today the world is richer in so many ways,  through the efforts of generations of the Bugatti family who excelled in making brilliant art and design.

KENNETH W PARK was Curator of Collections at Wesley College, Melbourne for over thirty years where he was responsible for the school’s extensive art and archival collections. Kenneth consults in both the corporate and public sectors in philanthropic fundraising (bequeasts) as well as marketing, sponsorship, art, membership and public relations. An avid traveller, tour leader and lecturer. He lives by the motto: ‘Life is a grand tour so make the most of it’.

11 April 2022
Dr. Peter McNeil
The Sheridan Room, Cairns Sheridan Hotel  7:30 pm

Macaroni men were the swaggering big-haired, sharply dressed show-offs of the last thirty years of the 18th century. But they’re not the same as a dandy.  Macaroni men were cosmopolitan in outlook and had often been on the Grand Tour. Hear about Charles James Fox, famed politician; Richard Cosway, miniature-portrait painter to the Prince Regent; ‘Soubise’, a freed slave; Rev. William Dodd, court preacher and ‘white collar’ criminal. And finally Sir Joseph Banks, who was satirised as a macaroni. This social tumult was amplified by the burgeoning British satirical print industry, the perfect lens through which to capture macaroni men and their manners.

Dr PETER McNEIL FAHA is Distinguished Professor of Design History at UTS. From 2008-2018 he lived and worked in three countries, being Foundation Professor of Fashion Studies in Sweden and Academy of Finland Distinguished Professor, Helsinki. His book ‘Pretty Gentlemen’, was published by Yale University Press in 2018. Award-winning shows include ‘Dressing Sydney’ (2012-2013) with the Sydney Jewish Museum, and a travelling exhibition ‘Reigning Men’ (2016-18) in Los Angeles.  

9 May 2022
Gavin Fry
The Sheridan Room, Cairns Sheridan Hotel  7:30 pm

Kenneth Jack was one of Australia’s most popular and successful artists of the second half of the 20th century, yet to today his name is missing from the art record and creates no interest in academic circles.  Can you be too popular and too successful?  Take a journey around Australia with an artist of vision, integrity, and technical virtuosity.  A child prodigy who took to art at an early age, Kenneth Jack excelled as a painter, printmaker, and teacher for more than sixty years.

GAVIN FRY is a writer, artist, and museum professional with fifty years of experience working in curatorial and management positions in Australian museums, galleries, and educational institutions.  He is the author of twenty-five books on Australian art and history and many catalogue and journal essays.  In retirement Gavin returned to his art training and exhibits as a painter in Newcastle and Melbourne.  Working as a professional writer, he also designs and publishes books on behalf of other writers and artists.  Gavin holds the degrees of Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and Master of Arts from Monash University and Master of Philosophy from Leicester University.

​20 June 2022
SUNLIGHT AND SENSUALITY: Bohemian Paris in Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party
Sylvia Sagona
The Sheridan Room, Cairns Sheridan Hotel 7:30 pm

This talk considers how Renoir captures the joie de vivre of a lazy summer lunch on the banks of the Seine at the restaurant La Fournaise. It describes the techniques whereby we sense that we can almost feel the breeze, smell the fruit, touch the dog’s coat, and hear the animated chatter of a group of artistic friends. This talk discusses this painting in context, and explores its legacy, especially how this carefree sensual image of inter–class mingling deliberately erases the recent trauma of the Commune of 1871 and heralds the beginning of the Belle Epoque.

SYLVIA SAGONA studied Classics and French at the University of Melbourne, and gained her Maitrise-ès-Letttres in Comparative Art and Literature and qualifications in Sociology in Aix-en-Provence. While in France, she lectured at the Université de Provence and at the Ecole Nationale des Etrangers d’Aix -en-Provence. After living in Italy and Spain, she returned to the University of Melbourne, where she specialised in nineteenth century French art and literature and Italian Romanticism.

1 August 2022
WHITE GUMS AND RAMOXES: The Ceramics of Merric and Arthur Boyd
Dr. Grace Cochrane  AM
The Sheridan Room, Cairns Sheridan Hotel 7:30 pm

This talk traces the development of the touring 2009 exhibition, White gums and ramoxes, from the Bundanon Trust Collection, the property which Arthur and Yvonne Boyd gifted to the people of Australia in 1993. The exhibition takes its title from two characteristic motifs in the ceramic work of Arthur Boyd (1920-1999) and his father, Merric Boyd (1888-1959). The presentation looks at considering the collection, finding a theme, discovering related paintings, drawings and prints, and deciding that the exhibition was about the relationship between Arthur and his father, through their work. It gives insights into the work behind the scenes, the fascinating mysteries unravelled, and what the exhibition looked like in different venues.

Before 2005 Grace Cochrane was a senior curator of Australian decorative arts and design at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Author of The Crafts Movement in Australia: a History (NSW University Press, 1992), and for over 45 years she has spoken and written about crafts and design, and been a board member of professional organisations. Grace holds a BFA, MFA (1984, 1986) and PhD (1999) from the University of Tasmania. She received the Australia Council’s VACB Emeritus medal in 2001, and awarded an AM in 2013.

​29 August 2022
Jolyon Warwick James
The Sheridan Room, Cairns Sheridan Hotel 7:30 pm

To avoid forgeries, we need to know what they are, and what form they can take. In this lecture, we examine why people fake silver and what forms of faking there are; what is not fake – but though legal, may still be highly undesirable; what part Hallmarking plays in preventing faking; and the weapons used in the war against the fakers! While initially a British perspective is taken, coverage includes all countries. What may be considered a fake in one country may not be so regarded in another. We look at examples and discuss certain well-known cases and instances of forging and methods of detecting them.

JOLYON JAMES is a professional consultant on antique silver, based in Sydney. Educated at London University, he has acted as a lecturer, valuer/appraiser, and adviser on English, European, Colonial and other silver with museums, auction houses, Government bodies, collectors, and educational organisations within Australia and overseas. He has published widely on international silver collections and practices, including a reference manual on Australian gold and silver hallmarks.

26 September 2022
Le CHATEAU de VAUX-le-VICOMTE: Too Magnificent for a King?
John Broadley
The Sheridan Room, Cairns Sheridan Hotel 7:30 pm

This lecture considers the fortunes of the Chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte. Completed in 1661 for Nicolas Fouquet for a grand fete in honour of King Louis XIV, the building conversely led to the owner being jailed for the remainder of his life and the confiscation of the château. Louis XIV subsequently built a grand palace at Versailles so that none of his subjects could ever outshine the king. This lecture will look at Nicolas Fouquet, the rivalries that led to his downfall, and subsequent owners and occupants of the château. It will also include a detailed tour of the château and a look at how its current owners deal with managing one of the most significant privately-owned estates of Europe.

JOHN BROADLEY is a historian of Australian colonial architecture, French culture, and relationships between Australia and Europe.  He holds an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies from Charles Sturt University.  John has worked in conjunction with heritage architects on conservation management programs for numerous significant heritage properties in New South Wales and has published on the historic houses of New South Wales.

24 October 2022
Art in the Infinite Sky
Dr. Sam Bowker
The Sheridan Room, Cairns Sheridan Hotel 7:30 pm

Artists, architects and cartographers have worked with scientists to describe and predict the movements of celestial objects. Through their pursuit of knowledge they created extraordinary artworks. This lecture will survey some of the most remarkable astronomical artefacts from the early modern period, including Indigenous Australian, Indian, Islamic and Renaissance astrological charts, astrolabes, armillary spheres and orreries, as exquisite relics from the history of art and science.

Dr Sam Bowker is the Senior Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture at Charles Sturt University, where he is also the Sub Dean of Graduate Research. Beyond developing Australia’s leading ‘Islamic art and design’ subject for university students, he has curated diverse international exhibitions and published widely on the history of khayamiya (Egyptian tentmaker applique).