Postal Address:

ADFAS Cairns
PO Box 807
Bungalow Qld 4870

Membership enquiries:

ABN: 95 113 690 226

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 talks per year. Two subjects are presented by ADFAS speakers, the remaining six by The Arts Society UK presenters; all experts in their field. Our 2021 talks inform and illustrate Persian quilting and culture, ancient Greek art, Australian art, Turner’s technique, French jewel houses, film making, and contemporary New Zealand art; the usual to the unusual and more. In the last twenty four 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. This year all speakers will be Australian.  Everyone is welcome to attend the talks, but better still, why not become a member and enjoy the benefits.

Monthly illustrated talks are conducted at:

Cairns Sheridan Hotel
295 Sheridan Street,
Cairns North, Queensland
Time: 7.30pm sharp – doors open at 7pm.
Tickets available at the door.
Off street parking available. 

A light supper with the opportunity to meet the speaker is enjoyed at the end of each lecture.

Annual Membership Fee (includes 8 lectures)         $135
Non-member (per lecture)                                           $25
Student (per lecture)                                                    $20

Committee 2021

Lynn Caskey
Ph: 0414 125 100

Jo Hodgson
Ph: 0427 854 461


Paul Campbell
Ph: 0417 744 387

Membership Secretary:
Jenni Campbell
Ph: 0408 883 144


22 March 2021
August in Iran in a Headscarf
Jenny Bowker

Jenny spent one month teaching in Iran for the Ministry of Education. She will speak about sewing in this fascinating and almost closed society, and the richness of patterning innate to the culture of the Persian people. The course was designed to work from Islamic patterns rather than anything identified with the west.

12 April 2021
Art, Desire and Beauty in Ancient Greece
Prof. Alastair Blanshard

To be an “art lover” in the ancient world was a dangerous business.   Art could arouse the most violent passions and unbalance the mind.   According to early Christian writers, there was something almost demonic about the emotion that classical art could inspire.   This lecture examines how different viewers reacted to art in the Greek and Roman worlds.   It is a story about competitive artists, mad patrons, and seductive models.    Above all, it is a story about the pursuit of beauty and the costs associated with such a quest.

31 May 2021
Australian Place-Makers
Dr. Sally Butler

We love the land because a sense of place stirs the imagination to mesh experiences, memories, dreams, and values. This lecture examines particular artistic techniques that some of Australia’s most iconic artists have used to capture a sense of place in their work. Themes included are Lawrence Daws’ symbolism of the Glass House Mountains, Mavis Ngallametta’s vitalisation of Aurukun wetlands, Fred Williams’ perspectivism of gum-tree bushland, Albert Namatjira’s animation of Central Australia, and Jeffrey Smart’s love-hate psychology of city-scapes.

21 June 2021
Turner – The Explorer
Robert Ketton and Catherine Ketton

Whilst Robert talks about the life and times of JMW Turner, Catherine will take to the easel with oil paint, rags, scrapers and brush to give us a glimpse of Turner’s style and technique. Turner lived at a time of great social change and scientific invention. More than anyone else he recorded, in thousands of works of art, the transition of Britain from a rural to an industrial society. Turner was a fascinating character, secretive, driven, penny pinching and generous, chaotic in his private life and fiercely patriotic.  He is regarded as one of the greatest nineteenth century painters, and his works are exhibited in galleries the world over. His likeness appears on the twenty pound note a tribute that would have appealed to his vanity but contradicted his need for anonymity.

19 July 2021
French Jewel Houses From 1900
Patricia Law  The Arts Society UK

This lecture follows the stylistic developments and trends of the major French Jewel houses such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Boucheron. It looks in detail at their designs, manufacture and their use of gemstones and how this was affected and influenced by the events of the twentieth century. From the graceful and light Belle Epoque, through the colour and excitement of the Twenties, to the sombre and monochrome of the Depression in the thirties, and all with their individual and evocative styles.

8 August 2021
Jirga – Life in Afghanistan
Benjamin Gilmour

In two months in Afghanistan, Benjamin Gilmour and 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. Two years on from the shoot, Gilmour admits that Smith’s fears in Afghanistan were legitimate. Gilmour insists they were never reckless. “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.”

23 August 2021
Jeffrey Smart – His Art and Influence
Dr. Nick Gordon 

Jeffrey Smart remains one of Australia’s most endearing modern artists, and the quiet stillness captured in many of his works is instantly recognisable. The playfulness this formal analysis reveals stems from his diverse influences, including Renaissance masters such as Piero della Francesca, to the giants of modernism such as Cézanne, and his teachers, Dorrit Black and Fernand Léger.

20 September 2021
Art Across the Ditch: New Zealand Contemporary Art
Julie Ewington

There are many points of comparison between Australian and New Zealand art and culture, but also many differences. Contemporary art in New Zealand is rich, complex and fascinating, and deserves to be better known in this country. This lecture examines key themes in current art from our nearest English-speaking neighbour, from the brilliance of contemporary Māori expressions to the deep-seated love of landscape shared by Māori and Pakeha New Zealanders. Starting from the exceptional works of Colin McCahon (1919-1987) New Zealand’s leading modern painter, the lecture considers the remarkable work of artists practicing today, including Bill Culbert, Warwick Freeman, Anne Noble, Fiona Pardington, Michael Parekowhai, Lisa Reihana and Robin White.

18 October 2021
The Book of Kells
Gemma Black

Its History, mystery & wonder Gemma Black presents a highly polished and entertaining look at Ireland’s national treasure the Book of Kells. Gemma was invited by the National Gallery of Australia to prepare and present this lecture on the calligraphy and illumination, pigments and tools therein and the background to the Book of Kells upon its highly acclaimed visit to Australia in the year 2000. Gemma worked in conjunction with Susie Bioletti (head of conservation NGA now Trinity College), on the tools and pigments component of the Book of Kells and the Art of Illumination blockbuster exhibition held at the National Gallery where over 81,000 visitors experienced this exciting event. Since then Gemma has presented this lecture, among others, to audiences throughout Australia and around the world. This one hour illustrated lecture with images taken from her original lecture, informs, educates and stimulates. It is an excellent opportunity for those interested in books, book history and calligraphy to delve further into the past and learn some of the history and the mystery of this astonishing manuscript.