Molonglo Plains (Queanbeyan)

Postal Address:

ADFAS Molonglo Plains
PO Box 1005
Queanbeyan NSW 2620

ABN: 23 803 895 180

ADFAS Molonglo Plains was established in 2014 for those rural and regional members who prefer daytime travel. In 2022 the lectures will continue to be held in the Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) Bicentennial Hall Queanbeyan. As there is still some uncertainty about UK lecturers being able to travel around Australia in 2022 we have sourced an excellent range of Australian based lecturers. We bring to our members 8 lectures from experienced arts professionals, presenting informal illustrated lectures to explain and entertain.

Molonglo Plains continues to support the Young Arts Program and the annual ADFAS scholarship to a mid-career conservator as part of our contribution to the National ADFAS heritage preservation program.

Committee 2022

Lucy Costas
Ph: 0437 538 529

Susie Ryrie
Ph: 0419 691 505

Membership Secretary:
Chris Costas
Ph: 0412 456 527

Membership Enquiries:


10 March 2022
The Tent Makers of Old Cairo
Jenny Bowker BVA (Hons) OA

Jenny has an Arts Degree (Visual) from the Australian National University Canberra, she has lived in Papua New Guinea, Syria, Malaysia, Jordan, Israel and Egypt.

Tentmaker work is brilliantly coloured applique, made to decorate the inside of tents, define an area for a Ramadan feeding table, a wedding, a henna party or a funeral and usually made by men from the street in a 16th century part of Cairo.  In its original form it was not usually intended to be fine beautiful work, but it has evolved into forms that are truly spectacular.

In this lecture Jenny will talk about design systems used to make the work, the design origins and the history of the work, some social problems for the workers and techniques they use.

12 April 2022
Special Interest Morning(SIM) in conjunction with ADFAS Canberra
The Fabric of Society: Australia’s Quilt Heritage from Convict Times to 1960
Dr. Annette Gero 

To be held at the Bicentennial Hall, 253 Crawford Street, Queanbeyan NSW At 11 am, for approximately 2½ hours, including a morning tea break.
Cost: $45 for members, $50 for guests/visitors.

Dr. Annette Gero is an international quilt historian. She was awarded her PhD in 1982 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (London) in 1986.

Dr. Gero has collected quilts worldwide, exhibiting and lecturing at major museums and galleries as well as publishing many papers and books. Among her books is “Wartime Quilts: Appliques and Geometric Masterpieces from Military Fabrics from 300 BC to WWII.” Also, the subject of this lecture, she co-authored with Kim Mclean, “The Fabric of Society: Australia’s Quilt Heritage from Convict Times to 1960.”

Australia has a rich and diverse heritage in patchwork quilts: This lecture will show that quilts were made by convict women under the guidance of Elizabeth Fry, by Governors wives, by gold rush immigrants, WWI diggers, people from the depression, WWII prisoners of war, rabbit trappers and finally Mum.

This lecture not only reflects the quilts found but also the social history of countless ordinary people. The thread that holds this patchwork of Australian history together is that each story told includes the making of a quilt.

Following morning tea Dr. Gero will talk about the display of quilts from her collection and take questions.

14 April 2022
Those Mitford Girls
Susannah Fullerton

Born into the ranks of the minor aristocracy and educated at home by eccentric and perennially cash-strapped parents, the Mitford sisters became writers and socialites, biographers and essayists who shocked, amused and fascinated Britain in the mid-20th century.  Jessica, who wrote Hons and Rebels and The American Way of Death was a communist and human rights activist,  Unity sympathised with the Nazis and worshipped Hitler, Nancy’s Love in a Cold Climate characters had a reckless upper class Bohemianism and were determined to find life amusing at all costs, Diana became the most hated woman in Britain during World War II and Debo became a Duchess. In this lecture Susannah look at the lives and works of these unconventional sisters.

19 May 2022
Ian Fairweather
Sally Butler

Sally is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Queensland, formerly was a Senior Education Officer at the Queensland Art Gallery and an Associate Editor and feature writer for Art Collector magazine.  She has published widely in Australian and international journals and several books.

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 also travelled widely around the world.

In this lecture Sally looks closely at his artwork to understand how the ‘international intelligence’ informs Fairweather’s art and how his international perspective was well before his time.

16 June 2022
Poetry and Place
Dr Dianne Firth OAM

Canberra is designed to be a city of the landscape and its beauty is meant to be experienced.  Dr Firth is a landscape architect and textile artist and landscape inspires her art.  But how do artists working in different media such as poetry, respond to the experience of nature and landscape in Canberra?  To test this question Dr Firth invited local and international poets visiting Canberra for a poetry festival to write poetry that captured an aspect of their experience of nature and landscape in Canberra.  In response Dr Firth turned their poems into visual art for an exhibition at the Belconnen Arts Centre in 2017.In this lecture you will hear some of the poems from seven Australians and seven international poets, see Dr Firth’s visual response to them, and engage with the process.

21 July 2022
Dressing Sydney: The Jewish fashion story
Dr Peter McNeil FAHA

Dr Peter McNeil is Distinguished Professor of Design History at the University of Technology, Sydney. From 2008-18 he lived and worked in three countries, being Foundation Professor of Fashion Studies in Sweden and Academy of Finland Distinguished Professor, Helsinki.  He has worked with communities and museums around the world.  He is past president (2006-10) of the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand, representing Art History and Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Thousands of Jewish migrants fled Nazism and many arrived in Australia in the 1930’s and 40’s.  A large number worked in the clothing industry, many worked out of necessity but others brought entrepreneurial knowledge from Europe.  Many prospered others laboured hard, some failing.  Australia’s fashion knowledge acquired from Europe refocussed our wool industry into high quality knitwear, new styles, textiles and colours emerged.  A whole working class (Surrey Hills) was remade between the wars then transformed again in the 1980’s as our economy was restructured. 

In this lecture the focus is Sydney and the subplot is ‘Dressing Sydney’: The Jewish Fashion Story.

17 August 2022 (Wednesday)
Speak the Speech I Pray You
Prof Robert Ketton

Robert Ketton migrated to Australia in 1974 to help establish Theatre in Queensland Secondary Schools.  In 1976 he was appointed as a Lecturer in Theatre at the University of Southern Queensland. Over the next thirty-three years he taught acting and directed plays for the university’s Performance Centre.  Robert retired as a senior lecturer in acting in 2009.  Among other things Robert has published a number of books and plays and is currently working on an illustrated children’s book with his wife Catherine.

A great speech has the power to engage, inspire and stimulate. What makes a great speech? 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?

In this Lecture Robert will examine the language used, and by acknowledging the debt owed by many leaders to great speeches he takes forensic look at why words can galvanize people to take action.

15 September 2022
White Gums and Ramoxes: The ceramics of Merric and Arthur Boyd
Grace Cochrane AM

Now an independent curator and writer, until 2005 Grace Cochrane was a senior curator of Australian decorative arts and design at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. The author of The Crafts Movement in Australia: A History and for over 45 years has spoken about the crafts and design written for a range of publications, a board member of a number of professional organisations and spoken at many conferences. This lecture is the story of the development of the touring 2009 exhibition White Gums and Ramoxes from the Bundanon Trust Collection, the property 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 illustrated talk looks at considering the collection, deciding on 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 also gives insights into the work behind the scenes, the fascinating mysteries that were unravelled and what the exhibition looked like in a range of different venues.

27 October 2022
Two Women Paint the French Revolution
Peter McPhee OA 

Peter McPhee was appointed to a Personal Chair in History at the University of Melbourne in 1993.  He was Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost of the University from 2003 to 2009. Peter has published widely on the history of France during the tumultuous years of the French Revolution and its aftermath, he is a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Academy of Social Sciences. Peter has lectured to ADFAS societies for many years.

Two of the most prestigious and talented portraitists of the late eighteenth century were Adélaïde Labille-Guiard and the court painter Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun.  While the latter was appalled by the French Revolution and decided to flee as early as October 1789, Labille-Guiard stayed in Paris and painted the most prominent revolutionaries.  She bought a country house twelve miles east of the capital in 1792 to escape the turmoil, but never disavowed the revolution.

 In this lecture Peter outlines the lives and brilliant achievements of these two extraordinary women.


ADFAS Molonglo Plains lectures are currently held at the Queanbeyan Bicentennial Hall, 253 Crawford St, Queanbeyan NSW
Lectures begin at 2pm
SIM begins at 11 am


Annual subscription is $130 single membership and $240 for double membership
Entry is by membership name badge.


To Membership Secretary:
Chris Costas
Ph: 0412 456 527 or


Visitors are most welcome.
The visitors fee is $25 per person with prior notice to the Membership Secretary.
Visitor gift vouchers are also available.