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Postal Address:

ADFAS Newcastle
PO Box 531

Members and guests have been enjoying ADFAS lectures in Newcastle for 30 years. ADFAS Newcastle provides for its more than 200 members a yearly programme of nine illustrated early evening lectures given by accredited and expert lecturers from Australia and overseas, delivered in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. Lectures explore all aspects of the arts: music, theatre, literature, painting, sculpture, domestic and public design and architecture, most often discussed in the context of the history and taste of their times, ranging from the earliest civilisations to the avant-garde, and from the familiar to the totally unexpected.

Lectures take place on Monday evenings in the Hunter Theatre, Hunter School of the Performing Arts (HSPA), Broadmeadow, commencing at 6.30. This is a well-equipped modern theatre; parking is available on the campus and in Cameron Street. After the lecture we enjoy light refreshments, a glass of wine and a chance to compare notes with old and new friends, making the evening a congenial and convivial interlude. Two Special Interest Mornings held at The Newcastle Club enable members and guests to explore a topic in more depth, and enjoy morning tea in an elegant setting.

For more information about ADFAS Newcastle, forthcoming lectures, newsletters, news of other activities, to become a member or come as a guest, please visit our website 

Committee 2018

Lindy Henderson
Ph: (02) 4929 3762

Kathy Heinrich
Ph. (02) 4927 8053

Click here to view ADFAS Newcastle website

Membership Secretary:
Cathy Tate
Ph: (02) 4952 1116

Richard Jennings
Ph: 0402 214 480

Membership Enquiries:  

Programme for 2018

Monday 19th March 10am

The Newcastle Club, Newcomen St, Newcastle
Treasures of the Silk Road
Christopher Bradley

Bookings essential

Abyssinia – 3000 Years of Ethiopian Art and History
Monday 19th March 6.30pm
Christopher BRADLEY (NADFAS)

Vibrantly colourful images from the ‘Kebra Nagast’ holy book tell us of the union of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, and how their son, Menelik founded the Solomonic dynasty of which Haile Selassie was the last ruling emperor.

Traditional art forms found in manuscripts and church murals have developed into a body of more recent artwork. The most spectacular structures are the incredible rock-cut churches of Lalibela.

Christopher Bradley is a NADFAS lecturer who began his career as a civil engineer and now specialises in the history and art of the Islamic world. He is the writer and photographer of a dozen travel guidebooks of the Middle East and North Africa. A lifelong interest has been art deco buildings and decoration from around the world. Many of his photographs are represented by leading worldwide photographic libraries including the Royal Geographical Society, of which he is also a Fellow. As a television documentary film-maker he has worked as cameraman and producer for National Geographic, BBC and Channel 4. He still leads a number of adventure tours each year and is a keen cyclist in his spare time.

Constantin Brancusi and the Garden of Dreams
Monday 16th April
Ron RAMSEY (Australian)

Throughout his life Brancusi returned to a small number of subjects and worked and reworked to perfect them. This lecture will examine a series of works and explore their exotic past. The lecture focuses upon the power of place; where they were produced, where they were intended to go and where they ended up. This story is a potential film script including tales of hard work, endurance, poverty, love, enormous wealth, sadness and creativity.

Ron Ramsey is the Executive Director of the Art Gallery Society of NSW. His long experience at regional, state, national and university galleries has included the Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, where he was Development Manager, the Embassy of Australia in Washington DC where he was Australia’s Cultural Attaché, and seven years as Director of the Newcastle Art Gallery. He previously worked at the National Gallery of Australia and the NGV. He has degrees in Education and Cultural Heritage Management, and was the ADFAS Newcastle Lecturer in 2010.

Monday 28 May, 10am

The Newcastle Club, Newcomen St, Newcastle
American Women in British Society
Anne Sebba

Bookings essential

William Bankes, the exiled collector and the man behind the creation of the English country house
Monday 28 May, 6.30pm 

William Bankes was a 19th century collector of ancient Egyptian artefacts and Spanish paintings intended for his ancestral home in Dorset, Kingston Lacy. But then following a moment of madness he fled into exile in Italy yet continued to collect for a house he no long lived in nor owned. The house has been restored by The National Trust. Can William himself be restored in this talk?

Anne Sebba is a biographer, historian and author who lectures to a variety of audiences in the US and UK, including the English Speaking Union, Royal Overseas League, National Trust, British Library and Imperial War Museum. Anne is an occasional broadcaster and regularly appears on television talking about her books, mostly biographies including Jennie Churchill, William Bankes, Laura Ashley and Wallis Simpson. The latter, published as That Woman, was an international bestseller, proving that the world is full of people dying to know what goes on in other people’s bedrooms. Anne is a former chair of Britain’s 9,000 strong Society of Authors.

Columbus Indiana, the unsung home of American Modernist Architecture
Monday 18th June 2018
Matthew LAING  (Australian)

Indiana has an architectural legacy of some 60 buildings listed as national landmarks of modernist American architecture. Nearly all of Columbus’ public edifices and community spaces designed by world-leading architects, due to the vision and passion of J. Irwin Miller’s philosophy that good architecture could shape public life for the better. This lecture brings to life an unspoiled gem and the visionaries who brought the modernist vision to full bloom in Midwest America.

Matthew Laing is a lecturer and research fellow in politics at Monash University. He graduated with his Doctorate of Philosophy in political history at the Australian National University, and previously held positions with Boston College in the United States and Utrecht University in the Netherlands. A long-time student of United States history, politics and culture since his early years working as an intern in the United States Congress; Dr Laing runs annual tours through Academy Travel to the USA, gives lecture series semi-annually on American culture and history at the East Melbourne Library, and occasional public lectures on American subjects in a sessional capacity for other university faculties. His doctoral thesis was on the work of Stephen Skowronek and recurring cycles of history in the political and social ideas of the United States. His particular specialty is American history and culture from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression.

Russian orientalism in the 19th century: Vasili Vereshshagin and his images of the Great Game
Monday 30th July 2018

Vasilii Vereshchagin (1842-1904) was “embedded” with the Russian army during a military campaign in Central Asia in the late 1860s. His pictures embody a modern vision of war which anticipated modern photojournalism. The lecture analyses the role of Vereshchagin’s pictures in the political context of the rivalry of Britain and Russia in Central Asia. The possibilities and limitations of the artist-correspondent as an “eyewitness” to war are critically examined.

Dr Alexey Makhrov studied art history at the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg and obtained a PhD in architectural history at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, in 1998. He worked as postdoctoral researcher of Russian art criticism of the nineteenth century at the University of Exeter, England, before moving to Switzerland in 2003. Having obtained a master’s degree in International History and Politics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, he has taught courses on art history in Zurich and Geneva. He has worked as lecturer on cultural tours to Russia and Switzerland since 1998.

Kicking and screaming; a brief history of post-war British art
Monday 27th August 2018

This lecture explains British art after 1945, when Francis Bacon caused ‘total consternation’ with his work being part of a phenomenon called the ‘Geometry of Fear’. Despite public shocks and upsets, painters like Bacon and Freud were quietly getting on with their painting, and one of the great stories of post-war British art is the continuing strength and vigour of that tradition.

Linda holds two first-class degrees in Art History. She is an experienced guide and lecturer at Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the Dulwich Picture Gallery and lectures to secondary school audiences and independent arts societies.

Inn insignia, the artwork and stories behind peculiar pub names
Monday 14th September 2018

Pubs and their signs are a fundamental part of British history and cultural heritage. In this colourful and entertaining lecture John shows some of the most interesting and distinctive signs before exploring the fascinating stories behind the origin of some of their peculiar names. Who could fail to be intrigued by ‘The Bucket of Blood’, the ‘Cow and Snuffers’ or even the ‘Eager Poet’ – and who on earth was ‘Blind Jack’?

John Ericson – formerly a lecturer at the University of Bath where he was Director of Studies in the School of Education with responsibility for the professional development of teachers. He has worked extensively overseas as an educational consultant and this has given him the opportunity to give lectures and presentations at conferences all over the world. John has previously lectured in New Zealand and twice for ADFAS. In the UK he continues to be a very popular speaker on the NADFAS circuit. 

Phoenix from the ashes; English silver in the 20th and 21st centuries
Monday 29th October 2018

We follow the changes of fortune in English silversmithing since 1900. From the emergence of English Arts & Crafts metalworking as the most influential force in European avant-garde design at the turn of the century, through the ravages of war, austerity and industrial decline to the recent re-emergence of silversmithing as one of the most exciting and dynamic forms of contemporary British design.

Martin is an experienced curator, lecturer and broadcaster. Until recently Principal Curator and Head of Collections Research & Development at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, he now divides his time between curatorial work, consultancy, the development of cultural tourism programs and broadcasting projects and working with his wife in their art and antiques business. He has wide-ranging expertise in the applied arts and has acted as a specialist adviser to the Art Fund and on research programs at the universities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton. A regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Making History, he has written and presented several documentaries for Radio 4 on subjects ranging from AWN Pugin to contemporary silver. 

The secret lives of Architects – Scandals and Crimes
Monday 19th November 2018
Barry MAITLAND (Newcastle Lecture)

Without giving away the plot, we might guess that the lecture will feature famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, his openly close relationship with Mamah Borthwick and the terrible fate that befell her. Emeritus Professor of Architecture, Barry Maitland has an international reputation as an author of crime fiction. He also draws and paints.

Barry Maitland was born in Paisley, Scotland and grew up in London before studying architecture at Cambridge University. He then worked for ten years in the planning and construction of two New Towns in the UK before becoming the director of the Design Teaching Practice in Sheffield. While there he also taught at the university and completed a PhD in urban design, as well as publishing a number of books on architecture, including Concepts of Urban Design, with David Gosling. He came to Australia in 1984 as Professor and Dean of Architecture at the University of Newcastle. He retired as Emeritus Professor in 2000 and has subsequently established an international reputation as an author of fiction, especially crime fiction, of which twelve novels in the London Brock and Kolla series have been published in Australia and overseas, as well as four novels set in Australia, of which the most recent are the Belltree Trilogy. He has been drawing and painting since he was a student and has exhibited work in a number of galleries.

Venue and Time of Lectures

The Hunter Theatre,
Hunter School of the Performing Arts
Lambton Road, Broadmeadow NSW 2292
(entry from Cameron St at the western end of the school campus)

Time: Lectures commence at 6.30 pm

Venue and Time of Special Interest Mornings

The Newcastle Club,
Newcomen St, Newcastle
Time: 10 am – 12 pm.
Morning tea included, $40.

Bookings essential. RSVP to


Visitors are always welcome.
Please let us know if you are visiting or, if you are a member, bringing guests.
Email to or phone to any Committee member.

Guest: $20
Student guest: $15
Member of another ADFAS group: $5
Each year a non-member may attend up to three lectures as a guest.


New members are welcome.

Annual membership: $160
Membership if paid after the 30 July: $80
Student annual membership: $80
Student annual membership if paid after 30 July: $40
The membership year runs from 1 December to 30 November. Individuals may join anytime.
A student is 25 and under and attends school, university or TAFE full-time.

All Membership Enquiries

Membership Secretary: Mrs Cathy Tate.
Ph: (02) 4952 1116
Download a membership form:


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