Select Society

Postal Address:

ADFAS Brisbane
PO Box 441
Red Hill QLD 4059

ABN: 79 787 315 013

ADFAS Brisbane is a dynamic and friendly society where members and guests gather to hear experts in the Arts talk on a wide range of topics. We are a non-profit organisation which aims to cultivate and study the decorative and fine arts, promote aesthetic education and the preservation of our national artistic heritage.

The annual subscription of $200 includes entry to eight interesting and informative lectures, followed by refreshments.  We also offer 4 Special Interest Days at an extra cost where topics are explored in more depth.  Topics range across the decorative and fine arts (sculpture, painting), craftsmanship (jewellery, furnishings), design (architecture, gardens, interiors), and performing arts (music, dance, film). These are always very popular with our members and guests. Throughout the year, we also offer several other events, including new members’ lunch, bus trips, gallery tours, etc.

Our monthly newsletters keep members up to date with what’s happening. Member contributions about events, reviews or critiques of any aspect of the Arts are most welcome.

We support the philosophy of philanthropy to the community and contribute financial support to the Young Arts. We sponsor the Young Instrumentalist Award and the Young Composer’s Award at the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and we support a young ballet student with the Queensland Ballet Youth Academy. We also support the Patricia Robertson Foundation.

Committee 2020

Susie Craig
M: 0467 556 659

Janelle Taylor
M: 0411 488 755

Secretary Minutes:
Jan McDonald


Jacqui Kelly

Membership Secretary:
Jane Reasbeck

Membership Enquiries:

Programme for 2020

5 March 2020
The Canal Age
Paul Atterbury
State Library: 10.30am; United Service Club: 7.00pm

Paul Atterbury is a writer, lecturer, curator and broadcaster, and a familiar face on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, where he has been a member of the team of experts for over 25 years. He specialises in the art, architecture and design of the 19th and 20th centuries, but has many interests and enthusiasms outside this area of expertise.

This lecture documents the canal age from its beginnings in the 1760s to its decline and eventual change into the great leisure network it is today, and looks at the distinctive canal architecture and landscape, the canal boats and their decoration, and the experiences of those families who spent their lives on the canals.

2 April 2020
The Artwork and Hand-written Journals of the First Fleeters
Paul Brunton
State Library: 10.30am; United Service Club: 7.00pm

Paul Brunton was Senior Curator, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales. He has annotated Joseph Banks’ journal; published an annotated edition of Flinders’ letters; and curated numerous exhibitions at the State Library. He is currently preparing an annotated edition of the journal and logbook of William Bligh.

This lecture deals with the 11 surviving hand-written journals from the First Fleet of 1787-88 that provide eyewitness accounts of the voyage to Sydney and the first years here. They record the interaction with the Aboriginal people, and each journal offers a unique perspective. Most were discovered only in the twentieth century and one was acquired as late as the 1990s. In 2009, the collection held in the Mitchell Library was included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Program.

20 May 2020
INTEREST DAY 1: Understanding the Western Balkans; War and Art
Nirvana Romell
State Library 10.15am-2.30pm

Nirvana Romell holds a BA in History of Art and an MA in English Language & Literature. She has been a freelance lecturer, public programmes consultant and tour director. She has presented art history courses and lectures. Nirvana organises and presents tours of permanent and temporary exhibitions across the UK and study tours to the Balkans, Italy, Sweden and South Africa.

The socio-historical background of numerous political divisions is explained in this lecture, and the main monuments of the area are introduced. Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, Ottoman, Habsburg and other heritages mix side by side, with art serving as a bridge over the political divisions. Artistic highlights of the Croatian coast are also included and expanded on with the historical background and monuments from inland Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia.

21 May 2020
Mosaics in the North Adriatic: Power, Beauty and Education
Nirvana Romell
State Library: 10.30am; United Service Club: 7.00pm

Mosaics have great aesthetic beauty and story-telling powers. They also bear witness to the centuries of people and culture mixing, and power struggles in the first Christian millennium. The lecture explains their main function within their socio-political background. It is not a coincidence that they appear in one of the most multicultural areas of Europe.

18 June 2020
The Incomparables: Anna and Isadora
Robin Haig
State Library: 10.30am; United Service Club: 7.00pm

Robin haig received her initial ballet training in Perth and then joined a new company, the Australian Theatre Ballet based in Melbourne.   In the same year, 1955, she was awarded a scholarship by the Royal Academy of Dancing and afterwards entered the Royal Ballet Company, Covent Garden, touring extensively to the United States and performing throughout Europe and Russia. She was a lecturer and choreographer in the US and also the director of the West Australian Ballet.  Now retired she is Senior Instructor Emerita.

This lecture will compare and contrast these two great women who knew each other and who much admired each other’s work. Anna Pavlova, b. 1881 in St Petersburgh, Russia, ‘lived to dance’ and believed the dancer should sacrifice herself to her art, renouncing ‘the life most women long for’.  Isadora Duncan, b. 1878 in San Francisco, American bare-foot dancer, shocked and inspired people wherever she performed.

15 July 2020
INTEREST DAY 2: Art Treasures of the Russian Empire 18th- mid 19th C
Alexay Makrov
State Library 10.15am-2.30pm

Dr Alexey Makhrov studied art and architectural history, researched Russian art criticism of the nineteenth century, has a master’s degree in International History and Politics and has taught courses on art history.

This Full Interest Day is devoted to major works of architecture and visual arts of that period in the Russian Empire, dominated by Baroque, Neo-Classicism and Historicism. Masterpieces of architecture, designed by Rastrelli and Rossi, paintings by Levitskii and Briullov, and works by other important artists are analysed in the context of social and political developments in the Russian Empire.

16 July 2020
The Art of the Icon
Alexay Makrov
State Library: 10.30am; United Service Club: 7.00pm 

The lecture examines the concept of the icon in the Russian Orthodox Church. It explains the liturgical and cultural significance of the icons, such as those of Christ and Our Lady, analyses the reasons for their veneration as well as the arguments of the Iconoclasts, compares the approaches to religious painting in the West and in the East, illustrates the techniques of production and describes the role of icons in everyday life.

19 August 2020
INTEREST DAY 3: Rembrandt & Vermeer: Titans of the Golden Age of Dutch Painting
Lucrezia Walker
State Library 10.15am-2.30pm

Lucrezia Walker Is a regular lecturer and gallery guide at the National Gallery in London. She teaches US undergraduates on their Study Abroad semesters in London and was Lay Canon for the Visual Arts at St Paul’s Cathedral 2010-2014.

Rembrandt van Rijn is the best known of all the Dutch masters. Working across the genres, he painted landscapes, religious scenes, mythological subjects and portraits. Celebrated as the most successful artist in Amsterdam, he revolutionised the treatment of portraiture. By way of contrast, Vermeer’s artistic output was more modest, and after his death became almost entirely unknown for well over a century. What is it we learn about Dutch art of the 17th by contrasting these two artists?

20 August 2020
John Peter Russell
Lucrezia Walker
State Library: 10.30am; United Service Club: 7.00pm

John Peter Russell was an Australian artist and friend of the Impressionists. Two of his friends at art school in Paris were Toulouse-Lautrec and Vincent van Gogh. Monet rated Russell’s work highly, and Matisse said that Russell had taught him everything he knew about colour. Another artist and friend, the sculptor Rodin, said that in the future Russell would be as famous as himself, Monet and Renoir. This did not turn out to be the case.

16 September 2020
INTEREST DAY 4: Are you sitting comfortably? A Social History of the Chair
Janusz Karczewski-Slowikowski
State Library 10.15am-2.30pm

Whilst studying for his first degree, Janusz worked part time in an antiques shop, which he came to take over as proprietor. He has lectured on antique furniture since 1975. His lectures seek to explain furniture in terms of the skills and materials employed in its design and construction and also its socio-economic significance.

The day traces the development of the chair both in the UK and abroad in terms of its construction and style from ancient times through to the 19th century and considers its role as a symbol of power and authority in religious and courtly ritual as well as in more ordinary domestic settings.

17 September 2020
Splendiferous Furniture of the Late 17th C
Janusz Karczewski-Slowikowski
State Library: 10.30am; United Service Club: 7.00pm]

A fascinating look at the courtly ceremonial splendour and function of furniture of the post-Restoration period, with reference not just to its design, construction and decoration but also to its upholstery – frequently more expensive than the furniture itself.

15 October 2020
The Book as an Art Form: Form & Function in Creative Book Structures
Dominic Riley
State Library: 10.30am; United Service Club: 7.00pm

Dominic Riley is an internationally renowned bookbinder, artist, lecturer and teacher. He specializes in the restoration of antiquarian books and the creation of contemporary fine bindings. His prize-winning bindings are in collections worldwide. In 2013 he won the prestigious Sir Paul Getty award in the International Bookbinding Competition, and his winning binding was acquired by the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

This lecture illustrates the potential of the book as a three-dimensional object, from pop-ups, hidden fore-edge paintings, peep-show books, to books with hidden compartments and intriguing surprises. Whatever the reason for the creation of these unusual books, playfulness and humour is always a guiding principle. Dominic will show work from his favourite book artists, including examples of experimental book structures he has collected and some he has made himself as part of his interest in this creative genre. Seen together they present over two hundred years of questioning the notion of ‘what is a book?’


ADFAS Brisbane lectures are held on Thursday mornings at 10.30am at the Queensland State Library, Auditorium 1Cultural Precinct, Stanley Pl, South Brisbane QLD.  Each lecture is repeated on the Thursday evening at 7.00pm at The United Service Club, 183 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill QLD.  Members nominate which lecture they wish to attend but are most welcome to change times if the need arises.

Interest Days are held at the Queensland State Library, Auditorium 2 Cultural Precinct, Stanley Pl, South Brisbane QLD from 10.15am-2.30pm approx.


Membership fee for 2020 is $200. 

This fee provides entry to 8 one-hour lectures at either venue, followed by refreshments.  A free $30 guest pass to a one-hour lecture is also included for earlybird registration – before 24th December 2019.  Use this pass anytime throughout the year to introduce someone new to ADFAS Brisbane.

 Interest Days attract a fee of $75 per member per day and include 3 x one-hour lectures with morning tea and lunch provided. 
Bookings are essential for Interest Days for catering purposes.

There are three ways to join ADFAS Brisbane:

  1. Go to Try Booking where we offer a combination of membership and or Interest Days: This is quick, easy to do and you get a confirmation email for your records. We will also be putting the option of booking separate interest days on Try Booking after the New Year so that you can book these closer to the event.
  1. You can access the Interactive Membership Form here.
  2. Email us at for a membership form. Fees can be paid directly into our account or by posting a cheque.  Details are on the Membership Form.

Interest Days can be booked and paid for in several ways. Firstly, there is an option on the Membership Form to register for all 4 Interest Days at a reduced cost of $280, or to book individual days at $75 per day. Just complete the required fields on the Membership Form and include the fee in your total payment.  


All visitors and guests of members are welcome.  Lecture fees are $30 per guest/visitor and Interest Day fees are $80 per guest/visitor per day.  Visitors and guests must book online at Trybooking or by emaiingl at least one week in advance.


Margaret Brannock
Address: The Membership Secretary / ADFAS Brisbane Inc. PO Box 441 Red Hill QLD 4059

Annual Membership: $200pp (with a free 1 hour lecture guest pass for early bird registration by 24 December 2019)
Guests: $30pp per lecture
Students: $15pp per lecture
Groups of 10: $20 pp per lecture
Interest Days: Members $75pp/ Guests $80pp
Special Events: Various pricing



Gift Cards are available. Give one to a friend, relative, teacher, or neighbour.

Annual Membership ($200); 
One hour lecture ($30); 
Interest Day ($80).

Please email to order. These can be posted to the recipient.