Select Society

Postal Address:

ADFAS Cairns
PO Box 807
Bungalow Qld 4870

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 lectures per year. Two lectures are presented by ADFAS lecturers, the remaining six by The Arts Society UK lecturers; all experts in their field.  Our 2020 lectures inform and illustrate antiques, architecture, African art, Persian quilting and culture, Russian art, French art history, furniture, and bookbinding; the usual to the unusual and more. In the last twenty 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. In addition to the monthly lectures we offer two Special Interest Half Day Study Tutorials.

Everyone is welcome to attend the lectures, but better still, why not become a member and enjoy the benefits.

Membership enquiries: Leeanne Pogorzelski  0409 067 491 

Monthly lectures are conducted at:

The Bolands Centre
Corner Lake & Spence Streets
Cairns  QLD
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 Lecturer 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 2020

Lynn Caskey
Ph: 0414 125 100

Jo Hodgson
Ph: 0427 854 461




Paul Campbell
Ph: 0417 744 387

Membership Secretary:

Leeanne Pogorzelski
Ph: 0409 067 491

Membership Enquiries: Email:


16 March 2020
Desert Island Antiques
Mr Paul Atterbury The Arts Society UK

During his long and varied career in the world of art and antiques, Paul has been a collector, writer, lecturer, exhibition curator and broadcaster, with 29 years as an expert of BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.
If he were suddenly cast away alone on a desert island, which eight objects would he take with him?
In his choice, Paul reveals much about his life, his opinions, his Antique Roadshow adventures and much else besides, while offering a special insight into the worlds of art, antiques and collecting.

27 April 2020
Touching the Sky: Invention of the Skyscraper
Mr Matthew Laing  ADFAS

If there is any notable contribution America has made to the modern urban form, it must be the skyscraper.  From their humble origins, skyscrapers are many ways the architectural symbol of the 20th Century and a genuine turning-point in the long and complex histories of cities, life and work.  Yet the skyscraper did not happen overnight.

This lecture will tell the story of the first half-century of the skyscraper era.  It will explore the unique conditions that led to their development (and enduring popularity) in the United States, and the key visionaries who made them possible.

1 June 2020
African Art: Art, Craft or Curio?
Ms Nirvana Romell  The Arts Society UK

In Africa, art has been used to replace a postal service, help with marriage problems and deal with unruly teenagers. Yet its seemingly exotic aesthetics is in many ways much closer to Western art than one may assume.

This easy-going introduction into African art focuses on general misconceptions, basic facts, influences of Africa on Europe and vice versa. It also provides guidance as to how to look at African art and how to learn more.

22 June 2020
August in Iran in a Hijab
Mrs Jenny Bowker  ADFAS

Jenny spent one month teaching in Iran for the Ministry of Education. Sewing holds an important role in this society and is seen even at government level as a tradition which allows groups of women to mix and be together with their children in this fascinating and often misunderstood society.

This lecture will show new uses of some of the richness of patterning innate to the culture of the Persian people and also what has happened in quilting in Iran.

26 July 2020 – Half Day Interest Event
Summer Palaces of the Tsars
Mr Alexey Makhrov  The Arts Society UK

The royal estates in the environs of St Petersburg not only impress with their splendour but also give fascinating insights into the private life of the Romanovs. Peter the Great, his daughter Elisabeth, Catherine the Great and their successors spared no expense in building and decorating palaces, villas and gardens.

During the Second World War most of the estates were heavily damaged but have since been lovingly restored. This lecture represents the palaces and gardens in St Petersburg and gives an account of their past and present.

27 July 2020
St Petersburg: A City of the Arts
Mr Alexey Makhrov  The Arts Society UK

The northern Russian capital embodies the creative vision of Peter the Great and can be considered a work of art in itself. The lecture not only presents the architectural aspect of St Petersburg and gives an account of the restoration after the damage of the World War II, but also analyses the artistic milieu from the 18th through to the 20th century.

Particular attention is paid to the treasures of the Hermitage and other museums in the city and its environs.

31 August 2020
Elizabeth Vigee le Brun: Keeping Her Head in Revolutionary Europe
Ms Lucrezia Walker  The Arts Society UK

One of the finest eighteenth-century French painters and among the most important women artists of all time, Vigée Le Brun exemplified success and resourcefulness in an age when women were rarely allowed either. Because of her close association with Marie Antoinette, Vigée Le Brun was forced to flee France during the French Revolution.

For twelve years she travelled throughout Europe, painting the nobility. She returned to France in 1802, where she continued to work with success in France, London and Switzerland. Her work and her life make her an extraordinary woman working in dramatically changing times.

28 September 2020
Furniture of the Common Man 1600-1800
Mr Janusz Karczewski-Slowikowski

This lecture looks at the lives of ordinary people through their furniture. Most furniture in museums and books is representative of the wealthier social classes and so tells us little about the living conditions of the ‘humbler classes.’ However, everyday and common furniture was seldom crude or primitive and often displayed as much sophistication in construction and design as more costly items.

25 October 2020 – Half Day Interest Event
The Whole Art of the Book
Mr Dominic Riley The Arts Society UK

  • Why was the best paper made from the worn-out clothes of peasants?
  • Why did leather have to be tanned outside the city walls?
  • Why is gold leaf so thin that it is measured in atoms and cannot be touched with the hands?
  • Why do printers have to do everything upside down and backwards?
  • Why did gold finishers get paid more than other bookbinders despite not washing their hair?
  • And why is the art of bookbinding itself the most complex of all hand crafts?

This lecture tells the fascinating story of everything that makes a traditional hand bound book.

26 October 2020
Lost on the Titanic: The Making of the Great Omar Binding
Mr Dominic Riley  The Arts Society UK

When it was completed in 1912, the Great Omar was the most elaborate and opulent binding ever created. It was embellished with over one thousand jewels, five thousand leather inlays and a hundred square feet of gold leaf, which took a team of craftsmen over two and a half years to make. It went down with the Titanic.

This lecture tells the story of the Great Omar. It is also the story of life after the loss, and of one young man in particular, who decided to recreate the binding – a venture which itself is mired in tragedy and which occupied him for the rest of his life.