Select Society

Postal Address:

ADFAS Rockhampton
Post Office Box 8306
Allenstown QLD 4700

ABN 54963844518

The Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society Rockhampton was founded in 1995 and is now in its 24th year serving Rockhampton and the wider region.

2019 brings 8 overseas and 2 Australian expert speakers to Rockhampton to delve into a wide ranging programme of arts topics – from Aboriginal Rock Art, to Elizabeth Taylor’s jewels, to Victorian gardens and much more besides.  We will also invite a local speaker to the AGM to speak.

Each presentation will provide an opportunity to learn about that subject in detail with beautiful illustrations by a lecturer whose enthusiasm for their subject is infectious.  The lectures provide an opportunity to travel the world, often to collections and galleries not easily accessible.

Throughout the year we also organise excursions, gallery visits and more for the benefit of our members.  A special focus is our Arts in the Community projects aimed at promoting the Arts locally. ADFAS Rockhampton has current Arts in the Community projects and Church Recording/School of the Arts projects which aim to record our local, social history.

2019 starts and ends with free events – in February a chance for new or potential members to learn more about our organisation and the 2019 programme and, after the AGM, a local speaker and festive morning tea with entertainment. Each lecture is followed by our legendary morning tea. Members enjoy access to ADFAS Travel tours with specialist guides, a guest pass to introduce a friend for free at any lecture in 2019, reduced rate attendance at other ADFAS society lectures around Australia and overseas,  excursions, the annual  ArtLife society magazine and, most importantly, ‘Knowledge through Enjoyment’.

With so much on offer, why not consider joining ADFAS Rockhampton in 2019!

Lyn Harrower
Ph: 0417762563

Vice Chairman:
Sarah McCosker

Secretary /Membership Secretary:
Janet Gentle
Ph: 0428267655

Bernadette Hunt

Committee Members:

Anita Mair
Barbara Beak
Dorothy Khoo
Jenny Lightfoot
Kay McRae

Membership Enquiries:  
or contact Janet Gentle (as above)

P.O. Box 8306, Rockhampton, QLD 4700

Programme for 2019

February 23rd

Programme Launch

An opportunity for members, guests and those new to ADFAS Rockhampton to hear about the 2019 lecture programme and our visiting speakers.  Meet the 2019 committee and find out what is on offer through ADFAS Rockhampton and the parent organisation The Arts’ Society (UK). As always, all with our delicious morning tea.

March 16th

Australian Aboriginal Rock Art: the world’s longest unbroken art tradition

Dr Paul   BAHN (UK)

Aboriginal Rock Art has been produced Australia wide for over 40,000 years.  The lecture will explore regional variations in these rock paintings and engravings with an introduction to their meanings, especially in relation to Aboriginal creation myths and creator-ancestors.

‘Dr Paul Bahn is Britain’s leading expert on prehistoric rock art world-wide’ according to Cambridge University.  After studying archaeology at Cambridge University and completing his PhD in 1979, Paul developed his research interests via fellowships in the UK and US.  He is an expert in Prehistoric/Palaeolithic rock arts around the world and discovered the first Ice Age cave in Britain. He has expertise in Aboriginal Rock Art and was the President of the Australian Rock Art Association for 8 years.  Paul has published extensively on archaeological matters and continues to do as well as lecturing, travelling and creating TV series.

April 13th

Elizabeth Taylor’s Greatest Love Affair: with Jewels

Mr Adrian   DICKENS (AU)

Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor has long been associated with jewels, but the true extent of her staggering collection is not so well known. Worth over $200 million at the star’s death, her collection has only gained in stature. This lecture explores the jewels that have become as legendary as the star who wore them, and the man who bought most of them – Richard Burton: the great Bulgari Sapphires, La Peregrina Pearl, the Mike Todd tiara, the Taj Mahal pendant and the unforgettable Taylor-Burton Diamond.  A breath-taking jewellery collection to rival Cleopatra’s!

Adrian was born and grew up in the UK. After training for 6 years, he emigrated to Australia in 1988 and has been a fixture on the Australian jewellery scene ever since; managing stores for Paul Bram, Jan Logan and, more recently, BUNDA.  Adrian created CIRCA AD Jewels in late 2012 providing a genuinely unique personal jewellery service – one in which the jeweller visits clients or they visit him in his home. Adrian often buys and designs pieces with specific clients in mind. He collects fine jewellery and rare pieces from around the world, which reflect the design values – and quality – of their era.  “Re-inventing” jewels from unwearable pieces from the 19th/20th century into wearable 21st century designs is a specialty. Adrian also conducts talks on jewels.

May 25th

Gold of the Gods: Treasures of South America and the search for El Dorado


Chloe will present the wonders of the goldsmiths who worked this ‘sacred metal’ into spectacular treasures in gold, from pale yellow through to the deepest red.  At the time, this metal held spiritual importance as its brilliance evoked the Sun, which nourished the earth. In 1492 the Conquistadors from Spain arrived eager for the fabled gold. El Dorado, the Golden One, was initially thought to be a city of gold, later to be a ruler who daily covered his body in powdered gold…. The quest for El Dorado went on for two dramatic centuries and any sacred gold treasures found were melted down for bullion!

Chloe Sayer is an independent Spanish speaking scholar, author and curator specializing in the arts and culture of Latin America with research interests in ancient traditions and contemporary craft skills.  In 2016 she was awarded the Ohtli Medal by the Mexican government for her services to Mexican culture. She has carried out field work for the British Museum in Mexico and Belize and works as a Research Associate at the Royal Ontario Museum in the Department of World Cultures.  She publishes widely, collaborates on TV documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4, and regularly leads tours to Mexico. Chloë lives in London, and became an Arts Society-accredited lecturer in 2003. She has toured Australia for ADFAS since 2005 and is delighted to return in 2019.

June 22nd

Dressing Early Australian Brides

Dr Michael Marendy

The most commonly asked question regarding the wedding dress is, ‘When did white become the accepted norm’?  One of the earliest wedding gowns to survive in museum a collection, believed to have been worn by the daughter of the 5th Earl of Devon in May 1744, is in the dress collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. It was made of ivory ribbed silk, embroidered in a floral design using coloured silks and silver thread. Although white dresses were worn, they were not the norm as blue, pink and green were also popular bridal colours and often accessorised with handmade lace, linen cuffs and a linen fichu draped around the neckline. This lecture will focus on the ‘bridal confections’ that were worn in Australia during the latter half of the 19th century.  During this stroll we shall also meet several of the costumieres and dressmakers who designed and made these ‘confections’.

Michael’s career has evolved in four distinct areas: clothing design, fashion education, textile conservation and museum curatorship. For 15 years he taught in the TAFE and University sectors, as well as working as a clothing designer and textile conservator. He studied in Australia, Canada and England and recently completed his PhD from Griffith University, focused on the women in the custom made clothing trade in colonial Brisbane, and why museums collect, preserve and exhibit clothing objects designed and made by such women. Michael is currently a conservation and curatorial consultant and has worked as curator and conservator for exhibitions at the Museum of Brisbane, Queensland Museum, the Queensland Art Gallery and the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art.  Michael regularly lectures on conservation and dress history, as well as conducts conservation workshops throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales.

July 27th

The Honourable East India Company 1600 – 1800: East/West Trade & Chinoiserie

Ms Vivienne Lawes (UK)

The East India Company was the ‘multi-national’ of its day. So how did it come to dominate trade? The lecture explores the way the company developed its methods of trade and thereby also facilitated the increasingly sophisticated and profound exchange of ideas between East and West.  Textile design will be the vehicle for this analysis, but also includes variables such as wallpaper, porcelain and furniture, as well as the vast commercial trade in spices and tea. Trade with India in the 17th century, then with Imperial China in the 18th century, will be the focus and then a look at how this trade promoted the development of Western tastes for Chinoiserie.  The lecture ends with an analysis of the tea trade this company excelled in.

Viv Lawes is a lecturer, curator, author and journalist with twenty-five years’ experience in the art market. She studied History/ History of Art for her BA (Hons) at York University, followed by an MA in Fine and Decorative Art at Sotheby’s Institute, London. She leads the Modern and Contemporary Unit of the East Asian Art Semester Programme at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and teaches the History of Western Design at the City & Guilds of London Art School. She also teaches at the University of the Arts London and L’Institut d’Etudes Supérieures des Arts (IESA), London. She has been an accredited Arts Society lecturer since 2015. She is currently working on a book exploring themes in equine sculpture for the Sladmore Gallery, London, and regularly writes artists’ catalogues. She is UK consultant to Singapore gallery One East Asia, and has co-curated many exhibitions of Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art in London and Singapore since 2011.

August 31st

The Cult of the South Pacific – from Cook to Gaugin

Mr Leslie Primo (UK)

With the discovery of the island of Tahiti in 1767 the enduring Western obsession and invention of the so called ‘exotic’ or ‘noble savage’ began.  This concept will be explored via painted images of the island and its people and the influence the Europeans had on this area by looking through the eyes of Captain Cook, and those who came before him, as well as of the artists that accompanied those explorers’ voyages:  William Hodges, Benjamin West, John Webber and John Cleveley and later Paul Gauguin: all helped perpetuate the Western notion of the exotic and the myth of paradise. Royal Academicians Sir Joshua Reynolds, Johann Zoffany and Joseph Banks also played a part. The lecture proceeds into the modern era showing the development of the notion of the ‘exotic’ as painted by the Impressionists and Post Impressionists with the most notable of these being Paul Gauguin who lived, worked and died on the island, constantly painting the ‘exotic’ island and its people.

Leslie Primo holds a BA in Art History and an MA in Renaissance Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London.  During his studies he specialised in early Medieval and Renaissance studies, including Italian Renaissance Drawing, Art and Architecture in Europe 1250-1500, focussing on the Medici and their patronage of the Arts, Giotto and Narrative Painting and the work of Peter Paul Rubens.  He has been a Visiting Lecturer in Art History at the University of Reading and gives lectures and guided tours, plus special talks, at both the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.  He also lectures at the City Literary Institute and has presented a series of talks at the National Maritime Museum and the Courtauld Institute.

September 28th

Treasures of the Silk Road

Mr Christopher Bradley (UK)

The Silk Road extends for over 8,000 kms from China through Central Asia and on to the Mediterranean. The route acted as a highway for beliefs, ideas, inventions and art, whilst silk was just one of the many products traded for 1,400 years. With the Greek invasion of Alexander the Great, early Persian routes spread east towards India, until stability finally allowed the Chinese to trade silk, jade and ceramics in exchange for horses, pearls and gold. Buddhism spread throughout Central Asia and there are wonderful paintings from the Magao caves at Dunhuang and the ‘Caves of the Thousand Buddhas’ at Bezeklik in the Flaming Mountains. Samarkand and Bukhara are the beginning of the great Islamic buildings that continue through Persia and further west. Along the way we will see traditional murals, ceramics, statues, carpets, architecture, mosaics, tile-work, rock carvings and of course, silk itself.

Christopher Bradley is an Arts Society lecturer who began his career as a civil engineer.  He is now an expert in the history and culture of the Middle East and North Africa and a professional tour guide and lecturer. 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.

*Held at: Ballygriffin Cultural Center, St Ursula’s College, Yeppoon*

October 26th

Ms Marilyn Elm (UK)

10.30am   The Eclectic Victorian Garden ( lecture 1 hour)

Expansion of the British Empire, extensive plant collecting, and technical innovation as a product of the industrial revolution, fuelled garden development and extended design possibilities during the nineteenth century. Designers addressed themselves to a new clientele, the rising middle classes with their suburban plots, and encouraged for the first time, ‘amateur’ involvement, informed by the prolific garden literature of the day. This talk examines the absorption and energy with garden making at this time, the quest for the unusual, and the amazing diversity that resulted. 

1pm From Knots & Borders & Beyond ( ½ interest day, 2 hours – please register to attend)

This lecture traces the development of planting design from the delights of the medieval perfumed plot, to the modernist architectural planting and the aesthetics of the ‘prairie style’ so popular today.  It will examine the changing sensibilities in the use of colour, texture, form and layout, and will seek inspiration by reference to the works of designers such as J.C. Loudon, Gertrude Jekyll and Piet Ouldolf (designer of the garden at Scampston Hall, England and the Lurie Park, Chicago), James Hitchmough and Nigel Dunnett (designer of the London Olympic Park) as examples.

*Extra charge for ½ interest day: please register to attend*

Marilyn Elm is a qualified landscape architect and interior designer with over forty years of experience. She is an experienced course leader in garden and landscape design and history, and a freelance lecturer and speaker for a variety of organisations, universities and specialist groups, including the National Trust, the Royal Horticultural Society, WEA, U3A, The Arts Society and ADFAS.  Marilyn runs study days, summer schools and conducts garden tours in the UK. She has a particular interest in the history of Design, Modernist and contemporary architecture, and in the developing archive collection for Landscape Architecture. Passionate about promoting garden history and our gardening heritage, she has set up ‘pop-up’ talks for the RHS, published articles, and broadcast for BBC television and radio, and the Discovery Channel. She is a founder member of the Yorkshire Gardens Trust and a Member of the Garden Media Guild.

November 30th


AGM & Local Speaker (TBC)



10.30am Saturdays

Fitzroy Room, Rockhampton Regional Library, Bolsover Street, Rockhampton

(unless otherwise noted above)



ADFAS Rockhampton Membership/Renewal for 2019: $150 single/$145 pensioner/$280 couple: (after 16.03.19)

Early bird special:   $140 single/$135 pensioner/$250couple:  (by 16.03.19)

Visitors: $25 per lecture ($15 child/other ADFAS society members)

Please complete a Membership Application Form and return with your payment. Form and Payment details on this page.

VISITORS always welcome $25 per lecture ($15 child/students/other ADFAS members)

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