Select Society

Postal Address:

ADFAS Rockhampton
Post Office Box 8306
Allenstown QLD 4700

The Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society Rockhampton was founded in 1995 and is now in its 23rd year serving Rockhampton and the wider region.

We organise visits from international and Australian experts to give illustrated presentations on any and every aspect of the Arts. Each year is different and in 2018 we have a truly eclectic smorgasbord of offerings for our members, their guests and visitors alike.

Each presentation will provide an opportunity to learn about that subject in detail with beautiful illustrations by a lecturer who knows their subject very well. The lectures provide an opportunity to travel the world, often to collections and galleries not easily accessible.

After each lecture there is a convivial, expansive morning tea with the lecturer which is an opportunity to make new friends and get to know the speakers a little better.

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. We currently have a Rockhampton School of Arts project in the process of completion and hope to record the history of further Schools of Art in the area. Church Recording projects are also in the offing.

Members in 2018 benefit from an extraordinary 10 lectures: 7 overseas lecturers/2 Australian lecturers and one local speaker. Besides this there is the legendary morning teas, access to ADFAS Travel tours with specialist guides, a guest pass to introduce a friend for free at any lecture in 2018, 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 2018!

Committee 2018

Lyn Harrower
Ph: 0417 762 563

Anita Mair
Ph: 0427 186 988

Secretary / Membership Secretary:
Janet Gentle
0428 267 655

Peter Wilson
0400 958 108



Programme for 2018

Half Interest Day: New Horizons (hour 1) & Antiques Show & Tell (hour 2)
th February

Hour 1: During Queen Victoria’s reign 11 million left Great Britain for new lives overseas. ‘New Horizons’ will present these emmigrants’ art produced to decorate their new lives and inform those they left behind of the trials and tribulations faced in a pre digital age. Often poignant, these paintings tell of the difficulties, dreams and stories of the migrants as well as depict the making of modern Australia.

Hour 2: Antiques Show & Tell:  participants are asked to bring along items of interest ( no jewellery please ) and Paul Atterbury will select items from the display to discuss their origins and stories – a mini Antiques Roadshow for Rocky.

Paul Atterbury is a writer, lecturer, curator and broadcaster, and a familiar face over 25 years on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. He specializes in the art, architecture and design of the 19th and 20th centuries.

* held at 11am at the McKeague Hall, Rockhampton Girls Grammar School

Elephants & Archbishops – Matthew Parker and his Medieval Manuscripts
17th March
Dr Christopher de HAMEL (UK)

Matthew Parker (1504-1575), Archbishop of Canterbury, assembled the collection for political purposes at the time of the closure of English monasteries. The lecture will tour the treasures of the Parker Library, Cambridge UK, at the time of the beginnings of the new national identity during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I: the oldest records of the English language, the sixth century Gospel of St Augustine, the finest Chaucer, letters of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII… and much more besides.

Christopher first looked at medieval manuscripts in Dunedin in 1963. Dr de Hamel is probably the best-known writer and lecturer of illuminated manuscripts in the world.  Responsible for illuminated manuscripts at Sotheby’s for 25 years until 2000, he then took up the Librarianship of the Parker Library at Cambridge University.  His ‘Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts’, published by Penguin, and winner of the Duff Cooper Prize as the best non-fiction book of 2016 was a surprising bestseller.  


A Painter in Revolutionary Times – John Singleton Copley and the American Revolution, 1760-1780
21st April
Prof Peter McPHEE (AU)

The lecture will examine the harrowing story of an outstanding portraitist caught in the divisions of the American Revolution. Copley, born in 1783 to poor Irish parents in Boston, became a highly sought after painter of the elites of this small colonial port.  Increasing friction between Britain and her American colonies after 1763 polarised the town’s elite. Copley found himself caught between old friends and family and by 1774 had to make a choice which would change his life tragically.

Peter McPhee recently retired as the first Provost of the University of Melbourne.  He has published widely on the history of France during the tumultuous French Revolution. Professor McPhee is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and of the Academy of Social Sciences.  

Exhibitions & Exhibitionists – 1818-2018 a history of the Royal Academy, London
26th May
Rosalind WHYTE (UK)

In 2018 The Royal Academy of Arts celebrates its 250th anniversary. The lecture explores the Academy, both the artists and the history, from its inception in 1768 to determine what role it has played in the development of British art.  Intrigue and controversy have embroiled the Academy since the beginning and no scandal or outrage will remain unexposed in this study of a most important cultural body.

Rosalind Whyte has Masters degrees from Birkbeck College, University of London and in Art History from Goldsmiths’ College, University of London.  She is a Guide and Lecturer at Tates Modern and Britain and the Royal Academy and lectures at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.  Rosalind leads Art Appreciation holidays and is a guest speaker on cruises, both solo and for the Tate Gallery team; she lectures in the UK, Europe and South Africa.

Yehudi Menuhin – Prodigy and Phenomenon
rd June
Philip BAILEY (AU)

The presentation traces the chronology of a remarkable career in performance, the events and the characters that shaped a life dedicated to utopian perfection in music. The lecture focuses on the remarkable careers of the siblings Yehudi, Hephzibah, and Yaltah Menuhin, three consummate musicians with often complicated lives outside the concert hall. As the saga unfolds  learn of:  the precious violins, the architecture and furnishings of the Menuhin residences; the concert halls and their acoustics; yoga and its role in extending a career threatened by a tremor in Yehudi’s right hand; and the formidable women who supported his quest to change the world for the better.

Philip Bailey’s introduction to the world of Yehudi Menuhin and of Hephzibah and Yaltah, his two remarkable sisters, began in 1951 at a matinee recital in Sydney Town Hall.  After studies at the University of New England, Philip became a teacher. After chance encounters in the UK– he joined the Menuhin staff. His first project – to sell electric cars on Yehudi’s behalf – was short-lived.  He then became Yehudi’s personal assistant for two decades.  It is this long, close association with the Menuhins that gave Philip unique insights into the lives of these remarkable musicians. After Yehudi’s death in 1999, Philip wrote ‘ Yehudiana – Reliving the Menuhin Odyssey’.

Ruling from behind the Yellow Silk Screen – the Dowager Empress Cixi (1835 – 1908)
th July

This lecture follows Cixi from relative obscurity as a low-ranking consort to her confirmation as Dowager Empress in 1861 and her strategy to preserve, then revitalise, imperial rule after a series of humiliating military defeats and brutal ethnic uprisings.  Was the Dowager Empress  a cruel, calculating megalomaniac who hated foreigners, condoned corruption and resisted modernizing China? Current evidence provides a far more balanced evaluation. The lecture will give insights into her life within her beloved Summer Palace and focus on her passion for painting, embroidery, fashion design and the extensive gardens, where Cixi forged close relationships with leading Western Women as she sought to understand their culture, politics and roles in western society.

David Rosier is a Chartered Insurer and a Fellow of the Assurance Medical Society, with extensive international experience as an author and lecturer in Medical Risk Assessment. He lived and worked for over 25 years in East Asia.  Whilst in Hong Kong (1991-2004) he assembled a collection of 700, predominantly Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Imperial and related textiles/costume and dress accessories.  David is a past Committee Member of the Hong Kong Textile Society and a frequent speaker on Chinese Imperial Insignia of Rank, Court Costume and Dress Accessories plus the mechanics of the Imperial Government and the Emperors of the Qing Dynasty.


The Imperial Easter Eggs of Carl Fabergé – Before the Revolution
st September

Between 1885 and 1916, Carl Fabergé made fifty jewelled eggs – Easter presents from Russia’s last two emperors to their wives. They have become the most famous surviving symbols of the Romanov Empire: both supreme examples of the jeweller’s art and the vulgar playthings of a decadent court.   Fabergé and his designers conformed to only three rules for each year’s Easter present: it should be egg-shaped, have a surprise to delight its recipient, and be different from any predecessor.  Their maker’s relentless search for novelty also means they provide a fabulously quirky illustrated history of the decline of the Romanovs.

Toby Faber has written two works of narrative history, Stradivarius, and Fabergé’s Eggs, the latter highly endorsed by PD James, and has given lectures at venues including The Victoria and Albert Museum, Hay Literary Festival and The Library of Congress.  Toby’s career began with Natural Sciences at Cambridge and has been through investment banking, management consulting and 5 years as MD of the publishers founded by his grandfather, Faber & Faber, where he remains on the board. He is a non-executive Chairman of Faber Music, a director of the Copyright Licensing Agency and of Liverpool University Press.


How to Read a Film: the Art and Science of Film Analysis
nd September

How do filmmakers captivate their audiences?  This lecture will explore film art, craft, tradition, convention, language and technology. We all see films in different ways so how do directors create an audience for their work? How is meaning conveyed and what is the director attempting to communicate? The lecture will break down films into their component parts, the image building blocks of the close up, continuity editing, camera operation as well as key cinema concepts such as stage settings and the male gaze will be explored. Films from the classic era of Hollywood, such as Singing in the Rain and Public Enemy will be compared to Russian montage classics, Battleship Potemkin and Strike. You may never watch a film in the same way again.

John initially trained as a painter, He was awarded the Max Beckmann Memorial Scholarship in painting in Brooklyn, New York and went on to be artist in residence for the state of Texas.  Later in his career John produced and directed several short films and animations. He has taught film, art and pedagogy at various UK universities including Exeter and London as well as universities in Malaysia and the USA. John is an inspirational speaker who has delivered lectures and workshops in the US, Beijing, Malaysia and the UK.


Held at The Haven, 37 Haven Road, Emu Park ( off the Emu Park – Yeppoon Road )


Sinner or Saint? The Changing Image of Mary Magdalene
3rd November

Who was Mary Magdalene? A saint often depicted by Western artists such as Rogier van der Weyden, Donatello, Caravaggio, Rubens, Titian and William Morris: as a passionate follower of Christ or as a demure saint holding a jar of ointment, but also as an opulent former courtesan or as a repentant sinner, sometimes revealingly dressed yet holding a skull and crucifix – or even with her body entirely covered by hair.  The saint that we find in western art is actually a composite figure: a conflation of four different female characters from the gospels, including the sister of Martha and Lazarus (Luke 10), the woman who was cured of seven demons (Luke 8), and the woman to whom the risen Christ first appeared in scenes known as Noli me tangere, ‘Do not touch me’ (Mark 16). Then, too, there are also medieval legends. This lecture will explain the fascinating stories and often startling depictions of this intriguing and much maligned saint in western art.

Sophie Oosterwijk was born in Gouda (Netherlands) and studied English at Leiden and Medieval Studies at York before obtaining two doctorates in Art History (Leicester) and English Literature (Leiden). She taught Art History at the universities of Leicester, Manchester and St Andrews, and returned to the Netherlands in 2011 to work on the Medieval Memoria Online (MeMO) project at Utrecht University. Sophie is actively involved in the Church Monuments Society and has published widely. She is currently a free-lance lecturer for the University of Cambridge, NADFAS, the V&A Museum in London, and a number of art tour companies. She is also an Honorary Research Fellow in Art History at the University of St Andrews (Scotland).


AGM & Local Speaker (TBC)
1st December


Venue and Time of Lectures

10.30am Fitzroy Room, Rockhampton Regional Library, Bolsover Street (unless otherwise specified above).
Our venue is on one level, modern, comfortable and fully equipped with ample accessible parking.


$140.00 per person  – discount of $10 if joining by 18 March 2017
$260 per couple – discount of $20 if joining by 18 March 2017
($70 single/$130 couple after the July lecture)

NB If you attend a lecture as a visitor and decide to join at the next lecture, your visitor fee will count towards your membership – valid for the first two lectures only.


Visitors are most welcome at all lectures ($25).

All Membership Enquiries

Janet Gentle
Ph: 0428 267 655 or email:

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