ADFAS Toowoomba welcomes you.

Toowoomba is located 120 km west of Brisbane CBD on top of the Great Dividing Range 691 meters above sea level in the Darling Downs. The Royal Bulls Head Inn, build in 1800, is one of many tourist attractions together with the Cobb & Co Museum, The Darling Downs Steam Train display, the beautify Botanical Garden and Laurel Bank Park with an incredible display of topiary. The 75th Carnival of Flowers is during the month of September with many attractions and plenty of stunning blooms.


Lectures are held at the Burke & Wills Hotel, 554 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba. Parking options are in Ruthven Street, Little Street or Grand Central Shopping Centre Park house in Dent Street.

The lecture is held upstairs in the Cunningham Room, there is a lift, and the bar is open between 5:30pm – 6pm and from 7pm -7:30 pm during supper.

Lectures are held on Thursday evenings at 6pm, please arrive by 5:45pm.

The annual membership cost for 2023 is $ 165.
If you would like a printed newsletter mailed out there is an additional fee of $15.
The Art Life Magazine subscription is $ 27.50 for three issues.
Click here to join or email:

Guests welcome:
Guests are welcome and required to book with Susan Pawn by email: or, 24 hours prior to the lecture.
The cost is $ 30 per person.

For all enquiries please email:
Postal Address: PO Box 1555 Toowoomba QLD 4350
ABN: 13 846 673 994

Committee 2023
Chair: Peter Schneider
Treasurer: Deb Holt
Secretary / Membership: Susan Pown  Ph: 0408 458 745  


Thursday 16 March 2023
Presented by Nigel Bates
Venue & Time: Burke & Wills Hotel, Cunningham Room, 6pm

For more than three centuries Sadler’s Wells has been a place of entertainment and a part of London’s theatrical history with a reputation known across the world.  Surviving many highs, lows and rebuildings, the theatre has hosted and nurtured an impressive array of performing companies over the years.  We follow the unique story of The Wells which includes pony racing, naval warfare, Shakespeare with Sir John Gielgud as well as the strongest connections with the worlds of opera and dance and the roots of today’s Royal Ballet companies.  A fully illustrated talk with audio and videoclips.

Nigel Bates is the Music Administrator of The Royal Ballet, and has been a performer for nearly forty years in and out of the Royal Opera House, including seventeen years as Principal Percussionist with the Orchestra. He was also a producer for both the BBC’s Maestro at the Opera and Pappano’s Classical Voices documentary series. For over twenty years, Nigel has given lectures to arts societies and conservatoires in the UK and across Australia.

Thursday 20 April 2023
Presented by Bill Platz
Venue & Time: Burke & Wills Hotel, Cunningham Room, 6pm

The historical portrait is understood as a portrait of a known individual in the guise of another, typically a historical, mythological, or allegorical figure. Historical portraits shift and transfer identities and performances in a specific manner through role playing – a model is present with the artist but as someone else.

American-Australian artist, teacher and researcher, Dr William Platz, exhibits and publishes regularly in the US, Europe and Australia. With research concentrating on life drawing, portraiture and teaching techniques, his most recent work combines realistic drawing and puppets. Dr Platz resides in Brisbane and is currently Head of Drawing at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. Dr Platz completed his BFA and MA degrees in New York and his PhD in Australia.

Thursday 18 May 2023
Presented by Dr Tom Flynn
Venue & Time: Burke & Wills Hotel, Cunningham Room, 6pm

Unlike the widely publicised looting of Jewish collections by the Nazis during the Second World War, the wholesale dispersal of Russia’s cultural heritage during the inter-war period is rarely discussed. This lecture looks at the process by which the Russian Revolutionary authorities sold off vast quantities of their country’s valuable art treasures following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 to raise valuable hard currency. Sometimes referred to as the conversion of “Treasures into Tractors,” the process effectively confiscated and sold off the contents of Russia’s churches, libraries, monasteries, museums, and aristocratic private collections. Dr Flynn lifts the lid on the extraordinary event.                                                                                   

Dr Tom Flynn is a UK-based art historian, writer, and art consultant. A former Henry Moore Foundation post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Sussex, he has written for numerous international art publications and is the author of The Body in Sculpture (Everyman Art Library, 1998). His interests include contemporary art; sculpture history; museology and the history of museums; art crime; issues in cultural heritage; and the historical development and professional practice of the European art markets.

Thursday 22 June 2023
Presented by Claudia Chan Shaw
Venue & Time: Burke & Wills Hotel, Cunningham Room, 6pm

With her designs gracing the walls of hip nightclubs, homewards, travel goods and fashion, Florence Broadhurst has become a global phenomenon.  Her vibrant wallpaper designs had all but been forgotten until her original silk printing screens were discovered languishing in a dusty warehouse.

Sydney born creative Claudia Chan Shaw has a multi-faceted career as a fashion designer, television and radio presenter, author, public speaker, installation artist, photo artist, and curator. With a BA in Visual Communication Design from Sydney College of the Arts, she is co-designer and director for the internationally acclaimed Australian fashion label, Vivian Chan Shaw. The label is renowned for its exquisite handmade knitwear and jewellery. The designs are represented in the permanent collection of the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Claudia is perhaps best known for her role as co-host and presenter on ABC TV’s popular program, Collectors and her subsequent book Collectomania: From objects of desire to magnificent obsession.

Thursday 13 July 2023
Presented by Lucrezia Walker
Venue & Time: Burke & Wills Hotel, Cunningham Room, 6pm

There are no ugly women, only lazy ones, quipped cosmetics entrepreneur Helena Rubinstein, whose company made her one of the world’s richest women. Businesswoman, art collector, and philanthropist, she was the first self-made female millionaire. She commissioned work from avant-garde artists such as Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí – who was to design a powder compact for her. Her exclusive beauty salons influenced and blurred the conceptual boundaries between fashion, art galleries, and the domestic interior. [Join us to discover more about this extraordinary woman, subject of recent exhibitions in New York, Vienna and Paris.]

Lucrezia Walker Is a lecturer and gallery guide at the National Gallery in London. She liaises with the Gallery’s corporate sponsors and with the Tate Gallery and the Tate Modern. 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.

Thursday 17 August 2023
Presented by Nirvana Rommel
Venue & Time: Burke & Wills Hotel, Cunningham Room, 6pm

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.

Nirvana Romell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in the History of Art and Masters of Arts in English Language and Literature. She has 20 years of lecturing experience on three continents. Since her arrival in the UK in 2003, Nirvana has been working as a freelance lecturer, public programmes consultant and tour director.She organises and presents tours of permanent and temporary exhibitions across the UK and Europe, and study tours to the Balkans, Italy, France, Switzerland, Sweden, and South Africa

Thursday 21 September 2023
Presented by John Ericson
Venue & Time: Burke & Wills Hotel, Cunningham Room, 6pm

The beauty of Kenneth Grahame’s prose is widely acknowledged but the story is so full of wonderful imagery that it demands to be illustrated. First published in 1908 without illustration, the classic tale of Ratty, Mole, and the incorrigible Mr Toad has been in print ever since. What is less well known is that it has been illustrated by more than ninety artists – making it the most widely illustrated book in the English language. However, ‘Willows’ is a far more interesting book than its popular and often young audience might appreciate. We will explore how Kenneth Grahame came to write the story for his son Alastair. 

Formerly Director of Studies in the School of Education and lecturer at the University of Bath lecturer. John Ericson had responsibility for the professional development of teachers. In 2008 and 2011 John undertook extensive lecture tours in Australia and he has been a popular speaker for The Arts Society in the UK for many years. In his professional life, John has developed a particular interest in presentation skills, including the role of pictures in learning and the appropriate use of the PowerPoint program.

Thursday 19 October 2023
Presented by Ian Swankie
Venue & Time: Burke & Wills Hotel, Cunningham Room, 6pm

London not only has a world-class reputation for art in its many galleries, but also a remarkable range of art outside in the streets. We tour around the capital discovering some of the most interesting works from across the centuries. They range from huge and expensive commissions to unofficial graffiti, which is sometimes audacious and often playful, but they all have a place in our society. We look at why art is there, how it has developed over the years and discover many hidden gems. 

Ian Swankie is a Londoner with a passion for art and architecture. He is an official guide at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Guildhall Art Gallery and St Paul’s Cathedral. Since 2012 he has led a popular weekly independent art lecture group in his hometown of Richmond in West London.. He is an accredited lecturer for The Arts Society, and a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Art Scholars, one of the City Livery Companies.

Thursday 16 November 2023


Venue: Burke & Wills Hotel

Time:   5:45pm for a 6pm start

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