Yarra (Caulfield)

Postal Address:

PO Box 51
Elsternwick 3185

ABN:  89 563 628 670

“Art is everywhere, if only you have eyes to see it.”

You are warmly invited to join us at ADFAS Yarra to explore the fascinating world of the arts. Visual and performing arts, history and literature form the basis for our nine beautifully illustrated lectures that are presented by international and local experts. You will share refreshments after each lecture with like-minded members in a convivial and welcoming atmosphere.  Regular newsletters will provide you with information on lecturers, art news, optional excursions and enrichment events.

Committee 2021

Carol Johnston
0409 871 254

Vice Chair:
Denise Sarah
0431 672 776

Heather Marmur
0415 542 542

Guest Bookings:
Joanna Ingram
0438 370 461


Jane Anthony
0409 936 066

Membership Secretary:
Berres Thom
0421 160 918

Newsletter Editor:
Jan Bennellick
0400 261 044




ADFAS Yarra may hold both digital and face to face lectures during the year, according to Public Health determinations in our state, and the capacity of our venue. Refreshments will be served if regulations allow. Members will be informed promptly of any changes to these arrangements.

Thursday 25 February 2021
Bells and Pomegranates

The popular ADFAS lecturer, Geoffrey Edwards, needs no introduction.  The poetry of Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Alfred, Lord Tennyson, literary giants of the Victorian Age, is notable for its romantic imagination. As such, their work reflects a keen interest in the visual arts: in painters, paintings and photography.  This lecture considers that proposition together with an account of the Brownings as art collectors.

Thursday 18 March 2021
Whiteley on Trial
Gabriella Coslovich

Can we successfully prosecute art fraud in Australia?  Arts journalist and author, Gabriella Coslovich, tackles this thorny question using her first-hand experience of an extraordinary art fraud trial concentrating on three suspect paintings in the style of the celebrated and flawed Australian artist, Brett Whiteley.  Her answer may not reassure you.

(In the corresponding image, Gabriella Coslovich, author of Whiteley on Trial, inspects the suspect painting ‘Big Blue Lavender Bay’, purportedly by Brett Whiteley.)

Thursday 8 April 2021
Buninyong Gardens and Begonias

Grand vistas, begonias and sculptures are among the highlights of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.  Enjoy a generous morning tea overlooking Lake Wendouree.  Two spectacular private gardens are hidden on picturesque back roads near Buninyong.  First we visit an iconic 1850s garden and homestead.  We then drive to a stunning modern home and garden for lunch.  Our hosts will share their design concepts, focusing on the interrelationships between the interior and exterior spaces.  Perhaps take a stroll around the lake to gain an alternative perspective on this delightfully landscaped home.

Thursday 6 May 2021
Tapestries from France and Flanders

Cresside is a tapestry artist and founding weaver of the Australian Tapestry Workshop.  Since 2011, she has run her annual tour Mastering the Fine Art of Tapestry to France and the UK to engage with the historical context and contemporary practice of this rich, tactile art form.  In this lecture, Cresside will explore the history of tapestry weaving in these European centres and discuss the major suites of tapestries such as the 15th century Lady and the Unicorn that exists to this day.

Thursday 3 June 2021
Painting the French Revolution

Peter McPhee is a widely-published scholar on the French Revolution. Historians of art commonly associate the French Revolution with the great painters of the age, notably Jacques-Louis David.  This lecture also examines the work of lesser forgotten painters who tried to capture the exhilaration and fears of living through revolutionary upheaval. In the process they painted not only on canvas but on an extraordinary array of objects. Their work varies greatly in quality but offers a rich insight into what it meant to be living in revolutionary times.

Wednesday 30 June 2021
Passion or Pathology?  What Motivates the Great Collectors

The process of instigating and refining a significant collection is something that often evolves over time, starting as an initial spark of interest before becoming a fully blown, life-long passion.  Christopher Marshall, Senior Lecturer in Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Melbourne, will explore the motivations of great collectors, plumbing the depths as well as the glories in their relentless pursuit of art and culturally significant objects.

Thursday 1 July 2021
The rise of the rebel angels:  Caravaggio and his followers

Christopher Marshall, Senior Lecturer in Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Melbourne, will explore the life, work and influence of a painter whose significance is attributable as much to issues of artistic identity as it is to his art.  Caravaggio spearheaded an innovative and darkly dramatic style which formed one of the twin sources of inspiration for the early development of the Baroque.  Caravaggesque painting became an international phenomenon during the opening decades of the seventeenth century.

Thursday 5 August 2021
Khayamiya:  A History of the Egyptian Tentmakers

With needles, scissors and thimbles, the Tentmakers of Cairo sew spectacular walls of colour.  These ‘Khayamiya’ appliques are used to decorate the streets of Egypt, transforming public spaces into vibrant ceremonial pavilions.  They inspired the paper cut-outs of Henri Matisse, were collected as souvenirs by the ANZACS, and are now an endangered art form in Egypt.  Dr. Sam Bowker, Senior Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture for Charles Sturt University, will feature unpublished archival photographs and actual textiles to showcase the transformations in Khayamiya over the last 150 years. 

Thursday 26 August 2021
From Birrarung to Yarra and back again

Alisa is the Curator of the Grimwade Collection at the University of Melbourne.  Melbourne was established at the waterfall on the Birrarung that separated freshwater from salt, an important cultural site and crossing point for members of the Kulin nation.  The river – named the Yarra by settlers – immediately became a defining feature in depictions of the developing city. This talk explores changing visual representations of, and attitudes to, the Yarra River in Melbourne’s first century.

Wednesday 29 September 2021


Desperate Housewives – French Bourgeois women and the velvet prison of the boudoir

Sylvia Sagona is an internationally recognised specialist on 19th century French society and a well known speaker on French and Italian art, history and society. The first lecture will look at the tightly policed upbringing of the future young bourgeois bride whose limited horizons often led to neurosis and ‘wasting illness’.  Sylvia will extract the real meaning behind the images of a seemingly idyllic life in the work of the 19th century French Salon and Impressionist artists such as Renoir, Manet and Degas.




Nice and the Invention of the Riviera:  painting the Belle Epoque

The second lecture will investigate the importance of light in all its forms.  By the time Nice was handed over to the French under Napoleon III, it had become a winter haven for the European elite, boasting neo Moorish-Gothic-Russian follies set in sumptuous gardens.  It was, however, the vibrant colours which attracted the artists of the Belle Epoque who were enchanted by the luminosity of the landscape. It was here that Matisse, Renoir, Picasso and Chagall would create their masterpieces.

THURSDAY 30 September 2021
Madame de Pompadour and the politics of porcelain

The ‘divine Marquise’, who rose from obscurity to become Louis XV’s mistress, sole confidante and power behind the throne, cleverly maintained her power over the king in her role as arbiter of taste.  She masterminded the porcelain Manufacture de Sèvres and oversaw its designs which subtly celebrated her intelligence and beauty throughout Europe.  The lecture by Fine Arts specialist, Sylvia Sagona, will trace how the ‘divine Marquise’ carefully controlled her image through the manipulation of artists such as Boucher and writers such as Voltaire.

THURSDAY 14 October 2021
The Gardens of Wandin and Olinda

A visit is planned to two beautiful and very different gardens. 

The Coopersmith garden in Wandin North is situated on 10 acres which have been converted from swampland to 4 one-acre lakes surrounded by established trees, open spaces, bridges, a vegie garden and even a beach. 

The second garden, Olinda, is the home and garden of landscape designer, Phillip Johnson.  It is set on 7 acres in the Dandenong Ranges with filtered views to the Yarra Valley.  A highlight is a swimming pool in a billabong. Phillip was Winner – Best in Show at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2013 and his award-winning garden (inspired by his own garden, Olinda) is to be rebuilt in Victoria.

THURSDAY 11 November 2021
John Keats:  Romantic Poet

Ever-popular ADFAS lecturer, Susannah Fullerton, was awarded an OAM for services to literature and she will take us on a journey through the life and times of romantic poet, John Keats.  His life was tragically short, but Keats was blessed with a ‘teeming’ poetic gift which triumphed over both his personal suffering and savage criticism.  Amidst all this, he created some of the greatest poems in the English language.  Susannah recites some favourites and recounts the tale of the short but amazing life of this poet.  


Lectures are held in the Glen Eira Town Hall
Cnr. Glen Eira and Hawthorn Roads, Caulfield.
Morning lectures:  10 a.m.    Afternoon lectures:   1.30 p.m.
Digital lectures may be offered on either the same topic or a similar one.


We delight in welcoming new members.
For further information please contact our Membership Secretary:

Berres Thom
Membership Secretary
PO Box 51
Elsternwick  VIC  3185
0421 160 918
Email:  adfasyarra@gmail.com for further details.

The joining fee is $40 and the annual subscription is $175.  Please do not send money.  You will be advised when to send the joining fee and annual subscription.


Members are welcome to bring guests to lectures but prior registration is required.
The price for guests is $25 for each lecture.

Guest Bookings:
Joanna Ingram
0438 370 461
Email:  adfasyarra@gmail.com


ADFAS Yarra provides three newsletters each year.


Young Arts

2009 ADFAS Yarra Young Arts Awards

The 2009 ADFAS Yarra Art Awards were presented at the annual awards night at Monash University’s Department of Fine Arts, Faculty of Art & Design in November 2009.

Samantha Cuffe received the award for Glass, Amber Harris for Painting and Andrea Baxter for Drawing. The awards, valued at $550 each, are given to assist the recipients in the purchase of materials in their Honours year.

The Society was also able to present a cheque for over $1000 to the Abbotsford Convent

2008 ADFAS Yarra Young Arts Awards

The 2008 ADFAS Yarra Art Awards were presented at the annual awards night at Monash University ‘s Department of Fine Arts, Faculty of Art & Design on 14 November 2008.

Amanda McKenzie received the award for Glass, Sam Martin for Painting and Biatta Kelly for Drawing (Metals and Jewellery major). The awards, valued at $550 each, are given to assist the recipients in the purchase of materials in their Honours year.

The Society was also able to present, in October, the Victorian College of The Arts with a cheque for $1000 to assist their students.

2007 ADFAS Yarra Young Arts Awards

The 2007 ADFAS Yarra Art Awards were presented at the annual awards night at Monash University’s Department of Fine Arts, Faculty of Art & Design in November 2007

Des Fankhauser received the award for Glass, Jacob Weiss for Painting and Sarah Palmer for Drawing. The awards are given to assist the recipients in the purchase of materials in their Honours year.

2006 ADFAS Yarra Young Arts Awards

The 2006 ADFAS Yarra Art Awards were presented at the annual awards night at Monash University’s Department of Fine Arts, Faculty of Art & Design on 21 November 2006

Caitlin McArdle received the award for Glass, and Alec Doherty for Painting. The awards are given to assist the recipients in the purchase of materials in their Honours year.