Yarra  (Caulfield)

ADFAS Yarra welcomes you.

You are warmly invited to join us at ADFAS Yarra to explore the fascinating world of the Decorative and Fine Arts. Visual and performing arts, history and literature form the basis for the nine beautifully illustrated lectures that are presented during the year by international and local experts. You will be able to 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.

‘Art is everywhere, if only you have eyes to see it.’

Jeanne Hebuterne with hat & necklace, Amedeo Modigliani 1917


Lectures are held in the Glen Eira Town Hall, corner Glen Eira and Hawthorn Roads, Caulfield. Parking, including disabled parking, is available in the Town Hall’s car park and surrounding streets.

Lectures are on Thursdays at:
Morning lectures:  10 am
Afternoon lectures:  1.30 pm

Find full details of the 2023 program here

The joining fee is $40 and the annual subscription for 2023 is:
$160 (singles)
$310 (couples living at the same address)
Click here to join or email: adfasyarra@gmail.com

Guests welcome:
Members are welcome to bring guests to lectures but prior registration is required, and no individual guest can attend more than three lectures per year.
The price for guests is $25 for each lecture.

For guest bookings please contact Heather Marmur on 0493 433 817

For all enquiries please email: adfasyarra@gmail.com
Postal Address: ADFAS Yarra PO Box 51 Elsternwick VIC 3185
ABN: 89 563 628 670

Committee 2023
Chair: Jan Bennellick
Treasurer: Jane Anthony
Secretary: Maggie Moran
Membership: Heather Marmur  Ph: 0493 433 817


Thursday 23 February 2023
Presented by Claudia Chan Shaw
Venue:  Glen Eira Town Hall
Morning lecture:   10 a.m.  Afternoon lecture:   1.30 p.m.

At the end of the First World War New York emerged as one of the world’s great cities. This was the Machine Age. Manhattan found its expression in skyscrapers, apartment buildings and movie palaces. From the late 1920s, the glories of the past inspired the fantasies of the future, in the explosion of exotic modern styles we now call Art Deco. This lecture explores not only the city’s celebrated Art Deco skyscrapers, but the decorative arts and influences behind this global movement.

Claudia Chan Shaw has a diverse career spanning art and design, photography, curating, television and radio presenting, arts commentary, public speaking, and collecting.

Image: Wisdom. Rockefeller Centre NYC

Thursday 23 March 2023
Presented by Nigel Bates
Venue:   Glen Eira Town Hall
Morning lecture:  10 a.m.  Afternoon lecture:  1.30 p.m.

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. This lecture will take us through 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.

Nigel Bates is the former 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.

Image: Sadler’s Wells Theatre

Thursday 27 April 2023

Our first trip for the year will be to the Mornington Peninsula. The changing colours of the deciduous trees will be a backdrop for our visit to the McClelland Sculpture Park in Langwarrin and the Royal Botanic Gardens Australian Garden at Cranbourne.

Image: Paraphernalia, Clement Meadmore 1999. Photo © Mark Ashkanasy

Thursday 25 May 2023
Presented by Dr. Tom Flynn
Venue:  Glen Eira Town Hall
Morning lecture:  10 a.m.   Afternoon Lecture:  1.30 p.m.

After a painting purporting to be a work by Leonardo da Vinci sold for the staggering sum of $450.3 million dollars at an auction in New York, the world looked aghast at the art market and wondered whether it was out of control. The international art market now frequently sees breathtaking prices paid for works of art by the world’s most important painters and sculptors: $200 million for a Jackson Pollock ‘drip’ painting, and even $120,000 for a banana duct-taped to a gallery wall. This lecture explores the dizzying prices paid for ‘blue-chip’ works of art and throws light on the secretive mechanisms and confidential ‘behind-the-scenes’ deals that help bring them about.

Dr. Tom Flynn is a UK-based art historian, writer, and art consultant. He holds a BA Honours degree (First Class) in Art History from the University of Sussex, a Masters in Design History from the Royal College of Art, and a doctorate from the University of Sussex. His interests include the historical development and professional practice of the European art markets.

Image: Damien Hirst’s Shark

Thursday 15 June 2023
Presented by Dr. Andrew Montana
Venue:  Glen Eira Town Hall
Morning lecture:  10 a.m.  Afternoon lecture:  1.30 p.m.

This lecture highlights the remarkable rise in decorative painting and design that flowered in Britain during the second half of the nineteenth century. With aesthetic beauty and symbolic power, diverse visual worlds portrayed subjects from Greek and Roman classical mythology, referenced Biblical, Medieval and Renaissance figures, and incorporated Japanese aesthetics, nature, and the arts of Islam and the Middle East. This lecture contrasts the ‘high art’ and idealism of artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Sir Frederick Leighton, and George Frederic Watts with the sensual beauty expressed in the paintings of Albert Moore, and the art for art’s sake moods created in James Abbott McNeil Whistler‘s paintings and decorations.

Dr. Andrew Montana is a senior lecturer in art history and curatorship at the Australian National University. His research is in the areas of visual arts, architecture, design and the decorative arts.

Image: Portrait of Ellen Terry, George Frederic Watts

Wednesday 19 July 2023
Presented by Lucrezia Walker
Venue:  Glen Eira Town Hall
Afternoon lecture:  1.30 p.m.

In love with the romance of the High Middle Ages, a group of seven young men banded together in 1848 to overthrow the stuffy teachings promulgated at the Royal Academy in favour of a new art. Retreating from the ugly realities of the industrial age, the Pre-Raphaelites were in love with an idealised vision of the medieval world: of knights and jousts, damsels in castles, courtly love and pilgrimage. Their paintings found patrons in mid-Victorian England, and ironically, among captains of industry and commerce.

Lucrezia Walker is an independent art historian and a lecturer and gallery guide at the National Gallery in London. She is the author of several books on 19th and 20th century artists and art movements.

Image: The Lady of Shallott, John William Waterhouse 1888

Thursday 20 July 2023
Presented by Lucrezia Walker
Venue:  Glen Eira Town Hall
Morning lecture:  10 a.m.  Afternoon lecture:  1.30 p.m.

This lecture looks at the life and work of Amedeo Modigliani. Living and working in Montmartre and Montparnasse in turn of the century Paris, Modigliani embodies the quintessential image of the bohemian artist: handsome, impoverished, living hard, engrossed in his own distinctive mode of expression, dying young only to be celebrated after his short life ended.

Image: Jeanne Hébuterne, Amedeo Modigliani 1919

Thursday 3 August 2023


Our winter trip will be to the western suburbs of Melbourne for guided tours to two buildings of dramatically different architectural styles. Our first stop will be to the Australian Islamic Centre designed by Glenn Murcutt and Elevli Plus and completed in 2019. This will be followed by a visit to the grand 19th-century Italianate-style Werribee Park Mansion and its gardens.

Image: Australian Islamic Centre

Thursday 24 August 2023
Presented by Nirvana Romell
Venue:  Glen Eira Town Hall
Morning lecture:  10 a.m.  Afternoon lecture:  1.30 p.m.

The small Italian city of Ravenna is well known for its mesmerising mosaics. However, the Northern Adriatic coast has two more World Heritage Sites, and many smaller places showcasing incredible mosaics. For centuries, Aquileia hid the largest early Christian mosaic in Europe. In Poreč mosaics, for one of the first times in the history of Christianity and art, a Byzantine Madonna triumphantly sits on the throne above the altar. These mosaics have great aesthetic beauty and story-telling powers. This lecture explains their main themes (cockerel vs. tortoise; Noah in the shade of the courgette plant; Mary among female martyrs etc.) and their function within their socio-political background.

Nirvana Romell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in the History of Art and Masters of Arts in English Language and Literature. Since 2003, Nirvana has worked as a freelance lecturer, public programmes consultant and tour director.

Image: Justinian I, Roman Emperor 527-565

Thursday 28 September 2023
Presented by John Ericson
Venue:  Glen Eira Town Hall
Morning lecture:  10 a.m.  Afternoon lecture:  1.30 p.m.

This lecture looks at the work of Norman Rockwell. A storyteller with a brush! Rockwell was a celebrated and prolific twentieth century painter and illustrator whose work has been seen by a larger audience than any other artist in history. In America, his work enjoys broad popular appeal, where he is most famous for the cover illustrations he created for The Saturday Evening Post. Today his work sells for millions of dollars.

John Ericson, formerly Director of Studies in the School of Education and lecturer at the University of Bath has been a popular speaker for The Arts Society in the UK for many years. John has a particular interest in presentation skills, including the role of pictures in learning.

Image: Self Portrait, Norman Rockwell 1960

​Wednesday 25 October 2023
Presented by Ian Swankie
Venue:  Glen Eira Town Hall
Afternoon lecture:  1.30 p.m.

This 3-part talk explores the heart of the City of London:

  1. The Medieval Guildhall – a London nerve centre for 2,000 years -sculpture, monuments, and art in this               gothic treasure trove.
  2.  Romans and Romantics – the Guildhall Art Gallery, one of the country’s real hidden gems.
  3.  An armchair stroll around the Square Mile

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, and gives tours at each venue. He is also a qualified and active freelance London guide.

Image: Guildhall, London

Thursday 26 October 2023
Presented by Ian Swankie
Venue:  Glen Eira Town Hall
Morning lecture:  10 a.m.  Afternoon lecture:  1.30 p.m.

The past decade has seen the meteoric rise of this extraordinarily versatile British designer with his acclaimed Olympic cauldron, the iconic new London bus, and designs for a spectacular new Headquarters building for Google. Over the last twenty years the Heatherwick Studio has used an intriguing combination of curiosity and experimentation to produce a vast range of solutions to design challenges around the world. This lecture looks at the problems presented and the wonderfully creative ways in which Heatherwick and his team have responded.

Image: Angel’s Wings, Thomas Heatherwick 2002

Thursday 9 November 2023
Presented by Dr. Alison Inglis
Venue:  Glen Eira Town Hall
AGM and Lecture: 10 a.m.

Victoria is privileged to possess over 20 regional art museums. Some of these date back to the 19th century, like the ‘gold fields galleries’ of Ballarat and Bendigo. Others, such as Wodonga’s Hyphen Library Gallery and the Shepparton’s SAM, were established or redeveloped recently. These art museums are very diverse in terms of architectural character and offer a range of experiences that reflect their different regional communities. Yet they also share a common mission: to acquire, display and conserve their valuable collections which are of great aesthetic and historical significance. This lecture examines the history of our state’s remarkable regional art museums and considers their achievements, not only as important custodians of our visual heritage but also as incubators of creative innovation.

Dr. Alison Inglis is an Associate Professor in Art History at the University of Melbourne. She is particularly engaged by the role of art museums in Australian society and is a Board Member with several Victoria’s cultural institutions including the National Gallery of Victoria (of which she is an Emeritus Trustee).

Image: Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) 2021. Photo ©Tim Griffith