Society News

Membership fees have been increased for 2012

Membership fees for all membership types with the exception of Life membership will have a small increase from 2012 onwards. Australiana membership fees have remained at current levels for many years but due to increasing costs of producing the Australiana magazine, the committee has voted to increase our membership fees by a small increase of $5.00 across the board.

Houshold membership will increase from $55.00 per annum to $60.00 per annum, Institutions membership will increase from $60.00 per annum to $65.00 per annum and Student memberships will increase from $25 per annum to $30 per annum. Life membership remain at the current level with a one time payment of $1,100.

The small increase will ensure that the Society remain financially viable and continue to publish the Australiana magazine, a forum for researchers and collectors to share and record new works of research, and articles of information on Australiana.

Ceramics Talk and "Show & Tell", 14th September 2011 

On 14th September members of the Society and their guests were entertained by Donna Braye and Greg Currie speaking about Australian ceramics. Donna is the assistant librarian at the Mosman library and has curated several exhibitions which have included Australian studio and commercial pottery. The title of her talk was “Fired the Mosman Library” and she spoke about the themes of her exhibitions and in particular about the Society of Arts and Crafts of NSW which had been founded in Mosman in 1906.


Donna illustrated her talk with pieces made by members of the Arts and Crafts Society including  native birds by Grace Seccombe, whimsical koalas and windswept vases by Merric Boyd, a cicada vase by Phillipa James  and the “hero” piece, a Waratah vase by Marian Munday. Donna also showed several bookends from the exhibion she curated entitled “Bookends… another chapter” including koalas by Remued, gum nuts and leaves by E Bryce Carter, Poker ware decorated with flannel flowers, poinsettias and kookaburras and upside down bathing beauties by Wembley Ware.

  Greg Currie is a passionate collector of Australian studio pottery and brought along many beautiful pieces from his own collection including several of those which had been included in the Mosman Library exhibitions. His brief talk was titled “Handbuilt” and he concluded by saying “let the pieces speak for themselves.” He was extremely generous in inviting the audience to pick up and examine in detail any of his prized possessions. Among many beautiful things were the budgerigar lamp base by Clare Pitman, laughing kookaburra bookends by Grace Seccombe, dragon vases by Eric Finlay and a superb parrot on a stump by Olive Nock.

Subsequently several Society members did a “show and tell” of pottery and ceramics from their own collections, which resulted in much lively discussion, and rounded out a very enjoyable evening. 

Australiana Society at the AAADA Fair, 7th - 11th September 2011

A membership drive by the Society was conducted at this year's AAADA Fair. The Society is most greatful to the AAADA for its generosity in providing a complementary stand at the fair. A broad range of objects from members' collections were displayed at the stand, providing the fair public with an instant introduction to Australiana - items on display included colonial furniture, ceramics and pottery, contemporary silver, vintage toys, aboriginal artefacts, prints and watercolours, and decorative textiles.


Volunteers from the membership and committee members were in attendance at the stand throughout the opening night and four days of the fair, providing information about the Society and answering questions about the benefits of membership and the Australiana magazine. Great interest was generated by our presence at the fair and many new members were welcomed to the Australiana Society at the fair. We look forward to meeting our new members at future Society events and meetings.

The Australiana Society Annual Dinner and Lecture. 4th February 2011

  A report by Jim Bertouch, Society President

This year the lecture was given by Dr Robert Bell, who is the senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the National Gallery of Australia. In a departure from previous years the Annual dinner was not held on Australia Day, but was arranged for a weekend evening close to the 26th January so that the various public holiday celebrations could be enjoyed. 

The venue was the dining room in The Women’s College at the University of Sydney. It happened to be the hottest weather ever recorded overnight for the month of February in Sydney, but this didn’t deter the audience who enjoyed pre-dinner drinks followed by an excellent meal, and wine that had been especially bottled for the College.

Following the main course, Paul Donnelly introduced Dr Bell who spoke on the topic:- Australiana now: a decade of collecting 21st century Australian craft and design at the National Gallery of Australia.

Stephen Bowers, The links of Charmshire (an Antipodean homage to Grayson Perry) 2007, Earthenware with underglaze painting , 7.0 x 65.0 cm diameter. National Gallery of Australia, Purchased with funds from the Meredith Hinchliffe Fund 2009.


The presentation was illustrated with photos of many beautiful objects crafted by a wide variety of contemporary Australian designers. One of the themes of the talk was the influence of environmental, social and political issues on the style, texture and presentation of craft, whether made from glass, timber, pottery or other medium.

Some of the highlights included the exceptional large glass Sea Urchin by Kevin Goodman, an earthenware plate with underglaze painting by Stephen Bowers illustrating icons like the Harbour Bridge intertwined with banksias and cockatoos, and contemporary furniture incorporating cabinetmaking techniques derived from ancient China and Barossa Valley Germanic pieces by Khai Liew.

The harsh nature of the Australian landscape was reflected in the pierced, bleached and skeletal-like ceramics of Bruce Nuske, the earthy colours of pots by Pippin Drysdale and Toni Warburton’s textured earthenware landform with references to the Jenolan Caves. There was whimsical painting on glass of horses, humans and toadstools by Deb Cocks and social commentary by Tom Moore in his glassware sportscar titled “These young hooligans”.

There was even a political ceramic piece with underglaze painting by Patsy Hely from 2009, showing the (then) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd presenting a medal to Tony Negus, somewhat inadvertently illustrating the ephemeral nature of politics.

A ceramic work by Lynda Draper utilised an illuminated religious statue of Mary which had been covered in white moths. John Goulder’s “Glissando” credenza, constructed from walnut, with sinuous, wavy door fronts, is designed to mimic the “glide” from one musical pitch to the next.

One interesting aspect, which was emphasised by Robert Bell, was that all of these objects were made in the last ten years, thus serving to remind us that the term Australiana is timeless. 

Dr Bell’s presentation provided a fascinating insight into the acquisitions philosophy of the National Gallery, and illustrated the wide range of contemporary decorative arts made in Australia. It was a very interesting presentation and, together with the dinner, rounded out a very enjoyable evening.