Archive for the ‘NSW Branch News’ Category


Biennial Conference: An Update

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis

Helen and Denise, the organisers of the Biennial Conference, would like to share an update regarding this year’s conference in Albury in September.

Dear Ricardian Friends

We hope this finds you and your families all safe and coping with this most challenging situation.

Like many organisers we need to look at the difficult situation the country is facing – the current coronavirus epidemic and consider the safety and advisability of continuing our event.

We wrote this a week ago but as events have been unfolding so quickly, held off to see where the situation might go.

At this stage we still believe we should go ahead hoping we can all get together in September on the other side of this most challenging time.

We propose that we look at the situation on 1 July and make a decision. Information may be clearer by then. Hopefully the epidemic will be either over or receding.

It is good to try and think positively.

Continuing will provide an opportunity to reaffirm our community after this difficult time.

It will also help support our friends at the Manor House in Albury.  Regional businesses, in fact all our local suppliers and businesses, will need support to continue and get going again.  We can try and do our little bit to kick start things for them too.

As organisers we don’t have to make any financial commitments at this time so have flexibility in planning. We do need to know how many would still consider coming along. Please let us know at least if you are still keen to carry on or what you are thinking.

I encourage you to think about coming along. All your payments will be fully refundable.

And also think about presenting some research or information or entertainment!

We are eagerly waiting to hear from you all.

As we are now socially isolating at least there will be time a) to do extra reading and research b) to develop great presentations and, in the future beyond the virus, there will be so much extra socialising to catch up!

Lets travel as hopefully as possible.

Denise and Helen for the Albury 2020 conference team



April branch meeting cancelled

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis

Our April 2020 branch meeting has been cancelled!

In consideration of the coronavirus, our branch committee decided to cancel our April branch meeting (scheduled for 4 April 2020).  Medical experts recommend that we avoid large gatherings of people.  While our meetings do not attract the numbers they are talking about, we nevertheless feel it would be in the best interest of our members and friends not to expose them to the virus, if it can be avoided.  In particular, as many of us come to the meetings by public transport.

We all regret that it affects our much anticipated “book club”, especially as we probably have all read the two books we were going to discuss.  We promise we will re-schedule the “book club” at a later stage.

We hope that our June meeting (scheduled for 30 May 2020) can go ahead as planned. We will keep you informed.

In the meantime, please stay healthy!


The Farewell to Kevin Herbert

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis

We are very grateful to our long-term member Ann Chandler for sharing her thoughts about Kevin Herbert’s funeral with us.

The Farewell to Kevin Herbert

The 5th of March, the day of Kevin’s funeral was a drear day with rain bucketing down in cold sheets……and the skies were grey, perhaps in reflection of our feelings. Inside the church, however, it was a different story. The light was soft and the leadlights glowed. Kevin’s casket was adorned with natives and our white roses were nearby, while Richard looked down from a close screen.

The service was just as Kevin wished and the music was sublime. So many lovely, traditional hymns sung by Jeremy Curtin, Giselle Grape, Gina Marshall and The Fathers Choir. Gerard Herbert, Maria Kelly and I presented the three eulogies. I made sure I was dressed in Richard’s colours, complete with Ricardian badges and a white rose. I also read out Julia’s letter on behalf of our society and Rob Smith’s (New Zealand Branch) letter to Kevin which he received before he passed.

After the beautiful mass, our dear friend was interred with his beloved mother. We all returned to the Belrose Hotel where we mingled and shared our stories and memories of Kevin. The food was fabulous, and Kevin’s family did Him proud! While we ate, drank and remembered, we were treated to a wonderful slideshow, compiled by our fellow Ricardian, Helen Porteus. It was great to see Kevin in his various costumes and familiar gestures. Helen’s husband, Allan, also generously gave a portrait of Kevin, which he had painted, to Kevin’s grateful family. It was a sad day and the end of an era but our dear Kevin was farewelled very well indeed… a true celebration of a life well lived.

The Farewell to Kevin Herbert

Kevin at the Australasian Convention in Sydney, 2013.

I will now include my portion of his eulogy:

I first met Kevin through the Richard The Third Society, almost thirty years ago. We immediately became great friends, bonded by our common interests and he became a most wonderful friend to my family—as he was to all of you. Kevin was always his own man, but he shared his life with extraordinary generosity. He was a tireless worker for our society and was the Social Secretary for many, many years and what a Social Secretary he was! We enjoyed so many great events, organised by Kevin and I know I speak for our society when I say that whenever Kevin was due to give a talk or deliver a speech, we were all excited because he had such a wealth of information and interesting anecdotes, all delivered with Kevin’s customary verve and enthusiasm. He was one of the most learned men I have ever met.

When I first met Kevin, I rather loftily stated, “I walk with the King!” Now other people may have looked over their shoulders with some alarm to check if Elvis was in the building………. but not Kevin. Quick as a flash, he replied, “And so do I!” And now our dear friend truly does walk with the King. He has taken his rightful place, by his side ….. his loyal and liege man. Yours was, indeed, a life well lived, so walk tall dear, dear Kevin.

Ann Chandler


Farewell our dear friend Kevin

   Posted by: Julia Redlich Tags:

All members of the New South Wales Branch of the Richard III Society will be saddened by news of Kevin Herbert’s death after such a long illness.

Kevin was a true Ricardian, always seeking more information about the man and his life and times. He devoured books, consulted maps, museums and libraries. He shared his knowledge and love, and our meetings were a joy for him, as were the conventions and conferences with other Australasian branches where he had so many friends (nearly as many as the costumes he wore to the banquets!).

To meet our travel needs Kevin’s information about train and bus time-tables, routes, and costs was encyclopaedic as was his knowledge of the period’s family trees. There was always something new to learn at the “C and Cs” (coffee and conversation) enjoyed with friends. These meetings with our fondly named “Special K” soon saw us discarding plans for world improvement and indulge in everything Ricardian. As you do.

A great thinker, a great Ricardian, a much-loved friend. That was Special K. How we’ll miss him.

Thank you, Kevin, for all you gave to us. God bless you.

A funeral service will be held on Thursday, 5 March 2020, at 10.30 am at Immaculate Catholic Church, Raglan Street, Manly.

Our April 2020 MeetingJust a short reminder that the next meeting of the NSW Branch of the Richard III Society will be on 4 April 2020, i.e. the FIRST Saturday of the month instead of the second.  The reason is that our venue, the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, is closed over the long Easter Weekend.

It will be a Book Club Meeting.  Our first book club meeting took place in June last year and proved a huge success.  We therefore decided to make it an annual feature.

The intention this year is to look more closely at the fascinating women on both sides during Richard’s period.  The committee has approved two books:

  • Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin & Michael Jones, The Women of the Cousins’ War
  • Sarah Gristwood, Blood Sisters

Leslie, who will lead the discussion, assured our members that if they prefer, they can, of course, choose any Ricardian or English History book, fiction or nonfiction, to read instead and share their opinion with us at the meeting.

There still is time to get your reading done and we hope you enjoy our choice as much as we did.

Looking forward to a lively discussion on 4 April 2020!


February 2020 Meeting

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis

February 2020 Meeting

Please join us for our General Meeting on 8 February 2020 at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney.

We are very pleased to welcome Tony McCurdy, who will speak on ‘Richard III, hero or villain; modern forensics applied to an old mystery‘.

The meeting will start at 2pm, but you are most welcome to join us for lunch at the Walrus Café next door beforehand.

Looking forward to seeing you on 8 February!



Astronomy in the Middle Ages

   Posted by: Rhonda Bentley

The Plantagent Society has planned and exciting talk for their January 2020 meeting.  They have kindly invited members and friends of our branch to share this event:

The Plantagenet Society of Australia welcomes visitors to their next meeting on Saturday, January 18 at 2pm at St John’s Church, Gordon.

 We have been fortunate to book Professor Fred Watson who will speak about “Astronomy in the Middle Ages”.

 Entry $5. Afternoon tea supplied.


Season’s Greetings to all our readers

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: , ,

Wishing all our readers a very merry Christmas

and lots of happiness and peace for the New Year.



Enjoy a carol from King’s College Chapel in Cambridge (click here).

Richard III was a generous benefactor of the building of the chapel, which had been started by Henry VI.  By the end of his reign the first six bays of the Chapel had reached full height and the first five bays, roofed with oak and lead, were in use. [1]  It was the Tudor kings, Henry VII and Henry VIII, who would eventually finish the chapel.


‘History of the Chapel’, King’s College Cambridge.  URL: [last accessed 23 November 2018]

“A Closer Look at the Roses Used as Symbols During the Wars of the Roses”

presented by Dianne Herbert

Dianne Herbert, a long standing member of the Richard III Society, introduced us to the Alba Semi-Plena, the rose we know of as the White Rose of York. It is not like the mass produced roses we know today, being much simpler but more perfumed. Roses are thought to have originated in Persia (Iran) about 35 million years old and were brought to the west by the Crusaders. The Middle East was a major producer of rosewater, rose attar (rose essence or rose oil) and rose petals, for use in medicine, as food and in cosmetics. The Alba doesn’t interbreed successfully with other roses.

Review of 14 December 2019 Meeting

Rosa ‘Semi-plena’ (Photo by A. Barra via Wikimedia Commons)

There are a number of stories associated with roses. Apparently, roses only started to produce thorns when evil appeared in the world. At the Feast of Heliogabalus (204 – 222), guests died after being smothered in rose petals. The oldest rose bush alive today was established by King Louis the Pious (King of the Franks) in 815, and is at Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany. In the Middle Ages, a rose suspended from the ceiling meant that those present were sworn to secrecy.

Review of 14 December 2019 Meeting

Thousand-year-old rose, Hildesheim (Photo by Bischöfliche Pressestelle Hildesheim via Wikimedia Commons)

Edmund Langley, 1st Duke of York was the first nobleman to use the White Rose of York. Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster used the red rose (Rosa gallica). Margaret of Anjou was known as the Red Rose of Anjou. Edward IV’s wife, Elizabeth Woodville used a white rose. Edward IV’s mistress, Jane Shore was known as the Rose of London. And it was not until 1829 that the term “Wars of the Roses” was used, when Sir Walter Scott included the term in his novel Anne of Geierstein.

White Rose of York

There is a “Jacobite” or “Bonny Prince Charlie’s” rose, as well as a rose called “York and Lancaster”. Roses have been cultivated in China since the 11th century, and a Rose Museum has recently been opened in Beijing. Unfortunately, there are no native roses in the Southern Hemisphere.

It was interesting to learn about the history of roses and the white rose in particular. We could hear Dianne’s love of roses in her talk. Amongst other roses, she grows “Mr Lincoln”, “Duchess of Provence”, and the “Peace Rose”. I’m sure her garden is spectacular.

The NSW Branch held its 1st Book Club at the Members’ Meeting on 8 June 2019 and it was a very lively and stimulating discussion.  It was so successful the Committee decided that the Book Club will become an annual event.

The books reviewed at our Book Club this year were: –

  1. “Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England” by Thomas Penn
  2. “The Devil in Ermine” by Isolde Martyn
NSW Branch meets for a Book Club

Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England

The “Winter King” was acknowledged as not an easy read due to the writing style and terminology used by Penn.  The book was a more scholarly read and the narrative was not necessarily chronological, however Members persevered, and a very interesting picture of Henry VII arose, one that we may not have previously understood.  Henry VII emerged as a paranoid, secretive, devious and duplicitous individual who would stop at nothing to hold on to his crown and fill his treasury – he was unsentimental towards those who had served him well and subsequently, had fallen from favour.  Henry was avaricious and Penn’s narrative about how this was enacted was revealing.  Although it was hard going, the majority of the book club members finished the book, and all acknowledged they found it interesting and learnt from the experience.

NSW Branch meets for a Book Club

The Devil in Ermine

“The Devil in Ermine” was acknowledged as excellent, as we have all come to expect from Isolde.  Isolde’s story on the Duke of Buckingham and his revolt was well researched and very informative about this troubling and treasonous event during the reign of Richard III.  Isolde made this complex event into an easy to read and understand narrative that brought to light a treacherous, inexperienced, reactive and emotional character in Buckingham that seriously threatened Richard III and his reign.

We look forward to the next Book Club, to be held on Saturday 4 April 2020.  The Books we will be reading are:

  1. “Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses” by Sarah Gristwood
  2. “Women of the Cousins’ War: The Real White Queen and Her Rivals” by Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin and Michael Jones

Please join us!