Archive for the ‘News’ Category

24
Nov

December Branch Meeting

   Posted by: Leslie McCawley Tags: ,

Our December Branch Meeting will take place on 8 December 2018 at 2 pm at the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, CBD (for a map go to our Upcoming Events page).

Our featured speaker for the last meeting of the year will be our own long-time branch member and long-serving executive committee member, Lynne Foley, who will give a presentation on some of the more colourful Christmas customs of the Ricardian era.

Please join us for this festive time of year!

20
Nov

Richard III Albury 2018 Conference

   Posted by: Julia Redlich Tags: , ,

Albury conference, November 2018

 

A Regular Ricardian Reunion

In 2007 the New South Wales Branch started a biennial one-day conference for members unable to attend Australasian conventions because of distance. Other branches soon joined in and this year met again at the Albury Manor House Hotel with its wonderful medieval style – and a management that knows exactly what is wanted and provides it with bells on!

Arrivals were made special when Queensland member Mark Porter’s two little girls in medieval gowns offered everyone a white rose tied with maroon and blue ribbons, and their brother in “armour” and brandishing a “sword” presented red poppies for Remembrance Day provided by the Robyn Pidcock, Victoria’s tireless craft expert. We wore them proudly for an evening of wining, dining, conversation and enjoyable reunion.

Friday morning we all gathered in a room, with Richard’s banner taking pride of place. A historical quiz, prepared by Kevin Herbert, was handed out for completion during the day. Sadly, Kevin was not present due to the recurrence of a medical condition, but fellow branch members, Marnie and Chris Lo, replaced his presentation with their recent “How to rebury a medieval king”.

In the absence of NSW Branch chairperson, Judith Hughes, the Australasian vice president, New Zealand’s Rob Smith welcomed everyone on her behalf and read a goodwill message from Phil Stone. Then Helen Portus and Denise Rawling, organisers of the event, started proceedings them with a light-hearted history of the Wars of the Roses. LOL!

A variety of presentations by delegates included Queensland’s Peter Stride enlightening us with the natural history of scoliosis – and later in the day made us begin to query a few Royal paternities. Julia Redlich from NSW spoke on medieval mothers and the possible reasons for their rotten reputations. Victoria Branch member Michael Iliffe considered Henry VI who unwittingly sparked the Cousins’ War, and NSW’s Dorothea Preis inspired us with reasons for future trips to the UK to visit Richard III’s mother Cecily, Duchess of York’s home in Berkhamsted. Anne Maslin from Victoria spoke on the rise and fall of John Howard , and Mark Porter sought answers from Rob Smith , Julia Redlich, Sue Walladge (South Australia), Victoria’s Ron and Robyn Pidcock and Louise Carson from Western Australia on why they became Ricardians. The day closed as Helen and Denise brought us up to date with how Richard III is viewed in the digital age.

The Branch sales table had been well patronised and only one item remained (a book about a Tudor, so that’s understandable!). Many raffle tickets had been sold and winners each received one from a covetable selection of prizes.

Many wore medieval costume for a delicious banquet, when the toasts to the Society, Richard III and Absent Friends were proposed by Sue Walladge, Ron Pidcock OAM and Louise Carson. Returning to the conference room the quiz answers were given as a PowerPoint presentation created by webmaster Mike Redstone. And the winner: Gillian Laughton from Victoria.

The conference concluded with a memorable tribute to John Ashdown-Hill MBE that Helen had produced. All Ricardians will miss John for his knowledge, writing, hard work on our behalf and his role in presenting Richard III in such a positive way to the world.

Saturday meant many of the delegates had to return home, but several stayed on for a coach tour that took in local landmarks, a wonderful winery, a delightful lunch and a trip around Albury, a place offering so much. Would it be too much to expect that Ricardians gather there again in the not too distant future?

15
Oct

Annual General Meeting of the NSW Branch

   Posted by: Judith Hughes Tags: ,

Last Saturday, 13 October 2018, the NSW Branch of the Richard III Society held its Annual General Meeting.  After the official part was concluded, Marnie and Christopher entertained us with an interesting talk on Richard III’s re-interment.

Annual General Meeting of the NSW Branch

Marnie and Christopher

Here is the Annual Report, which our Chairperson, Judith Hughes, delivered to the AGM.

Chairperson’s Report to the Annual General Meeting 2018

As Chairperson of the New South Wales Branch of the Richard III Society, it is my privilege to present the annual report for the 2017-2018 Ricardian Year.

Our enthusiastic membership continues to increase, enjoying the erudite and well researched talks and the friendly social contact at our Society meetings.

We continue to meet at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts at 280 Pitt Street, which has proved a convenient venue for our Ricardians in spite of Sydney’s present shambolic transport conditions.

Particular thanks to our wonderful committee, who keep our society running so efficiently. Rhonda as secretary and Judy as treasurer have facilitated so much great work throughout the year.

Leslie continues to publicise our activities through the Affinity newsletter, while Lynne, our vice-chairperson, has proved willing to step up to lead as well as to collect meeting fees. Joan continues to prepare delicious afternoon teas and to donate special raffle prizes, while Rachel has selected our book raffle prizes. Dorothea is our membership secretary and liaises with the English headquarters.

Very special gratitude must be extended to Laurence, who has run our website, and to Mike who will take over from Laurence as he retires. Mike supplies the sound system, which so greatly enhances the enjoyment of listening to our guest speakers.

Welcome to the committee to Marnie, who is so helpful and enthusiastic.

Once again we have contributed to the Bosworth wreath in the UK, while in Sydney we have been welcomed as usual to the Anglican Church of Australia, St James King Street, to commemorate Richard III and those who were lost at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Afterwards members met for lunch at the Vanto Restaurant in the Queen Victoria Building.

In November, we are looking forward to attending our Ricardian Conference which will, once again, be held at Albury. By meeting near the state border, it allows members, who cannot because of distance attend our bi-monthly meetings, to join us. The conference has been organised by Denise and Helen, Julia and Kevin to whom we are truly grateful.

For activities throughout the year, we have been delighted to rely on some very well-motivated speakers to share their research in most interesting talks and activities. Denise and Helen presented an amusing talk about Richard earlier in the year.

Our own Robert Hamblin awardee, Julia, talked to us about “Midsomer Murders”. She believes that many high-profile murders historically took place in the months between April and September She had researched the background of these murders. An example was the killing of the Scottish king Duncan by Macbeth as recorded by William Shakespeare as for the revenge killing of Lady Macbeth’s uncle years before.

Dorothea provided us with a beautifully illustrated talk about the Ewelme Alms Houses of the de la Pole family, which are still in use today.

Guest-speaker Rob Shipton told us about clocks throughout the ages.

Kevin constructed a quiz which explored Richard’s family. Each section highlighted a part of Richard’s life and served as a review of Richard’s life, a lively discussion ensuing.

At this October meeting, Chris and Marnie will discuss research into a recently discovered manuscript which elucidates the mystery of Richard’s burial, while Lynne Foley will present the talk “Christmas Rites and Customs” at our December meeting.

During the year we have been able to assist and encourage several Higher School Certificate students to research their History extension about Richard III. We wish them good luck for their HSC and look forward to greeting them at our meetings in the new year.

Thanks to all our members for their support. We look forward to seeing you all next year.

(We thank Jennie for the above photo of our speakers.)

29
Sep

Battle of Bosworth lost again

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis Tags: , , ,

Battle of Bosworth lost again

It doesn’t happen often that supporters of Richard III and those of Henry Tudor share the same view, but the latest battle of Bosworth, where Richard III lost his live and throne to Henry Tudor, achieved just that.

In the early evening (local time – thus in the middle of the night for us in Australia) of 25 September, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council’s planning committee had to decide whether to approve a planning application for a driverless vehicle testing track, which would intrude into part of Bosworth Battlefield.

The application had first been on the agenda a month ago, on 28 August, nearly exactly 533 years after the decisive battle. An automotive company, Horiba Mira, plans to build a “track [that] would include a 150 metre radius circle attached to a 350 metre long approach road”[i].  Part of the plan are also a two-storey control tower and communications masts.  The company has a technology park on adjacent land at Higham on the Hill.  At that meeting the decision was deferred for four weeks by 12 to 2.

The problem is that a part of this facility would be within the registered battlefield site.  According to Horiba Mira the test track only affects only 0.5% of the battlefield.  This may not sound like much, but as Mike Ingram[ii] points out, this is somewhat misleading.

There is the issue of this setting a precedent.  If building on this battlefield is okay, it would follow that building on any other is equally okay.  The same argument was made by others, among them Richard Mackinder, who had been closely involved with the research at Bosworth Battlefield.  He said “is this the thin end of the wedge for Bosworth and other battlefields?”[iii]

The measure of 0.5% is misleading.  The complete battlefield also includes outlying areas such as Sutton Cheney and Ambion Hill.  These are important to the story of the battle, but not the actual area, where the fighting took place.  However, the part which will be covered by the test track is potentially of much more importance.  As Ingram points out: “the site of the development could yet prove to be a key part of the actual battlefield, but it might not only be taken from public access, the development would also destroy any hope of further research as well.”   Indeed. cannonballs, a silver gilt boar badge probably worn by one of Richard III’s supporters and a leather bag were found nearby.[iv]

It is very disconcerting that Historic England – rather than opposing the plan – supported it.  And this although its own guidelines say “registered battlefields are designated heritage assets of the highest significance. They, and their setting, should be protected and enhanced, and the granting of permission for developments causing substantial harm should be wholly exceptional.”[v]

Unsurprisingly, those supporting the construction of the test track argued that it would create jobs.  This always seems to be the argument when debating any issue in the political sphere, when other – less measurable – interests speak against it, may it be historical significance like in this case, or for instance environmental concerns.

At the second meeting, only one person was allowed to speak against the development.  That person was only given three minutes to make his/her case.  From among various applicants, Richard Smith was selected.  He is the Education Officer of the Richard III Society as well as the chairperson of the Leicestershire Branch.  He did not just represent the Society though, but also other interested parties, from the Loyal Supporters of Richard III to the Battlefield Trust and even the Henry Tudor Society.  This shows once again that when it comes to the preservation of Bosworth Battlefield the supporters of Richard III and Henry Tudor are united.

Richard Smith stressed that the site was extremely important historically. He also disagreed with Historic England’s assertion that ‘less than substantial’ harm will be caused.  He reminded councillors that they are custodians of a rare asset and asked: “What will future generations think of the decision you make tonight if you are the officials who facilitate the vandalism of the site?”[vi]  We would like to thank Richard for fighting for preserving this important site.

One of the councillors asked the obvious question whether MIRA couldn’t buy a couple of fields on the other side of the A5 and build the track there.  Another councillor stated that 450 years of history where more important than short-term economic gain.

A petition against the proposed test track has got at the time of writing this post got 15,564 signatures, also from members of our branch here in NSW.   In addition, more than 450 letters of objection had been sent to the council, again some of the by members of the NSW Branch.

Unfortunately, in the end it all did not help and the council voted with 12 votes to 5 for the test track.  Horiba Mira plans to start building in December.

On a more positive note, the original plan included a new access road off Fenn Lane.  According to the company its main entrance off the A5 did not have the capacity to accommodate the volume of big trucks.  However, Leicestershire County Council objected to this plan because of potential damage to Fenn Lane and safety issues.

Notes:

[i] Martin, D., ‘What happened when councillors met to debate £26m MIRA track plan at Bosworth Battlefield’, Leicester Mercury (29 Aug. 2018).  URL:  https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/leicester-news/live-councillors-meet-debate-26m-1945400 [last accessed 31 Aug. 2018]

[ii] Mike Ingram, ‘Bosworth planners quote misleading percentages & unenforceable promises says battlefield author’, The Pipeline (31 Aug. 2018).  URL:  http://thepipeline.info/blog/2018/08/31/bosworth-planners-quote-meaningless-percentages-unenforceable-promises-says-battlefield-author/ [last accessed 1 Sept. 2018]

[iii] Quoted in Martin, D., ‘Live: Councillors decide whether to permit £26m testing track on Richard III’s Bosworth Battlefield’, Leicester Mercury (25 Sept. 2018).  URL:  https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/local-news/live-councillors-debate-whether-permit-2042715 [last accessed 26 Sept. 2018]

[iv] Neil Johnston, ‘My kingdom for a car? Bosworth track approved’, The Times (26 Sept. 2018).  URL:  https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/my-kingdom-for-a-car-bosworth-track-approved-hx63sx3rw [last accessed 27 Sept. 2018]

[v] Quoted in Ingram

[vi] Quoted in Martin, ‘Live: Councillors decide whether to permit £26m testing track on Richard III’s Bosworth Battlefield’

20
Sep

A Conference of Ricardians

   Posted by: Julia Redlich Tags: , , ,

A Conference of Ricardians

That’s a collective noun referring to those gathering in Albury, NSW, on Thursday, November 8th. Representatives of all Australasian Branches will meet at Albury Manor Hotel then and enjoy an evening of registering and dining, reunions and introductions.

Friday: a programme of presentations that will inform and entertain from familiar as well as new contributors.  There will be raffle tickets to buy for fabulous prizes and a special sales table (Christmas is coming!), a challenging quiz and, in the evening, a Medieval Banquet  (costumes welcome, but not obligatory) .

A Conference of Ricardians

Saturday: for those who don’t have to head homeward, a special Chelbec Tours coach will take delegates on a trip to the famous Bonegilla migrant camp, now a historical precinct, for a tour, a talk and morning tea. Then it’s on to some wineries, with lunch at Rutherglen’s Tuileries Café before heading to the delightful village of Chiltern. A brief tour of Albury ends the tour, to view its imposing public buildings, historic homes and delightful gardens.

Full details including costs will be sent, after the closing date of September 30, to those who have already registered interest in this. If the tour is not for you, Albury’s Botanic Gardens are wonderful, as are local book shops and galleries and, on Sunday, the Kiewa Markets.

If you would like to join the tour, or register for the conference itself, contact richardiiialbury2018@gmail.com  Spaces may be available.

13
Sep

Annual General Meeting

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis

The committee of the NSW Branch of the Richard III Society would like to invite you to the Annual General Meeting.  The AGM will be held at 2 pm on Saturday, 13 October 2018, at the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.

The committee needs new members.  Please consider, whether you would be able to support your branch of the Richard III Society by joining the committee.  If you would like to assist, please contact our Membership Secretary (at membership@richardiii-nsw.org.au) for a nomination form.

After the official part of the meeting we will be treated to talks by two Scrabble speakers.  They drew a Scrabble tile out of a bag earlier this year and prepared a short talk on a topic chosen by them, starting with the letter they drew.

9
Aug

Bosworth Service on 19 August 2018

   Posted by: Leslie McCawley

St James’ Church

Every year the Anglican Church of St James at 173 King Street in Sydney holds a service in which it briefly commemorates the Battle of Bosworth, and many of our members attend whether or not they are usually church-goers. It is a lovely historic building and offers the beautiful ‘high church’ Anglo-Catholic tradition of worship with incense and processing of the clergy. The service starts at 11:00 am, after which those who wish to usually go for lunch somewhere nearby.

The congregation has always been very welcoming to Richard III Society members, and we feel grateful that they are able to recognise Richard III in this way. All welcome.

(The above photo of St James’ Church is by Whiteghost.ink via Wikimedia Commons.)

2
Aug

The August General Meeting

   Posted by: Leslie McCawley

Our next General Meeting will take place on Saturday, 11 August 2018 at 2:00 PM.

The highly anticipated speaker for our next meeting will be long time member and raconteur par excellence, Kevin, presenting an array of amazing facts about Richard III and quizzing members on their own knowledge of our favourite monarch. Please join us on Level 1 at 280 Pitt Street, at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts for what promises to be an enjoyable program.

22
Jul

Richard III at Albury 2018

   Posted by: Julia Redlich

Now is the time to come to the party! Registration and payment deposit for the Ricardian conference at Albury on Friday November 9 is due on July 30.

The tireless conference organisers for the NSW Branch, Helen Portus and Denise Rawling, sent full details to all NSW Members and Friends earlier this year, as well as information and registration forms (with costs)  in recent Affinity issues and on our website. Secretaries of the other Australasian Branches of the Richard III Society were also informed and there has been a gratifying response. So act now if you want to enjoy a memorable time with fellow Ricardians.

 

What you need to know:

Place: Albury Manor Hotel, 593 Young St, Albury, NSW.

Accommodation: phone: 02 6041 1777; email: alburymanorhouse’AT’bigpond.com;  www.alburymanor.com.au

Arrival: Thursday, November 8.  Registration and afternoon tea from 3.30 pm.  Pre-dinner drinks at 6pm; dinner in the restaurant at own cost, followed by evening entertainment.

Conference: Friday, November 9. Many informative presentations; raffle, sales table, and morning and afternoon tea and lunch is provided; a special quiz with results and prizes at the medieval banquet in the evening (costume optional).

NSW Branch Sales table: donations are welcome, but they must be relevant to Richard III and medieval times. This is not a time to de-clutter your home regardless! Any items unsold on Friday must be removed by donor (there’s an opshop nearby).

Saturday, November 10. An excursion involving historic buildings, great wines, morning and afternoon teas and lunch, plus a drive around the Albury/Murray area is being negotiated. Many details, such as costs, are still under way.    If delegates do not have to return home on Saturday and would like to explore the area more fully and are interested in this tour and did not mention this on your registration form, please advise Denise on richardiiialbury2018’AT’gmail.com as soon as possible.

When confirmed the details will be sent to all interested delegates and the date by which the cost per person must be paid.

Travel: There is ample car parking at the hotel; the airport is within easy distance, as is the railway station. For information about train travel from Sydney, contact Kevin Herbert (for his details, please contact the Branch Secretary or Publications Manager).

 

Further queries can be addressed at richardiiialbury2018’AT’gmail.com

 

Helen, Denise and helpers Julia, Kevin and Mark

are looking forward to seeing you in Albury.

3
Jun

The Clock Is Ticking

   Posted by: Leslie McCawley

Our next meeting will take place at our regular venue, the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, on Saturday, 9 June 2018, at 2 pm.  This meeting will feature popular guest speaker Rob Shipton, an expert on the topic of antique clocks and the science of timekeeping throughout the ages. Rob is a retired lecturer in design at the University of Technology in Sydney.

Prague Astronomical Clock detail

We will also be discussing the details of the upcoming mini-conference being held in Albury in November that have been provided by organisers Helen and Denise. It is time to start making our plans!

Some Sydney-based members are planning to travel together by train timed to arrive for check-in at the Albury Manor Hotel on the afternoon of Thursday 8 November 2018. An evening activity has been planned for those arriving then. The full program starts the next day Friday 9 November 2018 and will include many interesting speakers, am & pm teas, and a banquet dinner (“costume optional”). More detailed information and registration materials can be found here.