Posts Tagged ‘Conventions’


Save the date!

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Conventions, News

Over the last weekend, 9 to 11 August 2019, an Australasian Convention took place in Melbourne, as it was hosted by the Victoria Branch of the Richard III Society.  It was a great and enjoyable event.   The Victoria Branch has done an excellent job in organising this for the benefit of all members of the branches of the Richard III Society in Australia and New Zealand.  A full review will follow in due course, so I won’t give away any spoilers.

In two years, the next Australasian Convention will take place in Adelaide over the Bosworth Weekend, 20 to 22 August 2021.  We are very grateful to the South Australia Branch, who will be hosting this important event, for taking on all the work this involves. It would be great if the NSW Branch could show its appreciation by attending in great numbers.  So put the date into your diaries already!  More details will be available at a later stage.

As two years is a long time, there is also the prospect of another one-day conference in Albury in November 2020.  Our experienced Albury Conference Team has agreed to consider organising another of these enjoyable conferences.  Thank you, Helen and Denise!

Don’t miss out on these exciting events.  It’s never too early to start planning.  Therefore –

Save the date!



February General Meeting

   Posted by: Leslie McCawley    in Meetings, News, NSW Branch News

Our first general meeting of the year will take place on Saturday, 9 February 2019, at 2 pm at our usual meeting rooms at the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts.

Our featured speaker will be our long-serving executive committee member and treasurer, Judy Howard.

February General Meeting

The Siege of Constantinople in 1453 (Wikimedia Commons)

In her talk, “The Byzantine Empire from the end of the Fourth Crusade to defeat by the Ottomans in 1453”, she will be exploring this fascinating Christian civilization, the end of which had many social and political reverberations throughout Europe and Britain.

Please also remember that the next biennial Australasian Convention of the Richard III Society will be held Friday, 9 August, through Sunday, 11 August 2019.  This year it will be hosted by the Victorian Branch and will take place in Melbourne.  For more information is available from our publications officer, Dorothea.

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Richard III Albury 2018 Conference

   Posted by: Julia Redlich    in Conventions, News, NSW Branch News

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?

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A Conference of Ricardians

   Posted by: Julia Redlich    in Conventions, News, NSW Branch News

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  Spaces may be available.

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A Look Back in Pleasure

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure to attend the Australasian Convention of the Richard III Society in Perth, WA.  I think I can speak for all who attended when I say that we had a great time.  Our thanks go to the WA Branch for hosting this convention.  I am sure we will be able to post a more detailed review of this wonderful weekend here shortly.

A Look Back in Pleasure

Richard III’s banner was flying at the Convention

For me personally, the highlight was Mark Porter’s talk about making the video “Searching for Richard III – One Man’s Journey”.  He gave us the tantalising hint that we would have to watch the video to find out why he thinks that Richard III was innocent of being involved in the death of his nephews, the two sons of Edward IV.  However, there is much more to the video.  For those of us, who have been to the places shown, seeing the sights and events of Ricardian significance will bring back many happy memories.  And for those who haven’t visited them (yet), they give a much better understanding than any book can.

You can watch the video in four parts on YouTube:

Episode 1:  “Bosworth” –

Episode 2:  “Leicester” –

Episode 3:  “York” –

Episode 4:  “The Man” –

At the convention, Mark also talked in quite a bit of detail about the significance of Richard owning a Wycliffe Bible, which I found especially interesting.  I would have liked to find out more about this topic, but I suppose it is something which can be looked at more extensively in future.

Watching the video was definitely a pleasure, a pleasure of remembering good times.

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Reminder about the 2015 Australasian Convention

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News, NSW Branch News

A reminder about the 2015 Australasian Convention in New Zealand.

Kiwi (D Preis)Remember the conventions are for all of us, whether you are a member or a friend.

There will be a wide variety of fascinating talks. Conventions are always a wonderful opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new friends, and above all to talk about the interest all of us have in common: Richard III.

Remember, to avoid prohibitive bank charges you may wish to credit the $50 deposit or full fee to a nominated Australian bank account.

For those attending the Convention the Angus Inn has agreed to a special discount rate. When booking accommodation at the Angus Inn please do so by email not using the booking agent.

Bank account details and registration forms can be requested from the NSW Branch Secretary Rachel.

Please consider carefully whether you are really prepared to miss out on this great event!

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The August NSW Branch Meeting

   Posted by: Leslie McCawley    in Meetings, News, NSW Branch News

David MeeThe August meeting of the NSW Branch of the Richard III Society was held on Saturday, 9 August 2014, at the Sydney Mechanics’ Institute. Chair Judith welcomed all members and guests. Leslie introduced the guest speaker, David Mee, who presented a fascinating look at the years between 1485 and 1520 in order to put into cultural and historical context the development of the coinage of the day. David has been a serious coin collector for over 20 years, and has European coins from Ireland to the Latin East, as he called it, defined as ‘wherever the crusaders went’. His many slides showed the artistry of the coin makers, and reflected the changing styles over the decades from frontal images of the symbolic head of the monarch, to the classic profile first used by Henry VII and soon copied by other rulers, as well. The coins minted during the reign of Richard III had a mintmark of a boar, the Duke of Gloucester’s symbol. There was a lively question and answer following the talk, as David was able to shed light on the more arcane aspects of the topic.

There were no committee reports presented but one important item of business was the announcement that the membership fees would not be increased for the coming year, and that all renewals are due before the next meeting in October. Renewal forms will be posted soon and all cheques are to be sent to the Secretary. Please note that even if you are not renewing your membership it is requested that you inform the Secretary in writing as a courtesy, if possible.

Business also included the discussion of the re-interment of Richard at Leicester Cathedral in March 2015. The events will be spread over a week, 22 to 28 March. After three days of lying in state for the public to pay their respects, Richard will be reburied with a formal Church of England service on 26 March. A special service for Society members will be held at the Cathedral on Monday, 23 March (more information can be found on the website of the Richard III Society). It is expected that several of our members will attend the ceremonies.

The New Zealand Richard III Society will be holding the biennial Australasian Convention over their long weekend of 23 -25 October 2015, and organisers were hoping to get an idea of how many members and friends might be making the journey to join them from Australia but it was too soon to tell.

Our member Isolde Martyn is having a book launch of her latest production, The Golden Widows, about Elizabeth Woodville and Katherine Hastings, on 21 August at Abbeys Bookstore on York Street, Sydney, 6pm for 6:30pm speeches and formal program. All members are invited.

The not-to-be-missed St Ives Medieval Fair will be held over the weekend of 20 and 21 September 2014, with a great line-up of family-friendly activities and attractions, including world-class jousters from Europe competing against the Australian contenders.

The Bosworth Service scheduled for the 24 August 2014 will be held at St Mary’s Anglican Church on Birrell Street in Waverley at 10am, with lunch at Arthur’s Pizza in Bondi Junction for interested members and friends afterwards. St Mary’s is a fine old sandstone church with lovely stained glass windows and gardens, and the Minister Rev Peter Clark and his congregation have always been very welcoming.

The Bring and Buy Table was a success, with many interesting items contributed to the branch for fundraising, and many pleased buyers, as well. The raffle was also drawn, then all broke for afternoon tea. The NSW Branch Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday, 11 October 2014, featuring this year’s ‘Scrabble Speakers’, members Dorothea, Maggie, and Rachel speaking on various gripping Ricardian topics

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Richard III by David Baldwin

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Bookworm

Book Review:  RRichard III by David Baldwinichard III by David Baldwin

David Baldwin, Richard III.  Amberley Publishing, 2012.  ISBN 9781445601823

This review was presented at NSW Convention in Mittagong in May 2012.  We apologise for the delay in posting it.

Richard III by David Baldwin was published on 28 February 2012, so well before the remains of Richard III were found where they had been buried in the church of the Leicester Greyfriars.  However, it should not be forgotten that Baldwin had as early as 1986 published the hypothesis that his remains were still where they had originally been buried, [1] I had ordered the book as soon as it came out, expecting some new insights. Once I had received it and saw the endorsement by Philippa Gregory on the back, I started wondering though, whether I had not made a huge mistake.

The subtitle is “Ruthless hunchback or paragon of virtue, the true story of the last Plantagenet king”, which does reflect what Baldwin sets out to do.  As he explains in his Introduction “It seems improbable that any human being could be as evil – or alternatively as misunderstood – as Richard, and … somewhere behind all the conflicting argument stands a real man who had both qualities and failings.  Neither black or white, but – like all of us – somewhere in between”. [pp.10-11]  An admirable aim, but we’ll have to see whether he can achieve it.

Baldwin follows a chronological approach.  Starting with Richard’s birth and finishing after Bosworth with a chapter on “Legacy & Legend”.  On the whole he is reasonably fair, the chapter on Richard as Warwick’s heir in the North is a case in point.  Richard has often been blamed for being excessively aggressive in extending his interests during this period, but Baldwin puts this into its historical context and shows that Richard’s behaviour was just normal.  He was no worse than others, but as the king’s brother he had obviously more scope for extending his interests, though they were not necessarily to the detriment of others.  Baldwin also stresses that this was not only the normal behaviour for a medieval nobleman, but would also have been expected of him.

While I have some reservations about Baldwin’s analysis of how Richard III came to the throne, it has to be said that this is unquestionably a period on which views are at their most partisan.  I found his heavy reliance on Thomas More – strawberries and all – and Mancini somewhat limiting, especially – as we shall see later – considering Balwin’s view on the legends surrounding Richard.  He does, however, reject the notion that the crown was what Richard had always wanted, but rather that “he was seizing an opportunity rather than fulfilling an expectation”. [p.104]

On the question of the fate of the princes, Baldwin thinks that the elder, Edward, died of natural causes, while the younger, Richard, survived.  This comes as no surprise, considering that he wrote The Lost Prince five years previously, where he set out to show that the mysterious Richard of Eastwell was in reality the younger son of Edward IV.

Baldwin shows that Richard’s reign was always rather insecure, which was why a nobody like Henry Tudor could actually manage to overthrow him and stay in power.  He explains that Richard’s legacy are the progressive laws of his only parliament, which “affected the lives of Englishmen far into the future”. [p.216]  He concludes that “Richard’s achievements are arguably greater than those of some kings who reigned for longer, and there are indications that they would have been greater still if he had been allowed more time” [p.219]

As for the legends surrounding Richard I agree when he says that “It was perhaps inevitable that a king who both gained and lost his throne in such dramatic circumstances would be become the stuff of legend” [p.228], but that these do not tell us anything about him personally.

On the whole I think Baldwin does quite a good job at showing Richard as a “man who is … both principled and unprincipled, a flawed diamond” [p.228]  I don’t think that he offers much new for someone who knows the period reasonably well, but would be a good introduction.

It is a pity, however, that Baldwin occasionally adopts a fictional approach.  This begins in Richard’s childhood when we meet a boy at Fastolf Place, who “eagerly anticipated trips into the bustling city [ie. London] beyond the wall”.  [p.17]  Later, during the dramatic events of May/June 1483, we learn that “Richard … worried constantly about the future, searched his conscience many times over”. [p.99].  Obviously we have no idea how Richard felt and assumptions like these, which do nothing to explain the events, have no place in a work of non-fiction.

With some reservations I can recommend this new book on Richard, though I would not class it as “must read”.

[1] David Baldwin, ‘King Richard’s Grave in Leicester‘, Transactions of Leicester Archaeological and Historical Society, Vol. 60 (1986), pp.21-24

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On Saturday 12 May 2012 the Richard III Society NSW Branch held their eagerly anticipated biannual mini-conference in the Southern Highlands, at the Mittagong RSL.

A few of us, who had travelled to Mittagong the day before, met up for an informal dinner in the club’s bistro, being happy meeting old friends and making new ones.

The event was attended by both Sydney-based regulars (some of whom braved the long journey on buses replacing the usual trains) and other members, some coming from as far away as the ACT and Victoria.  We were especially pleased to welcome Michael, the chairman of the Victoria branch, and his wife Yvonne, as well as Gillian and Bruce from the South Australian branch.

The presentations were very diverse, with competent speakers from a wide range of backgrounds. David Mee spoke on ‘Medieval Coins’ and brought examples of types of coinage from across the centuries, including one from the era of Richard III.

Judith Hughes spoke on ‘Eleanor Talbot, the Spurned Queen’, being the hapless lady the self-serving young Edward IV secretly wed then ignored for the rest of her life, whilst making a public life with Elizabeth Woodville, with whom he had his large brood.

Karen Clark spoke on ‘John Nevill’s Feud and the Destruction of a Family’, an area of particular expertise and one on which she is writing a book. Her detailed grasp of the generations of family members and their competition was impressive. The Percy family still survives, although the Nevilles are long gone, she mentioned in conclusion.

Kevin Herbert spoke on the ‘Royal Relicts’ – the widows of the kings. His handout was chockfull of details worth knowing, and his presentation a highlight of the day.

Lynne Foley and Dorothea Preis critiqued Ricardian books they had recently read.  Lynne favourably reviewed Margaret of York: The Diabolical Duchess by Christine Weightman. Dorothea told us about the recently published Richard III by David Baldwin, which has its good points, but does not offer much new for someone well versed in the period. Her wise counsel saved us all some cash and precious time by knowing which books we could safely skip.

Doug and Leslie McCawley spoke about their favourite Ricardian books, having been invited on short notice to replace a speaker who had to cancel. They chose the ever-popular Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman, and Some Touch of Pity by Rhoda Edwards.

Julia Redlich spoke about how Richard III has been presented on stage across time.

Helen Portus and Denise Rawling spoke on ‘Richard III the Posthumous Hunchback’, getting audience members to question what we accept on face value in the media, and encouraging us to be discerning consumers of received opinions and so-called histories.

Ann Chandler gave us a comprehensive (and tricky) 4-page quiz to complete during the day, then graded the results and announced the winners. The more cowed amongst us did not hand our quizzes in, admitting defeat early on!  Our congratulations went to Karen for winning by achieving 47 out of 50 possible points.

In addition to the speakers, other attractions included a Bring and Buy table, the sale of the books from the lamented dissolution of the once fine branch library, Ricardian pens, bags and brooches for sale, and best of all the opportunity to catch up with friends in a leisurely manner.

At the conclusion of the day, the representatives of the Victoria branch surprised us by presenting the NSW branch with a beautiful table runner in Yorkist murrey adorned with white roses.  We were delighted and would like to give a big ‘thank you’ to our friends from Victoria!

A number of attendees chose to stay for the weekend so the festivities continued after the conference proper with dinner out and a day to explore the attractions of the area. The weather was sparklingly clear and cool, and the venue well chosen. Thanks to the organisers for another successful and pleasurable branch event.

Leslie McCawley

Members, who decided to stay on at Mittagong, as well as several partners met up on Saturday evening for dinner with lots of interesting talk and laughter on a wide variety of topics.  We discovered that most of us were addicted to Phryne Fisher on Fridays and Miss Marple on Tuesdays – how we loved the fact that Mrs Lancaster was the baddie in a recent episode!  Other topics were the Richard III of Horrible Histories, medieval and more modern jewellery.  We wondered why so often in information for the general public there seems to be nothing of historical interest before the Tudors came along – quite contrary to what actually happened.

We all enjoyed the food and, when consulting with the delightful waitstaff, we learned that the chef was new. Yvonne from the Victoria branch immediately told them that they were never to let him go! Although it wasn’t a formal Ricardian banquet, the Man Himself was not forgotten in a loyal toast – and the three fingered salute from Horrible Histories.

Dorothea Preis and Julia Redlich

Sunday morning saw us enjoying a long leisurely breakfast. Some farewells were said to those who had to return home, then the rest of us prepared for our excursion to the small Southern Highlands town of Robertson.
One group opted for the swiftest way thanks to SatNav; the other decided on the Scenic Route – and what a reward that was: sunshine, blue skies, green fields, magnificent mansions and extensive gardens behind imposing gates – and the trees wearing their most wonderful autumn colours of red and gold.

Colour was also important in discovering the others at our destination, something made simple by spotting Kevin wearing the super-long scarf in Ricardian colours that Alex had made for our sales table!

It was the monthly market day, so wandering around the stalls was a must. Chilly winters mean the locals are knitters beyond compare! The quality of the huge choice of items from sweaters to babywear and beanies was wonderfully enticing, as were the book selections – and as for the vegetable displays …

The obvious choice for lunch was the Fantastic Robertson Pie Shop, where justice was done to piping hot pastries with a mind-boggling range of fillings. One group then went on an antiques exploration, the other chose to return to Mittagong, put their feet up with the Sunday papers and gather strength for return to the everyday life after yet another rewarding Ricardian weekend.

Julia Redlich

The two photographs from the conference © Bruce Laughton; the photograph of the table runner © Julia Redlich.

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Don’t miss Mittagong!

   Posted by: Julia Redlich    in News, NSW Branch News

Thank you to everyone who sent in their registration forms for our day-long conference at Mittagong RSL on Saturday, 12 May. We look forward to seeing you.

If you have suddenly realised that there is a huge blank in your diary that weekend, we don’t have to give the numbers to the RSL until 18 April, so you can let Julia know if you can come by 17 April.

To whet everyone’s appetite: presentations include talks on Eleanor Talbot/Butler, medieval coins, the Neville/Percy feud, Royal Relics – and the previously lauded “Richard III – the Posthumous Hunchback”. A description of Jousting in the time of Richard III will be given by a new member Andrew, who has found time to join us before he heads off to Europe for some serious jousting there.

Of course there will be all the usuals:  a Plantagenet quiz, a raffle with great rewards to win; a book sale; and bring and buy stall. If you are Bringing please make sure you donations are good to look at and not too difficult for Buyers to take home.  That old bar fridge you’re ditching to beat high electricity prices would not be a good idea!

For your $35 you also get morning and afternoon tea and lunch – and the pleasure of Ricardian company.

If you are staying overnight on Saturday please let Julia know if you will be joining those dining at a local Mittagong restaurant, also if you will be part of the expedition to Robertson on Sunday morning. It will be Sunday Markets  in the town that day, plus the galleries and shops to browse through, as well as places for us to enjoy lunch before returning to Mittagong to make our way to our various homes.

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