Posts Tagged ‘NSW Branch’


Our Next Meeting – 8 August 2015

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

Our Next Meeting – Medieval plays of York

Next Meeting

On 8 August 2015, our guest speaker will be Associate Professor Margaret Rogerson, who is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney. She has written many academic papers and articles about early English drama, with particular focus on the York and Coventry plays. Her topic will be the Medieval plays of York.  Margaret is the editor of  The York Mystery Plays: Performance in the City.

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New Committee Officers Needed

   Posted by: Leslie McCawley    in Branch News, News

New Committee Officers Needed: Secretary, Treasurer, and Webmaster

New Committee Officers NeededOur Secretary Rachel, Treasurer Judy and Webmaster Dorothea have all advised us that they will not be standing for another term on the branch Executive Committee. At the next AGM coming up in October 2015, all of these roles will need to be filled by other members.

Each of these roles is necessary for the ongoing administration of our Branch, and we are asking for nominations to fill these roles. All officers need to attend meetings of the Executive Committee which are held every second month before the General Meetings. The Secretary and Treasurer need to be full Society members. If you can serve Richard III in one of these important roles, please contact Chairperson Judith.



Vale Johanna Mary Visser

   Posted by: Kevin Herbert    in Branch News, News

Johanna was a long-time member of the committee of the NSW Branch of the Richard III Society from the first day she joined in the mid-1990s. She and I connected straight away at that first meeting held at the Don Bank Museum, North Sydney. At this meeting Sue Habgood, who had moved to Coffs Harbour, gave notice that she could no longer continue in the role of editor of the Affinity newsletter, so we had find a replacement.

When no-one else stepped up, Johanna offered to “do the deed” as she put it, and indeed continued, as well as producing the first edition of our journal The Chronicles of the White Rose in 2007. Those who wrote articles for Affinity knew Johanna would carefully edit them using her skills and extensive research, resulting in some very professional final features. She used to say editing my copy was not easy as I tended to deliver a tome not only about a character but his or her family and friends that might cover two years’worth of Affinities. She said it was as well I didn’t decide to cover Noah and the Ark as I’d probably include the life stories of each animal on board as well as Noah and his family. The message got through and I learned not to go off in tangents.

One article I researched on the Percy family (the Earls and Dukes of Northumberland) held so much information that Johanna printed it in three consecutive issues even with her clever editing. Then to my dismay a book called The Kings of the North by Alan Rose was published covering all my work in detail. Johanna encouragingly said, “No harm done – you did it first and it didn’t take a book to cover it!”

Her people skills were many. When a former member, keeper of the archives, had to withdraw through illness and had kept all the articles in question, Johanna tactfully approached her, found a willing helper, and before long all the files were in great order – and stored in many containers in the garage of my home. Her positive can-do approach was encouraging. She had a strong sense of justice, could state her case clearly, but was able to concede opposing and superior points of views and agree to differ. But she was no doormat.

Our Branch had taken part in the annual Brit Fest held at Blacktown Showground, promoting the Society and its cause, provoking a lot of interest. Accepting the invitation for the second year Julia and Johanna galvanised us into a great production, with a roster for manning the stall. Carol, Christena, Elaine, Reg Herbert were among those handing out brochures, answering questions, giving children blue, white and murrey balloons inscribed with Richard’s motto. Screens provided Ricardian information and stalls held goodies provided by the needles and ovens of Johanna and Julia, and Tom and Julie Potts handed out small glasses of mead or malmsey that they had provided. Julia had found a large map of Medieval England, and visiting Poms were invited to place a flag with their name on it near the place from which they had come. The winner would go home with a beautiful basket of food and wine if their home was nearest the place we had deemed most relevant to our cause.

The success of the day was marred when both Johanna and Julia who had arrived at 7am to set up had soldiered on throughout the excessive heat in a huge and open venue unshaded by trees, collapsed from heat exhaustion. Organisers couldn’t help or find a St John’s Ambulance officer on duty but, thanks to Christena, they slowly revived, although it was a close thing and we decided not to repeat the experience until there was better support provided- and maybe a more suitable venue.

In 2005 it was our Branch’s turn to host the biennial Australasian Branches Ricardian convention. Unforeseen circumstances led to a small committee preparing the event – Nancy, Carol, Julia and myself, but Johanna played a great role in finding the venue at the Women’s College at Sydney University, a delightful nearby restaurant “The Peasant’s Feast” for an opening night dinner, and – thanks to her professional work in the tourism business – a reasonably priced motel nearby for overseas and interstate guests not staying at the university. And for those who stayed on after the conference she drew up a great list of things to do in Sydney.

Johanna finally reduced her contribution to the Branch when she moved to her dream home in Bowral, with its beautiful conservatory and gardens (worthy of many magazine pages) which of course she shared with her beloved dogs. Her wonderful dinner parties given in her various homes in Sydney continued there – I’ll never know how she and Julie organised a surprise 60th birthday party for me, but her magic must have done it.

Her talents were many and creative, especially the beautiful dolls she made and dressed so superbly. My plans to attend the Sydney convention banquet as Richard’s cousin Cardinal Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, meant my costume was in the hands of Julie and Johanna. However the best-laid plans … Julie fell ill, Johanna fell and broke her arm and could no longer attend the conference. But my cousin Kay, visiting from Tasmania, completed Johanna’s work. I appeared as the Archbishop – and what happened when after, the banquet, we made a visit to Star Casino is another story!

Her work away from Sydney, life in the Southern Highlands and, sadly, her later illness prevented her attendance at many of the Branch meetings and events. She visited our day-long conferences held in Bundanoon and Mittagong, and was a welcome delegate to the recent 2013 Ricardian Convention in Sydney. Julia recalls her joy in learning that she had won the raffle prize of the Looking for Richard mug from Leicester University. Her interest would never fade.

Vale Johanna. You will be sorely missed by those of us who were lucky enough to be blessed with your friendship, warmth and example.




Vale Johanna Visser

   Posted by: Judith Hughes    in Branch News, News

Members will be saddened to learn of Johanna’s death after a long illness. Our sincere sympathy goes to Johanna’s daughter, Abbie.

Johanna will best be remembered for her friendship and her enthusiastic organisational skills in various executive positions on the Richard III committee. Her love of research into the Medieval age enhanced her position as editor of “Affinity” over a number of years

The Society’s Australasian Conference at the Women’s College, Sydney University owed much of its success to Johanna’s overall planning and great attention to detail. Her creativity was appreciated by members especially in constructing period costumes and dainty artefacts.

Johanna’s funeral will take place on Tuesday 14th July 2015.



Review of the June 2015 Richard III Society Branch Meeting

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

Memories of Reinterment Week in Leicester

The June branch meeting of the NSW Richard III Society was held on Saturday, 13 June 2015, at the Sydney Mechanics’ Institute. Chair Judith welcomed all members and visitors; several new members were introduced. The meeting was cut short to make time for the presentations, but one important piece of business was a letter read aloud thanking the branch for our donation to the Leicester Cathedral Richard III fund. Read the rest of this entry »

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NSW Branch General Meeting on 13 June 2015

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

meetingThere has been a change in the scheduled speakers for the June General Meeting, with Chris Puplick now to be featured in October.

The speakers for June will be three of our branch members, Dorothea, Judy and David, who were fortunate enough to be able to attend the many ceremonies and commemorations in Leicester with the reinterment of Richard III in March this year. Each has a lot to share and will be able to show images and tell about their moving experiences.

It will be wonderful to hear their stories.

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NSW Branch General Meeting on 11 April 2015

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

meetingThe branch met on Saturday, 11 April 2015, at the Sydney Mechanics Institute on Pitt Street, with a very good turnout of regular members, new members, and several visitors.

Following some brief welcoming remarks from our Chairperson, our guest speaker, Maggie Patton, presented her fascinating illustrated program about ancient and medieval maps.

Following the presentation, Judith announced that our branch gave gifts of $100 to St James Anglican Church for their reinterment service in March, and £500 to the Leicester Cathedral towards the costs of the reinterment ceremonies. Announcements were made including the news that our branch will be in need of a new Treasurer to be responsible for branch finances when our long-serving Treasurer steps down in October; but that our Secretary will be staying for another year. The Executive Committee needs a variety of administrative assistance, and if you can offer some of your time and skills please contact the Chair to discuss availability.

The branch will soon be moving to electronic communications. This means that members will need to have an email address in order to receive renewal notices, newsletters, and other communications. One suggestion is for any member currently without email to arrange for a family member or friend to receive email on your behalf. Leslie has volunteered to help any branch member/friend to set up an email account and teach them how to use it, at the public library of their choice. Contact her if you wish to talk about it or have any questions. Moving to email will save the branch time, paper, postage and money, and will be in line with other membership organisations.

After the presentation, the raffle was drawn and we adjourned for a lovely afternoon tea once again provided by Joan, who is spoiling us with her homemade goodies. There was ample time for meeting the new members, catching up with those who had been away, and discussing the wonderful reinterment service and ceremonies that were broadcast from the UK in March. Now, at last, Richard III can rest in peace.

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NSW Branch support for Leicester Cathedral

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Branch News, News, Reinterment

NSW Branch support for Leicester Cathedral with a donation

At our February 2015 General Meeting, the NSW Branch decided to support Leicester Cathedral’s King Richard III Appeal with a donation of $1000.

So in the morning of 24 March, two of our branch members, Treasurer Judy and Webmaster Dorothea, who were in Leicester during  Reinterment Week, met the Revd Peter Hobson at Leicester Cathedral and handed our branch donation to him.  The Revd Peter Hobson thanked all members of the NSW Branch in the name of Leicester Cathedral.

NSW Branch support for Leicester Cathedral

Handing the donation from the NSW Branch to Revd. Peter Hobson

Judy and I were both, along with lots of other Ricardians from all over the world, very impressed with the thoughtfulness and respectfulness which had been shown to Richard by Leicester Cathedral and the City of Leicester. Judy and I had each attended a different service at the Cathedral and both had had been very moving.  I had attended the Memorial Service for members of the Richard III Society and cannot thank the cergy at Leicester Cathedral enough for giving us the opportunity to remember Richard III in such a heart warming ceremony.  I heard several people comment afterwards that this had been for them THE memorial for Richard III, a sentiment with which I agree wholeheartedly.

Thank you Leicester Cathedral for all that you have done!  Our donation might be small considering the costs of Richard’s reinterment, but expresses our support for what Leicester Cathedral has achieved.

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Next General Meeting on 11 April 2015

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

Next General Meeting on 11 April 2015

Don’t forget – the next General Meeting on 11 April 2015 (14h00)

Our guest speaker at the next General Meeting on 11 April 2015  will be Maggie Patton on “The known world in Richard’s time: maps and exploration in 15th Century”.

Maggie started her career at Sutherland Public Library in the early 1980s and moved to the State Library of New South Wales in 1990 as a reference librarian where she helped implement the online information service and in 2006 shifted from managing reference services to developing online exhibitions, public programs and digitisation projects. In 2009 she was appointed to Head of the Maps Section where she was able to combine her love of rare books with maps. She feels that both represent a slice of history, such as the political times, scientific era and social world in which they were created.

Maggie comments “An increasingly important but exciting challenge for map collections is the opportunity to promote and encourage use by the general public and researchers. In this area maps do have an advantage as they are both visual and historical. I have an unofficial criterion that all exhibitions developed at the State Library must include at least one map – if not an entire gallery! A surprising challenge for map collections is the general apprehension felt by clients, librarians and colleagues around finding and working with maps. Maps are just another form of information – nothing to be scared about!”

Come along and hear about maps from Richard’s day.

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Review of the February 2015 General Meeting

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

Review of the February 2015 General Meeting The first branch meeting of the New Year was held on Saturday, 14 February 2015, at the Sydney Mechanics Institute on Pitt Street, with a very good turnout of members and visitors.

Welcoming remarks were offered by our Chairperson, Judith, followed by very brief remarks from the Treasurer, Secretary, and Sales Officer each reporting that all was well in their particular area of responsibility.

The Treasurer was happy to announce our branch will be giving gifts of $100 to St James Anglican Church, and $1000 to the Leicester Cathedral Charitable Trust to assist with the costs of the refurbishment in preparation for Richard III’s reinterment at Leicester Cathedral.

Our guest speaker was Mr Almis Simans who spoke about Alfred Wainwright’s classic “Coast to Coast” walk with specific reference to the areas around York and northern England that would be of particular interest to Ricardians. His interesting talk included video footage and illustrations of the topographical features that Richard and his entourage would have had to traverse when travelling between particular places.

After the presentation, the raffle was drawn and we adjourned for afternoon tea. There was ample time for chatting, and catching up, and it was a good start to another exciting year for Ricardians.

Leslie and Doug McCawley

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