Australasian Convention 4 – 6 July 1997 in Canberra, ACT

   Posted by: Julia Redlich   in

This event proved to be a great success and we hope the foundation for future meetings of all Australian Branches.

We decided on Canberra as the site of the first conference since it is the Federal Capital.  Through family Kevin Herbert was put in contact with the Dominican College of John XXIII as a suitable venue.  A Canberra member, Edith Binkowski, became our on the spot liaison officer in the lead up to the Conference.  But then Branch Secretary Irene Peacock came on board and thankfully took over organising the agenda, meal times etc.   As always she did an excellent job.  Elaine Third ably handled the financial side of it all.


The Venue:  The Dominican College of John XXIII

Attending were Ann and David Chandler (staying with friends in Canberra) together with Beryl South, Elaine Third, Irene Peacock, Edith Binkowski, Mona Shaw, Ivy Stanmore , Eileen Larbalestier, Derek and Joyce Todd, Julia Redlich and Kevin Herbert from NSW.  Geoff and Mercia Chapman and Michael Iliffe from Victoria (three  fellow Victorians,  Hazel Hadju, Robin and Rod Pidcock, were lost in transit) were also full time attendees.  Isolde and John Martyn and Anne Phillips made the trip down on Saturday, and all attended the medieval banquet.

The Friday evening get-together was very relaxed and it was very pleasant to meet and talk to other Ricardians.  Some of us were given ‘hands on’ guidance on a PC (thoughtfully provided by a Melbourne member) so we could view that branch’s website.  After a few drinks, those who weren’t too tired, watched a video on Ian McKellern’s film of Richard III.

Saturday started off with some serious discussion of the website and among other things it was agreed to change its name from “The Melbourne Branch” to “The Australian Branches’ Website” provided the other three  Australian Branches agreed and were prepared to provide some of the articles.  The USA website is huge with most source documents on it, so we can no longer say it’s too hard to find such texts.


On the Saturday Geoff Chapman, Vice-Chairman of the Victorian Branch, gave a most informative talk on the effect which the Black Death had on medieval society.  He was followed by Anne Phillips, the Sydney Membership Secretary, who talked on the three Margarets (Anjou, Burgundy, Beaufort), while Michael Iliffe, the Melbourne Secretary, spoke on the Treaty of Picquigny. 

In the evening we had a splendid Banquet, many of those attending in just as splendid medieval garments.  The college chef “did us proud” in producing a fine medieval dinner and afterwards we were entertained by Isolde Martyn, Eileen Larbalestier and Julia Redlch with their skits and songs of medieval life, Ricardian personalities, some with a distinctly anti-Tudor bias, which ended with a rousing rendition of “Doing the Dickon Walk” complete with Oys! 

The night came to an end with the showing of that hilarious film The Tower of London with Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone.

After the Church Service on Sunday morning, a post mortem was held on the weekend, and it was agreed by all that such meetings become a regular event.  Therefore the next one will be hosted by Melbourne in July 1999.

Our thanks to all those who attended; to those who provided the entertainment and a special ‘Thank You’ goes to Edith Binkowski, our Canberra member, who willingly gave her time and help in overcoming some hiccoughs.

by Irene Peacock (former NSW member and Secretary) with additional material by Sue Habgood, and Kevin  Herbert (NSW)