NCWQ Arts and Letters Report, April 2020

By Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

It was in the midst of “Mrs Wiggins Wartymelons” and the pandemic…

…just as Ralphie the adopted goat was pruning the rose bushes,

the whisper first announced itself…. gently…………..

“The DARKNESS never lasts…”

Thusly, we square our shoulders, compose ourselves, hold our heads high – and proceed. ‘Mrs Wiggins’ is set in Korweinguboora.  It is a REAL place! Australia’s Glenda MILLARD and Stephen AXELSEN produced a wonderful kids’ storybook of Change! Endearing and whimsical; often read and loved, though this story is – one cannot explain the whisper – heard again – and again….”The Darkness never lasts”…

As many will be hunkered down and in varied degrees of isolation, I will happily produce much for you to read in this month’s report. Repeatedly, not just like the whisper whilst reading “Mrs Wiggins”, but in the world, all around us, ‘HEARING OUR VOICES’ not only whispers, but calls, sings, chants, shouts, repeats itself, and becomes a magnificent chorus in which there is no dissonance….

CASSANDRA is usually seen as tragic and quite mad! German author, the late Christa WOLF stretched physic limbs to explore changed relationships and retained taboos in her text “Cassandra”. (Virago Modern Classic Number 315 London: reprinted 1985, 1989, 1991). With changed internal and external relationships, gnaws the question of the degree of responsibility inherent in full consciousness. Today, I believe, like Wolf, that Cassandra lives on because the conflict between full awareness and woman’s aesthetic and socio-political impotence, still exists, as does her eternal plea for peace! SDGs 4/5/10/11

Strong, pained, whole, individuated/ I have felt her inside me – many times/Crouched. Previewing mangled, bloody/ piles of lifeless flesh. Death, city Troy Anaemic! Cassandra – fully alive…

Standing. Autonomous. Paradox of Life/pregnant now with the Knowing/that whispers and sings and shouts/and sometimes panics Itself into/Lunacy’s refuge. Dichotomous, Cassandra…

Watching the Sea swallow the Sun/ near the Scean Gate – with Myrine and I/ raising our voices with women – different/laughing, singing, crying, berating/yet no chromatic divergence, Cassandra…

Distorts, deflects or dissipates language/or our Pens, for they are One – and/powerful still, despite aged Shadows/Clytemnestra, Hecuba, Apollo, Priam/mildewy blinds in the contemporary/ and Collective Unconscious. Cassandra…

Boadicea we are not. Daughters of Iceni/Troy, Noonuccal and Etna, we drink no poison/ for our chalice is crafted, finely, of the Gold/and Silver that celebrates Life!…Neither/ full nor empty – the cup contains all Things.

Deep, the draught of Consciousness -/ Inherently potent with the Pain and Elixir/ of Knowing; of Being – every Other and Self. / Shouting and whispering to the Sleeping Ones/the Bound, the Egoic, the Heroes, the Destroyers

Who nevertheless shape Society and State. /Implicit, then, in the stance of Knowing/ is Woman’s still-born cry – still tearing/ impotent…for she is not shape-maker of/ Nations. Only of Self, Prophecy and Pen.

Regardless the dimension of her Perception/ Potent, then, her Pain. Present. Paradox. /Fully Conscious Cassandra, Woman, Mother/Knower, Lover, Political Literate, Priestess/No longer crouched – all seeing forever…./ We stand within each – gestate each other – Separate! Unify! Book Five Always Becoming…Jennifer Ann Davies 2010

WOMEN – The National Geographic Image Collection reflects women’s lives and is available at: GOLDBERG wrote HEARING OUR VOICES in a special edition of National Geographic, in November 2019. Her introduction? “THE FIRST SCENE in the history of National Geographic doesn’t have a single woman in it…” Reference is to January 13, 1888, when 33 men of science and letters….voted the National Geographic Society into existence. “Over time, as the Image Collection grew – to more than 64 physical and digital assets today – another record unwittingly was formed: a global chronicle of the lives of women, up to the present day. These pictures, taken largely over the past century, are snapshots of their times, showing how women were perceived, how they were treated, how much power they had – or didn’t have. The images illustrate what used to be called, quaintly, “a woman’s place” – a concept that’s changing before our eyes.” Susan Goldberg National Geographic Nov 2019 SDGs 5/10/11

This was the first ever issue with all female contributing writers, artists and photographers. The question asked of each was: “What is your greatest strength?” Writer, Michele Norris responds that hers is “…my ability to recognise blind spots, see and hear things that most ignore, and spot pathways between well-worn trails.” p.10 Erika Larsen, photographer: “My belief in what I cannot see or hear but in what I feel.” Lyn Johnson, photographer: “I listen.” p.50 Writer, Nilanjana Bhowmick smiles: “I can delve beyond the obvious and apparent, and transform experiences into stories that matter.” p.98 and Saumya Khandelwal’s photography on page 98 supports her response that “Everything that’s in me by virtue of being a woman, I feel closely, live intuitively and steal moments of silence from what I see.” 

The myriad responses to the question of one’s greatest strength are worth reading! This publication is a grand read for every Woman; embracing the truths and possibilities of rejecting inferior status, demanding equality and unapologetically revelling in our ambition and success. Michele Norris p.10. Amid a stunning volume of immensely interesting articles, both here are important to our operations and goals.

Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports efforts to reduce inequality, poverty and other global ills: There isn’t a country on Earth where women have achieved true equality, and the barriers they face look different in different places. (However), no matter where you are in the world, understanding these barriers is the first step to dismantling them – and that requires making a concerted effort to gather better data about women and their lives. We don’t have reliable information about how many girls are going to school, how many women have the chance to earn an income, what their health and safety looks like and whether they’re dying preventable deaths. Without the data, we can’t design effective policies or interventions to meet women’s needs. Data is power. p.32 SDGs 4/5/10/17

Christiane Amanpour is chief international correspondent for CNN. A veteran war reporter, she has covered conflicts from Bosnia and Rwanda to Iraq and Afghanistan. Her message is important: “The most important challenge is still being considered second-class citizens, and the most important thing for us is to get men on our side, period. This has to be something that men help us with. It’s not a question of just swapping who’s dominant. We’re not looking for female dominance; we’re looking for equality and to level the playing field – and we can’t do that without men’s buy-in as well.” p.33 National Geographic: WOMEN: A Century of Change 

Overview of Non-Fiction Australian publications: A Dog Called Harry – Jill Baker. My Lucky Stroke – Sarah Brooker. Truganini – Cassandra Pybus.  Missing William Tyrrell – Caroline Overington.

The School of Restoration – Alice Achan & Phillippa Tyndale: Alice was just 13 when the Lord’s Resistance Army first terrorised her village in 1987. She took in a pregnant teenage girl, kidnapped and assaulted by the LRA and began to house survivors of the sexual violence that was a trademark of the LRA’s 20 year campaign. Out of this rose the Pader Girls’ Academy, which Alice saw as a ‘School of Restoration’. It has helped hundreds of girls left with babies and HIV as a result of their enslavement. SDGs 4/5/8/10/16

Overview of Fiction Australian publications – Where the Truth Lies.  Karina Kilmore. Who is more dangerous – a ruthless enemy or a woman pushed to the edge? The River Home Hannah Richell. Change, sorrow, healing…only if the Truth is told. Melting Moments – Anna Goldsworthy. …doing her duty as a woman, occasionally wondering, is this all there is? 

Desire Lines – Felicity Volk: Arctic Circle, 2012. Landscape architect Evie finds herself exhuming the past as she buries Australian seeds in a frozen vault. Molong, 1953. Catastrophe had befallen 7 year old Paddy – shipped from care in London to an Australian farm school, his world was a shadowy place….a compulsive, unconventional love grows, spans decades and takes the main characters in unexpected directions.

Well informed, prolific writer, Jennifer A. Nielsen, brings us the stories and voices of the lesser known heroines and heroes of the ghettos and death camps during the atrocities of World War 11. “Resistance” blends subjects skilfully: Jewish girls – Poland – The history of underground movements and occupation and the startling Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. 

The blend displays a bravery one hopes the world has not lost! Included in the extensive research is material from the archives of Yad Vashem. (German, Polish & Yiddish words are italicized on first appearance in the text.)

“To those who resisted, in every way they resisted, this book is for you.”

For the young Jewish couriers, I hold you in the highest respect.

“Defence in the ghetto has become a fact. Armed Jewish resistance and revenge are actually happening. I have witnessed the glorious and heroic combat of the Jewish fighters…”excerpt from the last letter of Mordecai Anielewicz, April 23, 1943.

An afterword furnishes brief yet solid facts about resistance in Krakow and Warsaw; of ghettos and extermination camps: Bedzin, Bialystok, Treblinka, Sobibor and Auschwitz. An urgent history! Jennifer collects old books, loves good theatre and thinks that a quiet afternoon in the mountains makes for a nearly perfect moment. She lives with her husband, three children and a perpetually muddy dog! Scholastic Press, N Y, 2018. SDGs 4/16

Kind messages, that pass from land to land

Kind letters that betray the hearts deep history

In which we feel the pressure of a hand

One touch of fire and all the rest is mystery. Henry Wordsworth Longfellow.

KIND MESSAGES have indeed passed from land to land during this unprecedented global crisis! Kind messages come to us from our Elisabeth in Melbourne, hunkered down with her trusty sewing machine and engaged in reviving her delicious veggie garden, as well as continuing reporting for all of us in Australia and our international colleagues, all over the world. President of the ICW-CIF, Dr Jungsook also sends her best and is hopeful that the postponed mid-term conference may be held in Avignon at the end of September 2020. 

Communication continues via our networks – and more kind messages have been received from Annamaria in Italy – Annamaria has been in lockdown for much longer than we have here in Australia – thankfully able to speak with family members but NO CONTACT has been the law in Northern Italy for some time. Mazel in Israel has informed us of the continuing hard work being carried out there with the heightening of tensions and fear as the Virus advances and swallows up lives; of the additional, heart-breaking work of helping those who are experiencing heightened cases of domestic violence and of those who are fearful of HOW they will put food on the table!  Hedva in Israel continues to send beautiful emails of the work and worries of the women in her surrounds; these are kind and wonderfully received, as are those from Eleanore in Austria. A magickal Grande Dame of Music, our international colleague will now be seeking other ways to soothe the soul and maintain hope; without silencing the song and sounds altogether! Leonie, our international co-ordinator for Communications, retains a positivity and humour that keeps people buoyant, as does Noela, our Queensland Angel; eternally contactable, helpful, wise and endlessly extending that beautiful ‘pressure of a hand’!! Salut! to All and Many Thanks! Grazie! Danke! Merci! Detecte! Gamsahabnida!

As Helen Keller once said: “I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”

Groups of musicians and artists are presenting their ‘gigs’ online – and on Facebook live – the singers and musicians say that this is not as easy as it may look, but some, like Australia’s BLONDE group, have presented their gig at the venue in which it would have taken place pre-Corona virus. The Absence of an audience is eerie, although the presence and vivacity of the performers lightens the darkness.

Other music lovers have sought YouTube presentations, such as that of Ed Sheeran – Perfect Symphony with the famed Andre BOCELLI. Another of great beauty is Andrea and Matteo Bocelli – Radio 2 Piano Room. More news of how the Arts/Music/Drama/Film industries will survive will be advised as such comes to hand.

SBS WORLD MOVIES is currently showing a Queensland film, set in Toowoomba. ‘DON’T TELL’ is moving, challenging, true and a grand tribute to the film-makers, director, script-writer, actors and actresses and to the sheer bravery of the young woman, who forged the way for Landmark Legislation for the future. “Once in a while, a movie qualified as art, because it was about Truth. Art was art only if it honoured enduring truths….” Dean Koontz

The people of Cairns were lucky enough to enjoy the Exhibition Opening Event of SIDNEY NOLAN’S NED KELLY SERIES on Friday 6 March, at the Cairns Art Gallery. This is a National Gallery of Australia exhibition, on tour for the first time in fifteen years. The Ned Kelly series of paintings is widely regarded as a masterpiece of 20th century Australian art. 

The iconic Ned Kelly series demonstrates Nolan’s extraordinary ability as an artist and a storyteller who could weave history with myths and legends to create an evocative and compelling series of works that celebrate an anti-hero and infamous outlaw. 

Dr Deborah HART, Head of Australian Art and Senior Curator of Australian Painting and Sculpture, National Gallery of Australia presented a lively and well-informed talk about the series and the ways in which the paintings are hung – for this is not necessarily in the sequence in which the works were painted. Dr Hart also pointed out the interesting symbology in the works and added some history, stating that Nolan’s grandfather was indeed one of the policemen who has chased Ned Kelly! The works themselves are fascinating, and just as the series did in the Irish Art Gallery in Dublin, it is clear that Nolan opens questions to which he does not actually offer answers! 

This is a delightful exhibition and it is a great shame that the public will not be able to view the series because of our current crisis. If it is to remain in North Queensland longer, I will advise.  Numbers of Queensland Art Galleries kindly informed us of their closures. Many thanks to all of you from the National Council of Women Queensland.

Another grand exhibition one hopes may be extended, is John MAWURNDJUL’s I AM THE OLD AND THE NEW. “Mankerrnge la mankare.” The old ways of doing things have changed into the new ways. The new generation does things differently. But me, I have two ways. I am the old and the new. John Mawurndjul: organised and toured by Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

As galleries, theatres and myriad venues have been forced to shut to protect Life, we return to the World of Letters – our world of Literature and what people here are reading. Some of these books reveal secrets, some hide more. Some lie and some reveal Truth. Some lighten and brighten, some challenge. All are interesting…and where I bring you the dense and the dark – remember The Darkness never lasts. Perhaps sometimes without it we are not able to see the LIGHT! 

Fiona Erskine – “She blows things up to keep people safe”! The Chemical Detective: Dr Jaq Silver, skier, scientist, international jet-setter, explosives expert, stumbles across a problem in Slovenia. Her evidence disappears. Racing between the snowy slopes of Slovenia and the ghostly ruins of Chernobyl, ‘The Chemical Detective’ is an electrifying read!  Point Blank Oneworld Publications, London, 2019. 

Erskine is a professional engineer based in Teesside, ‘though she travels frequently to Brazil, Russia, India and China. As a female engineer, she is often the lone representative of her gender in board meetings, cargo ships, night-time factories and off-shore oil rigs. Her writing offers a fascinating insight into this traditionally male world.

“Jaq thought that there must be a way.

Surely there was a way.

There was no breeze in the tunnel, no natural light, the whoosh and rattle of forced ventilation had long ceased. Within minutes the stuffy underground warren smelt of decay.

And death.

The lights went off.” SDGs 4/5/10/11

Sweeping across the world…Dean Koontz – The Night Window reflects a different world…. “The art of Francis Bacon reflects his view of human society as chaotic, confirms his belief in the need to impose order by brute power and extreme violence.” p.14 Harper Collins 2019

“Creating a neural (brain) lace is the thing that really matters for humanity to achieve symbiosis with machines.” Elon Musk

“Ultimately they were going to inject her with the neural lace that would web her brain and enslave her…” p.20

“He told stories of courage and fortitude; stories of ordinary people who refused to be crushed by the system or dictated to by self-appointed elites.” p.117

“It’s a goblin night: eerie green snowflakes, the falling of flakes like luminous citrine scales shed by some gathering of dragons in the sky.” p.122  SDGs 4/11/16     Read while we are all being Brave!

A 2010 novel by Harlan Coben ‘PLAY DEAD’ keeps you in suspense until the final page. Set in Palm Cove, the Pacific International Hotel and business houses just near the Marlin Jetty, this is a great thriller “…full of twists and turns, which explores the fierceness of paternal love…” Evening Standard

Extraordinary author, holder of the 2011 Medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts & Letters; famed forensic consultant and founding member of the U.S. National Forensic Academy, PATRICIA CORNWELL penned and publishes “Port Mortuary” also in 2010. Sphere. An imprint of Little Brown Book Group, London.   This is a startling, ‘though not an ‘easy’ read. Cornwell compiled an unusual “Note to My Readers’ revealing the chilling reality of places, organisations, weaponry and technology in today’s world.

“The great Renaissance genius, Leonardo da Vinci, believed that art is science and science is art, and the solutions to all problems can be found in nature if one is meticulous and observant; if one faithfully seeks truth.” p.46

“A substantial percentage of research grants go to Cambridge area labs – Harvard M I T…war has become our national industry, like automotives, steel and the railroads once were…robots like MORT could be utilized in theatre to recover casualties so troops didn’t risk their lives for a fallen comrade”. This got tabled because using robots for such a purpose ‘supposes’ they can decide a fallen soldier, a human being, is fatally injured or dead! p.76

“I don’t agree with the belief that technology can save us. Certainly, it isn’t making us more civilised, and I actually think the opposite is true.” Pp179-180

“This is what we’re up against, Kay,” Briggs says, “Our brave new world, what I call neuroterrosism, what the Pentagon calls ‘the big fear’. Make us crazy and you win. Make us crazy enough and we’ll kill ourselves, saving the bad guys the trouble. In Afghanistan, give our troops opium, give them benzodiazepines, give them hallucinogenics, something to take the edge off their boredom – and then see what happens….”p430 SDGs 3/4/11/16

A read like no other!  Primum non nocere….First – do no harm.

Lightening up a little in this epic report – An Aussie Author to remember! Liane MORIARTY



Lies      Pan Macmillan Aust 2015

Liane Moriarty produces novels that are miracles of structure as well as human insight. Sydney Morning Herald

Piriwee Public School is like a zillion others. Mothers frantic, bullying, secrets – new young women, one single, with a son – another married another mother’s ex-husband – fuses herself with Yoga, herbal tea (vegan of course) and chakras…

The author fuses friendship, fuss, fears, fallacies and fun with marvellous humour and incisive insights, treating the reader, as well as her characters, with extraordinary tenderness.

“No-one marries funny and poignant quite like Lianne. She is the mistress of the razor-sharp observation…my favourite so far.” Kate Morton

“…little children have to be handled like explosive devices!” p191

WARNING: This novel may also have to be handled like an explosive device! Moriarty is a fantastically nimble writer. “Lashings of dark humour and ultimately drama.”Saturday Age.   SDGs 3/4/10/16

“Magical and healing. 

Lovely.” The Times

“A glorious poem of a novel – a story to read slowly and to marvel at the beauty of it.” Rosamund Lupton.  

“Poetic and deeply moving…a lavish and clever read which will stand the test of time.” Herald.



This author writes with an excellence in her sweeping prose and beautiful interconnection with the natural and the unseen worlds. She magically weaves this sheer beauty throughout the entire novel, with her unwavering theme of love in all its forms. It is utterly beautiful and wonderfully readable, with the richest prose that ebbs and flows.

This is a story about Marvellous Ways, an eighty-nine year old Woman who sits by a creek in Cornwell, waiting for a last adventure. It’s also about Francis Drake, a young soldier who washes up there, reeling from the war and broken-hearted. It’s about the magic in everyday life and the lure of the sea, the healing powers of storytelling and sloe gin, and how we carry on when grief comes snapping at our heels.

This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read and Thank You to Nile and Sheila or I may have missed it!!! You were telling me a story and the story’s not finished. You can’t leave a story in the middle.

How do you know it was the middle?

Because it wasn’t the beginning. And it wasn’t the end.

How do you know it wasn’t the end? p123   Kathy you will love this novel.

SDGs 4/17

‘Marvellous held the postcard up to her eyes again and studied the script. She saw gratitude and promise in the flourish of his hand. It had been a long time since she had cried, but she knew she didn’t need her tears any more because there was no point in tears outliving eyes, so she let them fall.”p235. “Later she listened to the earth turn. It has a melody that only the gentle hear.” p254 

A poet, writer and woman after my own heart, Winman writes in her acknowledgements: “Research is not something that comes easily to me and I find it sleep inducing at the best of times, frustrating at the worst, and a hindrance, always, to my childlike impulse to spontaneously tell a story…” She does, however, thank the people, institutions and organisations for relevant information, which allowed the writing process to be truly enriching….Tinder Press an imprint of Headline Publishing Group UK 2015.

All the very best in these trying times.  Wait… can you hear that? So very, very soft – gentle – persistent…The softest, most gentle whisper of all Time “Remember – The Darkness never lasts”

Even with libraries closed, there may be new ways to share books – not just online. I will advise if new ideas or projects to accommodate readers are available. Facebook users will already know that The Marketplace offers all sorts of commodities.

NCWQ Arts and Letters Report November 2019

By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

A Reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…the person who never reads lives only one. George R.R. Martin

Leslie HURTIG, Artistic Director for the 2019 Vancouver Writers’ Festival notes change and pleasure whilst perusing books being published by small and large presses across Canada, the United States and Europe. “There has been,” Leslie writes, “a noticeable trend toward highlighting the voices of under-represented minorities, making the offering of titles being published in English both varied and essential.” Opening boxes from a publisher is always a joy and takes one on unexpected journeys. Excited about the Vancouver Writers Fest, Leslie acknowledges many talented writers, to small and large audiences, and extends a particularly warm welcome to award-winning author, journalist and activist, Tanya TALAGA. Tanya is the second annual Guest Curator, who has led many forward through her columns at ‘The Toronto Star’ and two of her best-sellers: “Seven Fallen Feathers” and“All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward”.

A wonderful programme with authors: Naomi Klein, Alicia Elliott, Maude Barlow and Adam Gopnik inspiring and informing, intersperses with fiction authors:  Emma Donoghue, Tash Aw, Mona Awad, Elif Batuman, Cherie Dimaline and Michael Crummey, entertaining, provoking thought and new ideas! Executive Director, Nicole Nozick and Board Chair, Alexia Jones, express both joy and excitement for a year which has been pivotal, with a new mission, vision and strategic plan. I am deeply grateful to my contemporary at Granville Island for sharing this information and it is important to note that the fest carries out its work on the ancestral and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleril-Waututh First Nations. Publications proliferate and are available on: A complete overview is titled: ‘Exceptional Books & Ideas in 80+Events”. SDGs 4/12/17

MONTREAL, QUEBEC provided gifts of interesting books and a timeline and ‘trip through history’ of Montreal’s main communities. The information includes street/geographic detail and the nature of the business or service in which each culture is engaged. One reads of the Greek, Jewish, Irish, Scottish, English, First Nations, Haitians, Italians, Latinos, Portuguese, Middle Eastern and Maghreb citizens, Eastern Europeans, Chinese, and the French, who by 1865, made up most of the city’s population! A delicious and exciting city of 4 million inhabitants, and no less than 120 different nationalities, Montreal boasts a rich and vibrant cultural fabric! SDGs 4/11/17

British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec all celebrated Space, the Landing on the Moon and challenged our future ‘out there’ with a variety of historic and futuristic dioramas and interactive displays. Just prior to my flight to Canada, I had read, waiting for my dentist, an interesting article ‘Heroes of Space’ featuring Vera RUBIN – the first person to prove the existence of dark matter. Vera was born in 1928 in Philadelphia, USA and was always fascinated by physics and astronomy. Although she was able to study, the ‘Princeton’ policy that it did not accept women, was not lifted until 1975, so, despite her obvious talent, Vera Rubin battled the odds, and was accepted at Cornell University, to do her Master’s degree. With consequences for our understanding of today’s cosmos, Vera’s discovery of the elusive material, dark matter, believed to make up an estimated 25% of the ‘missing’ mass of the universe, was not well received in a man’s world – however, she ‘slanted’ her research towards the study of the rotation curves of singular galaxies, beginning with our closest spiral, the Andromeda galaxy. WHY am I including this in my report? Because I did not, even once, in any display or diorama, see any representation of Vera Rubin’s name, work, profile, discovery or research and/or its relationship to our knowledge of what is known of ‘Space’ today.   SDGs 4/5/10/12

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” Stephen HAWKING 1942-2018


An Australian group replicated a number of LEONARDO DA VINCI’S inventions, implements, musical instruments and paintings, and these were on display in Vancouver, British Columbia, to the delight of significant audiences. In addition to the interactive inventions and ‘gadgets’, which I had formerly seen only in Florence, there was a wonderfully collated history of da Vinci, filmed for all to see. Adjacent to this wonderment, was a history of the changes wrought to what is believed to be the original Mona Lisa. This segment of the exhibition was of particular interest to audiences of all ages and provoked stimulating conversation and debate! I hope you are all able to see the photos taken at this particular exhibition. They will be on our website, as part of this report.

The artworks on display are digitised reproductions, recreating Florentine oil paintings to actual size. Leonardo’s original works are, of course, considered too priceless to move from their permanent locations; some are now too fragile to even be on display. “Art is never finished, only abandoned,” said the Grand Master, da Vinci. Canada Science and Technology Museum. SDGs 4/12/17

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” Leonardo da Vinci est. 1450


Of particular interest, also in Vancouver, was the way in which exhibitions are EXPLICIT. Themes, ideas, questions and issues are very, very clear – not only from Canadian artists, certainly, but from the entire display. One example of this explicitness, in addition to buildings, people, evictions, riots, construction and meetings ON THE STREETS, was a work by Robert Capa, Budapest, Hungary. 1913-1954. Capa was a pseudonym for photojournalist Endre Friedmann,who fled Hungary and lived in France for a time. The 1944 photo of a street in Chartres, France, shows a mother and daughter whose heads have been shaved to mark them as collaborators. The daughter – in the white dress – is holding a baby she conceived with a German soldier. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery. SDGs 4/11

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other (women’s) and men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have laboured hard for.” Socrates


Dublin’s Ciara GERAGHTY “For my mother, Breda who gave me the roots to grow and wings to fly.”

“Iris Armstrong is missing.” Thusly begins this Irish author, whose books are beautifully written and infused with warmth, humour and human understanding, states the ‘Irish Examiner’.

The simple fact of the matter is that Iris loves life. Maybe she’s forgotten that. When Iris Armstrong goes missing on her 58thbirthday, her best friend, Terry, wife, mother and all-round worrier, is convinced something had has happened.  She’s right. Her glamourous, feisty friend is setting out on a journey she plans to make her last. Woven into this, is a dad who has dementia. “…one of the good things about dementia. You bear witness to the kindness of people.” p.330

“Memory is such a strange beast, isn’t it. It throws up such random things. Presents itself in different ways. Sepia-tinted, some of them. Black-and-white, others glaring technicolour. Some are magnified. Larger than life, like the images you see when you look through the wrong end of binoculars. Distant and small. You doubt the truth of them.” pp 353-354

Beautifully written – Two old friends on a life-changing journey…. Rules of the Road, Harper Collins Publishers, London. 2019  SDGs 3/4/16

Australia’s Matt ZURBO, father and fisherman, currently working an oyster farm in Tasmania, determined to write 1 x Children’s book daily for a year! Matt declared on SBS Television that “Imagination trumps violence and ignorance and always will!” This unusual author explains that he is the son of a father who is an illustrator and a mother, doyenne of Melbourne’s avant-garde theatre, ‘The Pram Factory’. Both inspired his own creativity, as does his golden-haired daughter, Cielo (heaven in Spanish) – Cielo’s mother fled Caracas. Details on publications and progress are available online and Wikipedia has a Children’s Portal!  Pascoe Publishing & Penguin Books 2019

RESIDENTS AND VISITORS to Queensland were delighted with the beautiful water fountains, lights and lasers viewed from the Arcadia precinct on the South Bank Cultural Forecourt! Teachers from the city and regions marked the very LAST QCS (Queensland Core Skills) tests for Queensland senior students, then relaxed with this spectacular exhibition! Educators and Schools will now change pace, teaching the students to cope successfully with external exams.

A South African Choir was placed 2ndin ‘America’s Got Talent’ – ND LOJU – Zulu for Elephant! This is from our sisters in the Council in South Africa! Daphne Hansen

Light and lovely! ‘freshly picked words’ …’Save the Earth, it’s the only planet with ice-cream’.

The following is not so light and lovely, and may be confronting for some – however, it is vital to the integrity and direction of our role/s that the truths and stories of all are given a voice and a place…..

‘PURGE’ Sofi OKSANEN (first published in the Finnish language as “Puhdistus” 2008 by WSOY) Atlantic Books, London, 2018.  Translator: Lola ROGERS

“There is an answer for everything, if only one knew the questions.” Paul-Eerik Rummo (Part One) May 1949 – Free Estonia!

Deep in an overgrown Estonian forest, two women, one young, one old, are hiding. Zara, a murderer and a victim of sex-trafficking, is on the run from brutal captors. Aliide, a communist sympathizer and a blood traitor, has endured a life of abuse and the country’s brutal Soviet years. Their survival now depends on exposing the one thing that kept them hidden – the truth.

(Part Two) “Seven million years we heard the fuhrer’s speeches; the same seven million years we saw the apple trees bloom.” Paul-Eerik Rummo

“She recognized the smell of the women on the street, the smell that said something similar had happened to them. From every trembling hand, she could tell – there’s another one. From every flinch at the sound of a Russian soldier’s shout and every lurch at the tramp of boots. Her, too? Every one who couldn’t keep herself from crossing the street when militiamen or soldiers approached. Every one with a waist band on her dress that showed she was wearing several pairs of underwear…” p168

“There was nothing in the news about Chernobyl…” p218

“They’re keeping the cows indoors in Finland…” p220

“All the cement disappeared from Estonia, because it was needed in Ukraine, and more food came into Estonia from Ukraine and Belarus than ever before…Pure Estonian food was needed in Moscow, and Estonia got the food that Moscow didn’t happen to want…”p220 SDGs 1/2/3/4/10/16

Sofi OKSANEN was born in Finland and is a graduate of the Finnish Theatre Academy. She is the author of numerous novels, including ‘Purge’, ‘When the Doves Disappeared’ and ‘Norma’. Lola ROGERS is a Finnish to English literary Translator living in Seattle.

‘A phenomenon’ Sunday Times


‘STORIES & SKETCHES’ by Charles DICKENS with original engravings was gifted to a friend in 1908 and loaned to me by her relative, recently, in 2019! Beautifully intact, though somewhat fragile, the small volume is alive with famous and lesser known characters and stories, and demonstrates the sharp powers of observation Dickens possessed, positing truths, harsh realities and grand follies of humanity! Much would receive serious and silly editing these days, where truths continue to diminish or are garbed in nonsense layers of pretence! Just a few titles are: ‘Sketches of a Young Gentleman’, ‘Sketches of Young Couples’, ‘Public Life of Mr. Tulrumble, Once Mayor of Mudfog’ and ‘The Pantomime of Life’. Collins’ Clear-Type Press, London and Glasgow SDG 4


Australian magazine MINDFOOD presents some interesting holiday reading in the October 2019 edition. Calling all Writers. Have your short story published There is also a call for unpublished poets! Of special interest and benefit, however, is an article by Cat RODIE, HAPPY OR HURTING? This article interrelates today’s clichés, turmoil, emotional and mental health and glib dismissiveness of authentic conditions!

The author quotes everyday sayings, such as: ‘everything happens for a reason’ and‘things always work out for the best’, as not particularly useful, or worse. Registered psychologist, Jocelyn BREWER is quoted: “We’ve confused being happy with the ability to apply a positive mindset”, she writes. Cat Rodie was going through a really rough patch and wondered whyall the platitudes, not only in conversation, but abundant on Facebook, Instagram etc. crushed her; seeming to make things worse, as it was all HER fault! “Just be positive!” Good vibes only! ‘Think happy thoughts!’ Brewer explains the worsening feelings, explaining that we HAVE confused the basis of happiness – ‘Many examples of toxic positivity are actually just shallow or simplistic sayings that gloss over the more nuanced issues of dealing with life’s ups and downs,’ she explains. So strongly embedded is this toxic positivity, in social media, and so unusual is listening and understanding in face-to-face conversations, this can all STOP people from sharing their authentic feelings and seeking help, it is stated. pp042/043

Let yourself feel bad! States Rodie, supported by psychologists and researchers across the board. In direct opposition to ‘just being positive’, research suggests that allowing yourself to experience a spectrum of unpleasant emotions will actually help you feel better in the long run.  Researchers found that people who didn’t seem to ‘feel bad’ about feeling bad showed higher levels of wellbeing than their counterparts who beat themselves up about feeling negative emotions! The study concluded that “…those who accept their mental experiences may attain better psychological health.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2017. 3/4



SUSTAINING A FOCUS ON “experiencing a spectrum of emotions” a magnificent text has been produced, with this dedication: ‘For Margot Frank who died, aged eighteen, in Bergen-Belsen along with her sister, Anne.  And for Margot Reith who, at a similar age, has the world at her feet.’ ‘THE LOVE THAT I HAVE’ has been penned in a specially built shed in the backyard of a most respected, award winning author, James MOLONEY, right here, in Brisbane! This extraordinary story about love, loss and profound courage is superb!

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved three things: the long summer holidays, my brother Walther and Adolf Hitler.”

Margot Baumann has left school to take up her sister’s job in the mailroom of a large prison. But this is Germany in 1944, and the prison is Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin.

Margot is shielded from the camp’s brutality a she has no contact with prisoners. However, she does handle their mail, and when given a cigarette lighter and told to burn the prisoner’s letters, she is horrified by the callous act she must carry out with her own hands. Margot steals a few letters, intending to send them in secret, only to find herself drawn to their heart-rending words of hope, of despair and of love.

This is how Margot comes to know Dieter Kleinschmidt – through the beauty and passion of his letters to a girlfriend. A wonderful read! ‘The Love That I Have’ Angus & Robertson, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers Australia. 2018 www.harpercollins.comSDGs 1/2/3/4/6/10/16

QUEENSLAND’s Arts and Letters in late 2019 is a swirl of wonderful Russian Ballet – old art – new art – chamber music – Shakespeare modernized! French film – Japanese animation – Finnish fiction – beautiful yarns of rich, early days in the Torres Straits Islands – a return to the stage for Kris Kristofferson – reminding us “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”All events, productions, publications, renditions, tales, performances and songs lighten hearts and heavy thoughts! – Many generate new ideas for new and old problems! – Some provoke us – some make us laugh heartily – some bring forth tears, memories, dreams, reflections – all enrich! Many, also, blend yesterday and today…hurtling us into our tomorrows!

One such BLEND, performed on stage and accompanied and enhanced with unusual visual artworks, is ‘ALICE IN THE ANTIPATHIES’. This performance is about the Malayalee diaspora and issues that have been part of the global transmigration landscape since last century. It is a collaboration between JUTE Theatre Company, Masakini Theatre Company of Malaysia and Dr Sasi VICTOIRE. Created and written by Cairns-based Dr Sasi Victoire, originally from Malaysia, the writer uses the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ story to help explore the struggles encountered by migrants, especially the Asian Diaspora, to reconcile with their cultural heritage and identity. The work includes multi-media components such as projected images, sound and dance. Set designs were from the Australian production team and stage management from Malaysia. This IS a magickal transformative story of migration, told through the senses, embedded with the playwright’s own artworks depicting a life lived with a constant sense of ‘otherness’ and a relentless search for place.

An excerpt from ‘Writer’s Notes’: “It is a rare privilege for an artist to be given an opportunity to not only write a play, but to support the vision in the narrative by creating images for costumes, props and audio visuals. As a co-producer, I have gained some knowledge of the many processes that make up the world of theatre.

I could not have imagined when I embarked on my creative journey that this spark of an idea would tip me totally in a rabbit hole for almost four years. Using the safety net of JUTE Theatre Company’s writing programme, Write Sparks, my narrative is presented now, integrated with my art, presenting a fusion of art-forms in multiple cultural interfaces, as a more complete form…”  Dr Sasi Victoire 2019.

On a curious adventure, sent to be educated in Australia, beset by curiosity, new-found freedoms, new logic and exciting new ideas, Asha, a second-generation Malaysia-born Indian woman explores, with her imaginary Alice, of Alice in Wonderland, to navigate a tricky voyage through romance, love, loss and reconciliation. As a completely engaged audience member, I promise you laughter, repeatedly; challenges, joy, sadness and tears. This was a completely wonderful performance, with a small yet dynamic and singularly ‘different’ cast of four! – Salut! To Roz PAPPALARDO as Alice; Phraveen ARIKIAH as Ganesh/Father; Sukania VENUGOPAL as Asha and Sabera SHAIK as the Red Queen/Mother; and wonderful personal friend of Sasi’s and Director, CHANDRABHANU. Australian Council for the Arts/Arts Queensland/Dr Sasi 3/4/5/8/10/17                           Completely enjoyable, informative and EXTRAORDINARY!

Advisor’s notes: It is not usual for an Advisor to add notes to a report. However, because our readership continues to grow; because numbers of readers have English as an additional language and because I now include SDGs in most of my reports, I am including some explanatory footnotes here.

  • The ARTS includes many arenas and modalities, some of which are paintings, photography, posters, printed matter, pottery, porcelain, picture cards, performances, public puppetry. LETTERS simply means LITERATURE. Thusly, all literature, books, novels, novellas, poetry, prose, articles, are included. Arts and Letters inevitably include CULTURE! It is impossible for this inclusion not to occur. Cultural inclusions, backgrounds, characters, themes, symbols, religions, foods, celebrations, customs, traditions, songs, music and issues are the heartbeat and core of Literature. Exploring these, is part of the writer’s ‘job’!
  • SDGs are broad Sustainable Development Goals derived by the United Nations, forming part of the framework in which National Councils and the International Council of Women (Le Conseil International des Femmes) work, for broadly, educative and humanitarian goals.
  • A brief idea of what each SDG relates to, mentions or addresses, in this report, is set out below:

Poverty =1

Hunger =2

Good Health and Wellbeing =3

Education =4

Gender Equality =5

Clean Water and Sanitation =6

Decent Work and Economic Growth = 8

Reduced Inequalities = 10

Sustainable Cities and Communities = 11

Responsible Competition and Production = 12

Peace Justice and Strong Institutions = 16

Partnerships for Goals = 17

  • Pictures and photos for this report will appear on our website, positioned by our wonderful Webmistress. These do not appear in the report I habitually email. NCWQ

Voila! Concerts! Celebrations! Performances! Bells! Books! Christmas ‘round the corner for most!

…and when the dust has settled, the SILENCE is so rich – Hear ye! Silence is not simply a ‘ghost’!  Jennifer Ann Davies 2019 c.

SILENCE is not merely the absence of sound. …it is a language all of its own. “Becoming fluent in silence, like learning a foreign tongue, reveals undiscovered richness in the ordinary, everyday things. A silence shared by Friends could include lazily flicking through magazines together, watching a great movie, warming up by a blazing campfire and spying an animal waddling past. It’s the silence that welds a bond in the space between words. It’s that fine wine reserved for special friends, and so all the more savoured.” Rob Seizer, Speaking in Silence, 047.

Arts and Letters Report October 2019

Friendship, Laughter, Hope, Humour, Memory, and Listening all help us to create a LANGUAGE RICH ENVIRONMENT in which CHILDREN are less vulnerable – in which we have immunised them against poor language and literacy. Friendship! Laughter! Hope! Humour! Memory! Listening! These essential ingredients furnish effective, wonderful COMMUNICATION

“Books are a joyful thing,” communicates Cressida Cowl, Children’s Laureate – advising that CREATIVE INDUSTRIES need CREATIVE CHILDREN – these are huge, million dollar industries as well. Cressida is of “How to Train Your Dragon” fame!

WHAT, though, is COMMUNICATION? ‘Communication’ is not interchangeable with words like ‘message’, ‘contact’ or ‘transferring information’ (media). Often people mistakenly say “There is a communication problem” possibly meaning: “We have a shortage of information, but no way of interpreting” – “We aren’t being told what we really need to know” or “We have received different messages which contradict each other.” pp36-37.

Communication demands LISTENING. Listening is an art! Working with this ‘art’ we cannot afford to be too rigid about techniques, because our performance grows out of our personal relationships…To improve, we need courage, patience, generosity and a willingness to experiment. ‘WHY DON’T PEOPLE LISTEN?” Australia’s Hugh Mackay wrote this gem of a book in 1995 – well worth reading or revisiting! Pan MacMillan Publishers Sydney NSW.

“In the dark, your voice will save me!” S.K.Vaughan: “ACROSS THE VOID

Sphere UK 2019/

‘Love recognises no barrier. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination – full of hope.’ Maya ANGELOU

‘I don’t believe in God, but I’m very interested in her.’ Arthur C. Clarke

“Dinoflagellates,” Stephen said. “Single-celled organisms. They create that light, kind of like fireflies. Bioluminescence.” “Don’t ruin it with your science. They’re ocean stars.” p.252

“Everything in existence is a combination or unity of opposites.” P.243

A survival thriller; impenetrably thick irony – betrayed by superiors in the worst possible way, then falsely exalted by the same. p.286

“There’s no mass grave in the universe that can’t be ploughed into patriotic propaganda by a well-crafted spin.” p.286.  Highly recommended!

Liberty does not exist in the absence of morality.

‘THE WITCH’S KIND’ Louisa MORGAN Orbit UK 2018

A beautiful literary dedication to Painter Elizabeth Lucinda Morgan Campbell, by her grand-daughter, Louisa Morgan, a pseudonym for award-winning Author, Louise MARLEY…”In memory of my grandmother…who understood that art is life.”

“Tatters of cloud shone silver against the violet sky. I felt the pull of the canal as a physical sensation. Its tides seemed to resonate with the tides of my own flowing blood, its life calling to the life in my veins.” Yet again, WAR flavours and shapes myriad elements of this text; glass fragments of the shoreline beg imaginings of their origins, place and purpose – their wonderful ‘everyday-ness’! “I liked holding the glass fragments in my hand, bits of brown or blue or clear glass worn smooth by the water. I tried to imagine what they had once been part of…” p.2 “Deftly captures the greatest magic of all: the love between mothers and daughters.” Jordanna Max BRODSKY.

ABC CLASSICAL MUSIC (FM2) presented listeners’ 100 FAVOURITE COMPOSERS! Notably the following generated for lovers of music! One comment aired during this delightful time and relaying of the histories of some of the composers: “I think of music as something humans make.”                   Stories of awe and angst

Beauty and bereavement

Enthusiasm and energy

Magick and mystery

Actual voices, rarely heard

Successful symphonies

Subtle sounds

Startling synchronicities

Simple ‘scores’

Stealthy shifts

Staccato signals

Singular sounds




Special!          Salut! ABC Radio/copyright JAD 2019

A 50/50 WORLD? Australia’s Graeme SIMSION helps us believe in possibility, makes us proud to be human beings, and…keeps us laughing. Matthew Quick

“THE ROSIE RESULT” is the third in a trilogy, by Simsion and dedicated to “…the many people in the autism community who have been inspired and supported …(his)…books.” The Text Publishing Company/Melbourne Australia 2019.

‘We are all special cases.’ Albert Camus

‘Laugh-out-loud funny, poignant and so ingenious and compelling you feel as if you want to jump into the world of the novel and join in.’ Australian Women’s Weekly

Book Club notes and more available!


A tree shakes. Its branches flutter. There’s another snapping sound. Gigi’s barking inside the house. I pull the gate open. At the same moment I see someone – dark clothes, hunched posture, hooded sweatshirt – about ten yards away.  My pulse racing, I scoot inside the gate…hide behind a tree…my heart pounding, my head spinning, unsure if he’s seen me….”

The TRUTH will be exposed. In photography, answers to logical questions, connecting and deleting lies, with great compassion…

“SHUTTER” Laurie Faria STOLARZ Hyperion, N.Y.

(Connecting the voices and stories in the world of Letters to Visual Art, Photography continues to develop, to take a new ‘place’, in exhibitions, celebrations in Queensland’s and Australia’s Galleries.)

UQ ART MUSEUM: The World Press PHOTO Exhibition 2019 has been on a world-wide tour and made available at the Queensland College of Art. Included at the college are the works of QUT’s Olivia Lacey who explores intersubjective dialogue in art and Caroline Austin continues experimentation exploring how transdisciplinary creative strategies might be used to address wide-ranging issues through projects, exhibitions, discussions, workshops and participatory artworks.

VIVALDI! MOZART! PAGANINI! SAINT-SAENS! CHAMBER PHILHARMONIA COLOGNE, GERMANY Beautiful music echoed through St. Monica’s Cathedral, Cairns, with ‘La Tempesta Di Mare’, Concerto for violin, strings and basso cotinuo: Concerto in E Minor for bassoon, strings and basso continuo RV 484. Mozart, Concerto in B Flat Major for Bassoon and Orchestra KV 191. Paganini? Moses-Variations for Violoncello and Orchestra and Saint-Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso for Violin and Orchestra op. 28. The Chamber Philharmonia Cologne presented Sergey Didorenko on violin; Karen Ruprecht Bassoon and Dmitri Gornowsky, Violoncello. A beautiful concert.

Welcome Joanna NELL! Australia’s author of a moving, funny, heart-warming tale of love and community… ‘THE SINGLE LADIES OF JACARANDA RETIREMENT VILLAGE’ Hachette Australia, Sydney NSW 2018.

You will love PEGGY SMART. Aged 79 ½, living in the Jacaranda Retirement Village and widowed, Peggy’s closest ally is Angie Valentine. Four husbands. One pacemaker. Glamorous life of the party. Angie is teaching Peggy how to age disgracefully! Peggy is a long-time admirer of Brian Cornell. Handsome widower. Treasurer of the Residents’ Committee. Avid swimmer. All his own teeth! Peggy’s children? David and (overprotective) Jenny + Basil, her senior citizen partially sighted Shih Tzu. Likes: Losing herself in a romance novel. Guilt-free cake after aqua aerobics. Dislikes: Being patronised. Prescriptions. Favourite saying: “If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one!” Lots of FUN!! 

From the NCWQ archives, another voice – one which paved the way to NOW in the Art world!

“My name is Debbie SCOTT and I draw under the aboriginal name of “Yuluwirree” which means “rainbow”. I am not a tribal aborigine, a fringe dweller, or a person from a mission. I am an urban aborigine. I was raised in a European society. You might say I have the best of two worlds. My art is contemporary aboriginal art and my art form is pen and ink on fabric linen paper. The pen is a rotring pen which has very fine nibs…(this) gives me fine, intricate line work. The paper is imported from Italy. I use this paper because of its resilience to time and wear. The only colours I use on my work is a water colour wash I sometimes put in the background. I like to substitute my linework for colour.”

After travelling to a range of places, Debbie wrote: “I have met very interesting people who now have a better understanding of contemporary aboriginal art and hopefully an understanding of the people who are caught in this “time warp” of being neither truly black nor white. I have made wonderful friends and will have made many more in time to come, all through my art. So you can understand why I like to do my work from the heart because I get rewards from the heart in return.” NCWQ/NCWA 1990.

THE STUNNING TRIPTYCH “A Guidance in Time” created by Quandamooka artists Casey Coolwell and Kyra Mancktelow for the University of Queensland’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) has been unveiled in southern Queensland. I am sure Debbie Scott’s voice would be one to celebrate this tribute in the world of art.

…and a STUNNING SURPRISE IN AN ART MUSEUM IN OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA! I had looked at the huge art work and puzzled over the animals, as I was way across the world, seeking racoons, moose, bear and ground hogs! A wonderful mural, featuring a large work in the middle, shouldered by slender works on both sides. Then I read the inscription: “Diane MELLOR: Mamu, Ngajan and Ngagen MACKAY, AUSTRALIA 1971. MABA-I-BALA RUGU (of the Power of Darkness) 2013: framed triptych with unframed diptych; pastel, colour pencil with wash, glitter and crystal stickers…” AUSTRALIA IS HOME TO ONE OF THE OLDEST CIVILISATIONS, yet when colonists arrived there they considered the land empty. Mellor’s drawings juxtapose two different views – the real presence of Indigenous people within the blue-and-white imperialist landscape. The work also references prominent stars and celestial bodies. Mellor observes that, in Australia, “There is a renewed appreciation from astronomers of Indigenous perspectives relating to star clusters and the stories that they generate.” SDG 4 (Mackay is my Birthplace and is in Queensland on the East Coast of Australia.)

SOME NEW FUNDING HAS BEEN INFUSED INTO TOURISM AND THE ARTS IN QUEENSLAND! Each of the music events below has received refreshed funding.

COOLEY ROCKS ON is said to be Australia’s largest nostalgia music festival and this year the festival celebrated record growth for the event on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

QPAC states that thousands have bought tickets to EPIC BRISBANE OPERA a year in advance. A world-first operatic masterpiece is exceeding expectations. Richard WAGNER’S “Der Ring des Nibelungen” or “The Ring” has already sold thousands of tickets for the Brisbane performance.

“This production is coming exclusively to Queensland Performing Arts Centre and is a pinnacle of opera that will be a 15 hour epic performed over 4 nights,” says Ms. Leanne Enoch, Minister for the Arts. QPAC.

“Where you come from now is much less important than where you’re going…And home, we know, is not just the place where you happen to be born. It’s the place where you become yourself.”

Pico IYER, Vancouver Art Gallery.  

In my next report I will bring you more on the explicitness visible and tangible in a range of Canada’s art exhibitions and some news of a Writers’ Fest which carries out its work on the ancestral and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. 

 AND – LAST BUT NOT LEAST…4-5 & 9-12 October

COMMUNITY THEATRE: Tropical Arts, Inclusive Theatre Specialists

Bring to our Northern Region in Queensland,Australia


Lighten up with the great Bard’s comedy: TWO GENTLEMEN IN VERONA –modernized to 2GEN#CNS brings us Shakespeare at the Tanks Art Centre 2019. Evening and Matinee performances are offered to a growing public, commencing Friday 4th October. TANK 3 – fully seated. Show rating: PG and .

This community theatre performance has an interesting history and ethos; and is about: Real Humans, Real Theatre and Real Inclusion! Et voila! – WHAT does that mean?

The following material was given to me prior to my departure for Canada and applied initially to the 2018 production of Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT, yet gives each of us a clearer perception of WHAT ‘Real Inclusion’ means, in this dynamic, creative context!


‘Real Inclusion’ is a project which wraps around the productions. This evaluation captures what we do to foster and support inclusion and collaboration throughout our process of making a play. We investigate the challenges which arise and how we, individually or as a member of the team or community, work through or resolve them. This project is led by Velvet ELDRED , a respected arts leader and very experienced theatre maker and Community Cultural Development worker. Velvet brought in the first ARC participants and developed this important partnership. Velvet works with other project leaders: Avril DUCK, Artistic Director; Melissa ROBERTSON, Communication and Doug ROBINS, Inclusion Specialist.   “Real Inclusion” findings will be an ongoing legacy for Tropical Arts with the aim of helping other organisations to understand that INCLUSION is a very active word! ARC=ARC Disability Services Inc.

NCWQ Arts and Letters Report August 2019

By Jennifer Ann Davies, Arts and Letters Adviser

There seems to be, wherever one looks, strong interest in the stories and images of the past. Most, represent the ideas of the times, as well as showcasing particular techniques, new developments, possibilities – change!

Ideas come to us as the successors of griefs, and griefs, at the moment they turn into ideas, lose some part of their power to injure the heart.

Marcel PROUST, ‘In Search of Lost Time’

POSSIBILITIES: Everywhere he looked he saw what UTZON saw. The drama of the harbour and horizon, and at night, the star-clotted sky. It held the shape of the possible, of a promise made and waiting to be kept…

In 1965 as Danish architect Jorn UTZON’S striking vision for the Sydney Opera House transforms the skyline and unleashes a storm of controversy, the shadow of the Vietnam War and a deadly lottery threaten to tear the country apart. A female journalist, is exiled to the women’s pages after being photographed in an anti-war protest and is desperate to save her two brothers from the draft. Swedish glass artist wanted to capture the newness, the possibilities. He had watched his uncle translating the shapes of nature, its sculptural language and form. In this big, bold and hauntingly beautiful portrait of art and life, ‘SHELL’captures a world on the brink of seismic change through the eyes of two unforgettable characters caught in the eye of the storm. (And reminds us of why taking a side matters.)

Exiled journalist, Pearl, wanted to write. As she read Kylie Tennant, Katharine Susannah Prichard, Jean Devanny, Eleanor Dark and Christina Stead, it became clear how INTERCONNECTED women were….all too familiar…they’d all lived in captivity, caught in the prescribed role of caring too much; for husbands, children, parents. Into this crowded cage they still managed to squeeze writing…good writing…in the thirties they’d published more fiction than men, while washing nappies, feeding elderly aunts, playing help-mate to husbands…pp 42/43.

Glass artist, Axel, remembered his mother’s words about the ways in which art and artists could impact the smallest things, or every part of life. ‘When you go into a place, look closely at the buildings, their windows and doors, look for paths along a river, or the seafront. So that people can walk by the water. So they can look out. And in the woods so they can look in. Seats beneath trees. Places for children to play. Do the doorways have overhangs, shelter from the rain, the snow? Or for your old mother…to rest on her way up the street? These things make people kind, Axel. They lift their spirits.’ p 82.

‘SHELL’ is an excellent Australian publication about possibilities and ideas, by the informed and insightful Kristina OLSSON. Scribner Australia, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (Australia) Pty Ltd, Cammeray, NSW, 2018. “Shell’ sanctifies the greatest of our ideas and being, from love, courage and betrayal to creation and dissent….Ashley Hay

POSTERS: Vintage Advertising posters are a remarkable part of the National Library of Australia’s collection. Big, bold and hard to miss, they have cleverly enticed curious and intrepid travellers to our shores, lured leisure seekers and seduced everyday consumers with fresh ideas about how good life can be in Australia. While the posters have physically aged, the messages they convey and the stories they tell, endure!

Advertising posters represent the ideas of their times, showcase printing techniques, and are often spectacularly illustrated by artists such as Gert Sellheim (1901-1970) and Percy Trompf (1902-1964), as well as others who are tantalising in their anonymity.

The National Library of Australia holds over 7,000 Australian advertising posters produced before 1950; though only a small number are freely available to view online. Most can be seen onsite at the Library, but as the paper becomes brittle with age and many are too delicate to handle now, the library is calling for donations to conserve and digitise the collection.

ROYAL OPERA HOUSE LIVE: On the big screen! This season includes some of The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet’s much-loved classical repertory, the world’s top ballet and opera stars and a selection of new productions, from Covent Garden. FAUST: Opera in Five Acts. Experience the decadence and elegance of 1870s Paris in David McVicar’s spectacular production of Gounod’s best-loved opera. WITHIN THE GOLDEN HOUR NEW SIDI LARBI CHERKAOUI FLIGHT PATTERN: Three Ballets – One World Premiere. Two recent works and one world premiere showcase the contemporary face of The Royal Ballet. ROMEO & JULIET: Ballet in three acts. Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers encounter passion and tragedy in Kenneth Macmillan’s 20thcentury ballet masterpiece. Available Queensland-wide but check your local cinema theatre for time slots*

YOUNG ADULT READING hurtles us into a different ‘tomorrow’! This fast-paced young adult novel hints of Jane Eyre and is well worth reading. Published in London, it has been interestingly popular with readers in our Queensland libraries. ‘BRIGHTLY BURNING’ is written by Alexa DONNE, a writer who engages readers, both young and old, and holds attention and psyche, challenging traditions and encouraging new ideas! Titan Books, London SEI OUP, 2018.

“Exiled from Earth, the remnants of the human race circle the solar system in slowly disintegrating spaceships. Soon, the poorest will start to drop out of the sky…”

“A gripping examination of class, romance and survival in a dystopian future that feels chillingly relevant to our present times.” Kirkus.

…an Ice Age – waiting for Earth to warm – corrupt government officials select whowill live or die – nothing is impossible…..

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” Maya Angelou,


CONVERSATION CAFES vary topics from library, in many regions of Queensland and in the Metropolis. North Queensland is currently looking forward to special guest speakers who will speak of the local history of OLD SMITHFIELD.

POSTERS/FLYERS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: Say NO to tyre waste! Did you know that in Australia over 56 MILLION tyres are discarded each year? So far less than 10% is recycled! Tyre Stewardship Australia is independently run, backed by the Federal Government and authorised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. WHAT can old tyres be used for? Soft fall playground bases, brake pads, industrial and commercial flooring and some forms of road surfacing. Flat tyre? Look for the TSA stamp of approval.

TUCK-AWAY TINY for a serious problem! THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR ELDER ABUSE. National Councils in each state have advocated for investigation and change in this arena, particularly the Western Australian council. Inquiries, investigations, changes in monitoring, staff – patient ratios and heightened awareness that serious abuses and problems exist, are resultant. The Queensland Government provides a tiny, pocket-sized, mini-booklet to assist the public, with clear definitions of WHAT is defined as elder abuse/WHO the abusers often are/HOW help can be accessed/WHO can be called? There is an emergency number 000, which may be the number most vital to the elderly, particularly when in a distressed state.

HISTORY CLASSES in Queensland schools view posters: “Mummy, what did you do in the war?” “RED JOAN” directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Judi DENCH, Sophie COOKSON, Stephen CAMPBELL MOORE and Tom HUGHES, is inspired by a true story. This film is set in a picturesque village in England, where the heroine lives in contented retirement. Suddenly her tranquil existence is shattered as she’s arrested by MI5. Joan had been hiding an incredible past; she is one of the most influential war-time characters in living history.

At Cambridge University in the 1930s, the young Joan, a devoted physics student, falls in love with Russian saboteur, Leo. Through him, she sees that the world is on a knife-edge and perhaps must be saved from itself in the race to military supremacy. Post-war and working at a top-secret nuclear research facility, Joan is confronted with the impossible. Would you betray your country and your loved ones, if it meant saving them? What price would you pay for peace? Inspired by an extraordinary true story, ‘Red Joan’ is the taut and emotional discovery of one woman’s sacrifice in the face of incredible circumstances.

CAIRNS ART GALLERY engages in a range of partnerships in all art arenas, with particular emphasis, in 2019, on advancing a “…commitment to new narratives that challenge conflicting histories and contemporary interpretations around indigenous culture in Queensland and expand the parameters of contemporary art and design practice within the region.” Some partners are the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Gab Titui Cultural Centre, National Gallery of Victoria, and the remote indigenous communities of Coen in Cape York and Mer in the Torres Straits.

“QUEEN’S LAND Blak Portraiture includes early archival photographs taken during first settlement, juxtaposed with paintings and prints by indigenous and non-indigenous artists from the twentieth century through to present day.Andrea May Churcher:Director

The range of exhibitions is available online.


For our many readers, members and member organisations, these are universal goals towards which we work. These sustainable development goals have been defined by the United Nations, and noted in most international reporting. Below the list are examples of how the SDGs are indicated in reporting to the International Council of Women, compiled for April-June 2019.

  1. Poverty
  2. Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well Being
  4. Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industries
  10. Reduced Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Competition and Production
  13. Climatic Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for the Goals

As New Zealand still mourns; Hong Kongprotests, with a promise that ‘peaceful protests’ are the most powerful; geopolitical giants challenge poets, painters, publishers, performers and printers to amplify voices for protection and peace-building…..

ISRAEL – An extraordinary event was held at the Cervantes Institute, Tel Aviv and the Spanish Embassy. In liaison with poet, peace advocate, fervent humanist and 1985 Nobel Peace Prize winner for his stand with Doctors International for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Professor Ernesto KHAN,  was NCW’s own wonderful poet and Advisor,Hedva BACHRACH. Hedva’s poetry is included in a Spanish-Hebrew Anthology, with ten other Israeli writers and manySpanishwriters. Amidst the friendship and joy of Flamenco music and dance, each poet read to the audience, and ‘though experienced in participation in International Anthologies and public readings, Hedvafound thisa particularly moving event “…because it projected an atmosphere of peace through poetry…” We congratulate and celebrate peace-building with Hedva and contemporaries!  SDGs 3/4/5/17

SWEDEN will host the 3rdEuropean Conference on DOMESTIC VIOLENCElater this year. NCW Queensland, AUSTRALIA, is proud that our well-informed Advisor for Child, Youth & Family has had her research published recently, and will be addressing a segment of her research at the European Conference, scheduled for 1-4thSeptember, 2019, in Oslo.Strong, substantial partnerships have liaised to facilitate this significant Conference. These are: Norwegian Social Research (NOVA) at OsloMet/Oslo Metropolitan University and the Norwegian Centre for Violence & Traumatic Stress Studies (NKVTS).

Leanne FRANCIA will be speaking to the topic “Addressing family violence, post-separation – Mother’s and father’s experiences from Australia.”This issue has been of grave concern to many in diverse societies and has not been addressed well. Leanne’s thorough research, and findings will contribute to understandings and potential changes in law, policy-making, attitudes and real lives. We congratulate Leanne and wish her well for the September conference. SDGs 3/4/5/16/17

FINLAND’S ETHNOMUSICOLOGIST, Esa VIENAMO (MA) was appointed for a five year term, as regional artist for outsider art,on 11thApril 2019. Ethnomusicology is traditionally about the ways music interacts with culture,community and language, in all societies. The role, a first for the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, is to promote the artistic work opportunities of outsider artists, reinforce structures for these activities and engage marginalised artists. In particular contexts, some ‘outsider art’ forms are used for healing and mental health rehabilitation. Grants, subsidies, programmes and projects may apply to: Architecture/Art Journalism/Cinema/Circus Art/Dance/Design/Illustrations & Comics/Literature/Visual Arts/Media Art/Multidisciplinary Art/Music/Photographic Art/Theatre.   SDGs 1/3/4/8/10/12/17

GREAT BRITAIN’s Natural History Museum, in South Kensington, LONDON, is now in its 54thyear of its famous wildlife photography competition. Wildlife Photographer of the Year showcases extraordinary animal behaviour and the breathtaking diversity of life on Earth. Every photograph has a story – surprising, challenging, sad, interesting, and informative. Lots of helpful information:   SDGs 3/4/5/11/13/14/15

GREAT BRITAIN – Trustees of the British Museum,given a prized edition of a trilingual edition of literary texts covering 1100 years of Old Slavonicliteracy, from Macedonia, have been informed by curators that there is an upsurge of interest in the publication. Originally written in 80% Macedonianand 20% Albanian and Turkish, an English translation was gifted in 2011 and promoted throughout Universitylibraries andmuseums in 2012. Of multiple significance, this edition is a national literary encyclopaedia and story of the Macedonian people’s journeytowards a National Statein the Balkans. Simply, this valuable edition reflects the development of national tradition, culture and consciousness of their expression by means of language and literature. National and University Library of Macedonia.   SDGs 3/4/11/17

NCWQ Arts, Letters and Music Report May 2019

By Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

HISTORY, STORIES AND IMAGES CONNECT AND PROTECT: Something indelible gently nudges; alarmingly confronts; echoes, whispers or deeply touches us and enters our world, with every story, with every image, with every note…

In the portfolios of the National Councils of Women, stories from past and present, and from varied cultures and places, don’t just settle, indelibly, on soul and psyche, but connect us, with information and understanding; and intertwine, like a glorious grape-vine, with the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations, assisting and shaping our direction in working to voice every Woman’s story. Doing so can influence and change myriad elements in humanitarian and educational contexts, and inform and encourage rightful, responsible, safe participation in all aspects of community life.  

2019 NCWQ Annual Dinner: Introducing Brigadier Susan COYLE,Patron and Governor, His Excellency, the Honourable Paul DE JERSEY thanked NCWQ for outstanding contributions in encouraging the participation of women in all aspects of Queensland life and relayed a brief history of contributions made by women in World War 11.

Participation during WW11 moved beyond basic nursing roles and 24,000 women joined the Australian Women’s Army Service when founded in 1941. My other was one of these. Members served in artillery, intelligence and signal corps; clerical and manual work; maintained transport and equipment and drove everything from cars to amphibious vehicles. Members did indeed “…find inspiration in the stories of Australian Women in service.”

1937 Elsie BYTH: Two women, representing 37,000, told the Industrial Court that a 5-day shopping week, with shops closed on Saturday mornings, was NOT wanted by women. The Australian president of the National Council of Women, Mrs. G.L. BYTH, told the court that “our work is waiting for us when we get home.” Mrs. Byth said she had come on behalf of housewives and mothers to ask theprotectionof the Court against the imposition of any further burdens upon them. Elsie Byth’s grand-daughter, Dr Susan BYTH, sponsors an NCWQ bursary each year in honour of her grand-mother. Susan is also an Artist.

1990 Dorothy HARTNETT: President Queensland Sculpture Society. “Perhaps I find satisfaction working in glass because it is strong, durable and transparent, but has a fragility as it lets in and redirects light, which ensures growth. It is in a semi-fluid state at all times with flashes of transient, vibrant colour, which has helped me find that stability and joy are within oneself, not external.

As a person whose labours go beyond ‘ideas’, I am discovering the future is in the past or in your own imagination and in so doing you win back the consciousness of your inner being. You know then that the Universe is a coherent whole and you are indivisible from it.” NCWQ

1999 Adeline YEN MAH: Author of “CHINESE CINDERELLA” The secret story of an unwanted Daughter. An unforgettable story of overcoming the odds to prove one’s worth. This is very specifically Chinese. Dedicated to all unwanted children: “I have always cherished this dream of cr3eating something unique and imperishable, so that the past should not fade away forever. I know one day I shall die and vanish into the void, but hope to preserve my memories through my writing. Perhaps others who were also unwanted may see them a hundred years from now, and be encouraged. I imagine them opening the pages of my book and meeting me (as a ten-year-old) in Shanghai, without actually having left their homes in Sydney, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong or Los Angles. I shall welcome each and every one of them with a smile and say, ‘How splendid of you to visit me! Come in and let me share with you my story…because I understand only too well the rankling in your heart and what you are going through.” Chinese Cinderella. Adeline Yen Mah. Puffin Books/Penguin Random House Australia 1999.

Addendum: “For all of us to get along during the next millennium, we must understand each other’s history, language and culture. Towards that end I am donating all royalties from my books to a foundation modelled after the Rhodes Scholarship program, to enable students to study at universities in Beijing and Shanghai.” Adeline Yen Mah 1999

DISCONNECT TO PROTECT? International best-selling Author with over 25 million sales worldwide, weaves a compelling and suspenseful tale of human ingenuity and endurance against the worst pandemic known to history. For most, the Black Death is the end; for a rare few, it was a new beginning.

1348: The Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in Dorseteshire in June 1348; no one knows what manner of sickness t is or how it spreads and kills so quickly. The Church proclaims it is a punishment from God, but Lady Anne of Develish has different ideas. In Lady Anne of Develish – leader, savour, heretic – author, Minette WALTERS has created a memorable heroine.

“In Dorseteshire the plague made the country quite void of inhabitants so that there were almost none left alive. From there it passed into Devonshire and Somersetshire, even unto Bristol, and raged in such sort that the Gloucestershire men would not suffer the Bristol men to have access to them, by any means. But at length it came to Gloucester, yea even to Oxford and to London, and finally it spread all over England and so wasted the people that scarce the tenth person of any sort, was left alive.” Geoffrey the Baker, Chronicon Angliae temporibus Edwardi 11 et Edward 111.

Lady Anne, in 1348, protected her people in many ways that we, in 2019, still work to promote! Parallels may surprise readers. Allen & Unwin Sydney Australia 2017.


Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use. Ruth Gordo

CONVERSATION CAFÉ events in Queensland libraries include Biggest Morning Tea Bake-Off! In many of our regional libraries, community members are asked to bring their baked wares and to bring their best morning tea recipe to share.  Booklets will be made with these recipes!

MEET THE AUTHOR! Barbara MILLER launches her new book: ‘IF I SURVIVE’ Nazi Germany and the Jews – the brave and captivating story of 100-year-old Lena GOLDSTEIN – cited as Lena’s ‘miracle story’. This launch is at Smithfield Library, in the Cairns region. More news on the book advised when available.

SONGWRITER Harriette PILBEAM from BABAGANOUJ, responds to comments about your hometown. “Everybody always whinges about how small Brisbane is, but what’s wrong with knowing ‘everybody’? You’re guaranteed to bump into people you know on any given night out and I love that.” Frankie, Issue 60, p.015

‘BREAD & BUTTER’…delightful, quirky clothing and accessories with a high level of cuteness – Sora Kim’s vintage collection, sourced in Korea, will have you a little smitten.

TRAVELLING? Clever Spanish ‘flowers on your back’ offer tough back-packs made of natural canvas and cotton with leather insides.

ABOUT ICELAND’S MUSIC COMMUNITY…Asgeir says “If you’re in the music scene you know most of the people and it’s easy to work with whoever you want to work with. Everybody’s really open to collaborating on things and helping each other out…..that’s the best thing about it….” Frankie, Issue 60, p018

CATTANA WETLANDS in CAIRNS have local, national and international importance for birds, resident and migratory. Woman Artist, Pete Marshall currently has an exhibition of her works of the birds from these extraordinary wetlands on show at the Tanks Art Centre. Additionally, BIRDLIFE DRAWING WORKSHOPS are on offer.

ARTS LAW offers both workshop and one on one clinics to provide specialised advice, education and resources to artists and arts organisations. These are facilitated by lawyer Suzanne Derry.

SONGWRITERS STAGES are gradually becoming popular as a feature, at festivals and markets. Here, musicians, performers and songwriters can both trial and promote their music, to the public.

QUEENSLAND’S DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND ATTORNEY GENERAL has furnished Justices of the Peace with fresh and information about protection orders. This is Domestic & Family Violence Prevention Month. As a JP since 1985, I like this inclusion.

The 2019 PORT DOUGLAS CARNIVALE is an iconic family-friendly festival with roots and connections deep in the community, celebrating the region’s climate, arts, food and lifestyle. Fun!

THE IDEAL PALACE: L’Incroyable Histoire du Facteur Cheval is a beautiful film which is travelling as part of the 2019 French Film Festival. Directed by Nils Tavernierand starring Jacques GamblinandLaetitia Casta. Based on the remarkable, true story of Joseph Ferdinand Cheval, set in the south of France in 1879, film-maker Tavernier delivers this stunning and engrossing account of love and dedication. Spectacular photography and noteworthy performances give credence to this absorbing parable of persistence and vision; the larger than life undertaking of one very reserved man and the huge legacy he bestowed on France. No-one could believe how far this postman had walked in his life as a postman, then on retirement, after collecting stones of interest, beauty and unusual symmetry, Cheval spent 34 years building his beautifully bizarre palace, in Hauterives, in the Drome region, 30 miles south of Lyon.

During his 27 year period of walking to deliver mail and collecting stones, Ferdinand Cheval informed himself by reading and looking at the pictures in ‘Le Magazin Pittoresque’and also studying curious post-cards to be delivered, with resonances of some from Cambodia evident in his final art work! Hauterives once lay beneath the sea, so the landscape was rich in fossils and porous limestone.

“Whatever your age, whatever you wish to achieve, if you are

courageous, persistent and hard-working, you are sure to succeed!”

Ferdinand Cheval

The palace is reminiscent of ancient times, with sculpted figures of cedar trees, bears, elephants, sheep-dogs and cascades. At one end are seven figures of classical antiquity, beneath ostriches, flamingos, eagles and geese!

The hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, a mix, played by Bande Originale, has been compiled by Baptiste Colleu and Pierre Colleu, and enhances, indelibly, beautifully, the experience of this immensely interesting film. Piano notes reverberate through one’s being – Musique superbe pour un film magique! Numerous websites online ref: The Ideal Palace/Cheval/Soundtrack

NCWQ Arts and Letters Report February 2019

By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser



The distinguished Australian Poet and Human Rights Advocate, Judith RODRIGUEZ, passed away on 22ndNovember 2018, aged 82.

Judith had once said “You’ve got to give something to the world – poetry is my offering.” Tributes live on for Judith’s serenity, hope and wisdom; for direct and forthright language, a great sense of humour, striking imagery and indelible poems about women’s experiences.

On Saturday 16thFebruary, 2019, a Celebration of Life for Judith Rodriguez, stunning Poet of Soul, at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne, Victoria. Judith’s youngest daughter, Zoe, read a special poem written by our own prolific Stefanie BENNETT, for Judith – ‘The Visit 1996’. I clearly remember trudging up the hill at Maleny, to the caravan park and Stef’s excitement about the visit and the black and white photos of Judith, Elsie Brimblecombe and herself! The poem is in Stef’s collection: “Woman of Straw” and I will advise where historic snapshots may be viewed. Perth, Western Australia, celebrated Judith’s life on her birthday, 13thFebruary, with members of numerous organizations participating. Other celebrations are organised for New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland.

Because of the nature and stature of her work and Life, I am extending deep condolences on behalf of both the National Council of Women Queensland Incorporated and the International Council of Women, to husband, Tom SHAPCOTT and children, SIBILIA, ENSOR, REBECA AND ZOE. “…requiescat in pace.”  Online: Judith Rodriguez or



PERFORMING ARTS take centre stage for Queenslanders!

The new CPAC offers plays, theatre, live music, contemporary dance, comedy and more. Audiences in Regional Far North Queensland are excited about the line-up of events on offer at the recently completed Cairns Performing Arts Centre! For two long years audiences have sat in camping chairs, in the park – beautiful – however, mostly wet! Thusly we sat huddled in ponchos, so that umbrellas could not block view of the stage; derrieres very wet, shivery in the evening rain, loving the foreign places, eras and characters transporting us to other times, places, fantasies and wonders…..however, a great celebration was had when the ROOF went atop the new centre!

Events for MARCH 2019 include Katie Noonan’s Elixir with Michael Leunig and strings: “Gratitude and Grief”; comedians, Judith Lucy and Denise Scott: “Disappointments”; moving theatre “Woven” and the NQ Chamber Orchestra with a beautiful “Classical Celebration”.

The new centre replaces the former Civic Centre and provides greatly enhanced experiences and a state-of-the-art facility that will support local and travelling performers. Seating and amenities are vastly improved, and include the following:

  • A deeper stage, more spacious wings, higher PROSCENIUM ARCH, higher fly tower and more fly lines.
  • A much larger orchestra pit and better provision for piano storage
  • Improved acoustics…..all a treat for a regional area!

The Cairns Performing Arts Centre is a joint initiative of the Cairns Regional Council and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and the Australian Government.

At the Southern end of the State, QPAC embraces world-renowned, emerging, local and new performers, and hundreds of varied events!  Just a few events on offer for March 2019 are: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”; the long-lived “Death of a Salesman”; “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and the well applauded performance “The Book of Mormon”. of regional patrons will, doubtless continue to visit this centre, particularly as performances often have a much longer season.  Thusly, both centres may be enjoyed by Queensland audiences.


NEW WRITERS: ‘Griffith Review’ has accepted submissions for the 2019-2020 Queensland Writing Fellowships and those chosen as successful applicants were to have been advised by 30thSeptember 2018, and will be published in the ‘Review’. More details will be available on the website in the coming weeks. Readers, editors and publishers look forward to a fresh and generous variety of genres, themes, characters, settings and styles of our new and developing writers.



VINTAGE ATTWOOD ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Vintage Books, London 2010

‘Out of a narrative shadowed by terror, gleam sharp perception, brilliant intense images and sardonic wit.’ INDEPENDENT

Margaret ATTWOOD’S books have been published in over 35 countries, many prize-winners. She is the author of more than forty works of fiction, poetry, critical essays and books for children. The author lives in Canada.

This extraordinary ‘tale’ is one which has importance for all of us. An earlier version was televised by the BBC and more recently a contemporary American version was serialised on Australian television. “The Handmaid’s Tale’ is both a superlative exercise in science fiction and a profoundly felt moral story.” Angela Carter

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She has only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness.

A tough, perceptive tale that drips, drips, drips into today’s and tomorrow’s possibilities.



“For the Innocents: 1962-1996: GUATEMALA.

I have touched their bones. I mourn for them.” Kathy REICHS

‘The U.N. Guatemalan Commission for Historical Clarification’ concluded that ninety percent of all human rights violations were committed by the Guatemalan army and its allied parliamentary organizations.”

“Most victims were Mayan peasants, many with no involvement in the conflict. The military swept through the countryside killing anyone they even suspected of being a guerrilla supporter. The highland provinces of El Quiche and Huehuetenango contain hundreds of unmarked graves.” p.102

The Argentines, along with scientists from the U.S.; and some medically trained personnel from Australia, trained local Guatemalans, who have now conducted scores of forensic investigations….including remains from the Chupan Ya, August 1982 attack.

World-class forensic anthropologist, Dr. Kathy REICHS exposes truths. An indefatigable expert, conscience bound and deeply compassionate, she is a stunning Woman Writer, with unusual professional expertise, respect and experience in extraordinary global arenas!


Reissued by Arrow Books 2012


LANGUAGE, LITERACY, LETTERS:  James PATTERSON is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time! In addition to his novels and stand-alone thrillers, James is passionate about encouraging children to read. Inspired by his own son who was a reluctant reader, he also writes a range of books specifically for young readers.

Illustrator, Martin CHATTERTON has also written dozens of kids’ books and illustrated many for almost 30 years. With work now published in 14 languages, Martin now divides his time between Australia and the U.K.

‘MIDDLE SCHOOL’ – ‘Rafe’s Aussie Misadventures’- James PATTERSON and Martin CHATTERTON. Random House Australia Pty Ltd, North Sydney NSW 2060.


VISUAL ART:  MONA RYDER “LONE STAR” – A SIGNIFICANT SOLO EXHIBITION. Nationally and internationally respected, this evocative artist has for almost half a century, challenged audiences with her unique visual language and unmistakable explorations into relationships, memory and gendered rituals.

Carefree and barefoot Mona Ryder grew up gathering seashells on the beaches and foreshores of Maroochydore, Queensland. When women artists were few, she juggled her blossoming career and a young family.

Exploring motherhood, marriage, birth and rituals of domesticity, her skilful crafting and juxtaposition of common household materials, old furniture and detritus, illustrate the exchanges of meaning, tensions and shifts in value for which Ryder is renowned.

ARTISAN: Bowen Hills Q’ld.


FILM:   “ON THE BASIS OF SEX” Her story made history!

“A rousing origin story. Humanizes a civil rights crusader who has since become an Icon and role model.” Variety.

Felicity JONES and Arnie HAMMER star in ‘ON THE BASIS OF SEX’, the inspiring true story of a young Ruth BADER GINSBURG, a passionate and dedicated lawyer who brings a case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1975 that will change women’s lives for the better. Her claim: that the law discriminates on the basis of gender.

At the heart of Ruth’s journey is a moving romance with her husband Marty and a poignant relationship with her daughter, who embodies a new generation of woman following in Ruth’s footsteps. As Ruth struggles to be heard, even hired, in a profession dominated by men, Marty becomes her greatest ally in a partnership built on love and equality.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was later appointed Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, a position she holds to this day. See where her story begins in this stirring, heartfelt drama.

Bader Ginsburg’s mother taught her to persevere, to question and to believe in herself. A short quote from Eleanor Roosevelt could easily apply to this fine woman: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Arts and Letters Report, January 2019

By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

“O tempora! O mores!”               Oh the times! Oh the customs! (Latin)

History opens up like a landscape for us to see through forgotten windows. Musee des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, France.

People, in general, are looking back at different times and different customs! Readers and viewers seek the truths and details of human histories written without the blurred boundaries of a post-truth era.

Many are reading books which have been published for some time, but which posit histories, facts, values and social mores which have not been devoured or compromised by the appetites and nuances of post-modernism.

 Writing is part of the thinking process and at times, a debate with self. It is a gift and a joy to read the work of writers who have engaged in that very debate and evaluated and interpreted research and the world’s human and socio-political histories well and have not just summarised these.

What, then, are Queenslanders reading?

ONE NIGHT IN WINTER, Simon Sebag MONTEFIORE Arrow Books, London, 2014, is a book that is currently circulating in diverse reading circles. The evaluation and interpretation of the world’s history, chaos and human survival informs and is of immense value; particularly for readers who are looking for Truth. Montefiore is the author of several prize-winning history books and his books are published in over forty languages.

A gripping, sobering, darkly enigmatic and enjoyable read, cleverly plotted, set in the heart of a violent society; this novel of passion, fear, bravery, suffering and survival is uniquely terrifying.

Much has been written about the thrill, love, emotions, redemption, passion, hope, heart-ache and romance of this masterly, historically authentic book, but the ‘liberalism’ with which many well-worn terms and clichés are used is quite disturbing, yet never misleading.

Chilling reminders are stark against the landscape of the darkest days of Communist Russia and the power one man can wield over a nation’s lives. You will wipe away tears and not because of the chill of Soviet Winters, but because love and death swirl…centrifugal. Human fragility and passions are still placed under the intimidating shadows of Stalin, Hitler and Lenin. Facing historical realities, instead of whisking them away; exposing genuine dualities and positing an informed evaluation and interpretation of such times, forges an amazing read!

AMANDINE, a novel by Italy’s Marlena de BLASI, is another wonderful book in circulation, with authentic details from human history; the natural world and undiluted socio-political events. Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest NSW 2065, 2010.

The ‘noble’ Czartoryski family – Krakow 1916 – betrayal, murder, chaos, bitterness…a new generation – a baby girl is born – AMANDINE – extravagantly ‘erased’ – removed to a convent in Montpellier!

De Blasi is praised, often, for her expertly wrought historical detail. Intricate, effective, engaging and exquisite, is the tight weave of the world at large; humanity, power and betrayal; love that fuses and forges newness and hope. Beautifully, this woman- author also uses direct parallels with the realities, ripples and rhythmsof the natural world.

“Amandine delights in the outdoors. She wanders about, touching, smelling, inspecting…She scrutinises a swallow’s nest, windblown and landed in the herb beds, and often she gossiped with the birds, standing under some branches where they perch, nodding, chirping. She answers them. They her. In the furrows beneath the vines, violets grow and, one by one, she gathers them – only the darkest blue ones will do. Lining up the gossamer stems in her trembling palm, she ties them with a blade of meadow grass…Her nose yellowed from dipping it into wildflowers, leaves tangled in her sweaty curls, cheeks red from the labours of her forage, she is pleased…” p.67

For Readers – for Women and Girls – for Mothers and Daughters – for all that we represent and all we reject, this is an abundantly rich and unforgettable read! ‘Amandine’ is published in many languages, for readers and speakers of languages other than English.

Email:      ISBN 978 1 74175 7125


What have Audiences in Queensland been viewing?

FILM – History is about to change! – COLETTE – based on a true story of a wonderful female writer, social constraints, the dichotomies of ‘ownership’, and a Woman who made her voice heard, long before others…..After marrying a successful Parisian writer, “Willy”, (Dominic West), Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightly) is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendour of Paris. Willy convinces her to ghost-write for him and Collette pens an autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a best-seller and a cultural sensation!

Because of its success, Colette and Willy become the talk of Paris but Colette is FORCED to write consecutive novels, for which Willy received acclaim and income. Colette’s fight over creative ownership defies gender roles and drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionising literature, fashion and sexual expression. Inspiring – brave – lovely!


SCULPTED SAND WONDERLAND – Jino VAN BRUINESSEN was born in Holland but came to Australia 34 years ago; currently living in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. This artist has worked as a water-colour artist, prop maker, sculptor and scenic artist and has been involved in the Film/Entertainment industries for some decades.

Van Bruinessen has currently been travelling in Queensland and presented a beautiful ‘Dragon Themed Sand Wonderland’ in the Far North, with the stunning sand sculptures representing characters from the children’s film “How To Train Your Dragon: Hidden World”. Members of the public, including the kids, were able to watch this artist and two of his assistants, at work, sculpting the kinetic sand – interesting, beautiful and entertaining.



A NEW BODY OF WORK WAS PRESENTED TO VIEWERS, in 2019, demonstrating the artist’s keen observations and her affection for the familiar things of everyday life. ANDREA HUELIN is a Cairns based artist whose still-life paintings capture, with an incisive clarity and attention to detail, everyday objects that surround us in our daily lives.

In this new exhibition, however, Huelin experiments with new techniques and moves beyond portrayals of objects to capturing people at work and leisure. Her aim is to communicate fleeting moments of ordinary life – maintaining, nevertheless, her recurrent theme.

The artist says that she is “…approaching painting the figures in a similar way to my still life paintings – abbreviating details, yet aiming for a satisfying sharpness and sparkle. Of course, with people comes the challenge of communicating human attitudes, energy and movement, with which I aim to convey simple narratives like teamwork, concentration or boredom.” p.23, Cairns Art Gallery Members Newsletter 75, December 2018 – February 2019.

The opening event for ‘Everyday’ included Emma Fowler-Thomason, Partnerships Manager, Arts Queensland.                                


Having briefly journeyed through history, social mores, customs and change, perhaps this little ‘gem’ may be believable?  “tomorrow: (noun) A magical place where all productivity, achievement and motivation is stored.”



Arts and Letters Report, November 2018

By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

‘Underline’- Every quarter, Underline publishes a collection of extracts, interviews, articles, short stories, reflections and much more, to celebrate brilliant writing in its many forms. Designed to be dog-eared and devoured at your leisure, this is a chance to delve a little further into some fine literature and the minds behind it.

Deep purple

Hot pink


Pumpkin yellow


For the love of reading!

Extract: ’21 Lessons for the 21st Century’ – Yuval Noah HARARI takes readers on a thrilling journey through 21 of today’s most urgent issues. Many reflect those confronting us at a national and international level. In this exploration, the author asks HOW do we maintain our collective and individual focus in the face of constant and disorienting change? In a passage on education, the question is HOW can we prepare our children for a world of unprecedented uncertainty and radical change? Harari argues that all our old stories are crumbling and that no new story has so far emerged to replace them. This is not an easy read, but an extraordinarily interesting and challenging one, full of truths, questions and warnings! Books featured in ‘Underline’ are available at all good bookstores.

Change and Continuity… “This Changes Everything” by bestselling author, Naomi KLEIN, tackles the most profound threat humanity has ever faced: the war our economic model is waging against life on Earth.

Alice NELSON, a new, strong and beautiful young female ‘voice’, tells us of the possibility of feeling pure, blinding love for the children of others; as one of her book’s narrative strands. This emerged from a cluster of unanswerable questions – of memory, loss, motherhood, inheritance and the possibilities of restoration and solace. Nelson says she was able to draw upon her experiences working with newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers in the USA and later with Holocaust survivors in Australia. Her Interview is well worth reading – complex thinking, music, immense beauty and writing “…from a place of enormous inner hopefulness…”infuse the ‘Underline’ interview and her brave book “The Children’s House”. Vintage October 2018.

‘Here comes the candle to light you to bed,

Here comes the chopper to chop off your head.’

Anna MAZZOLA’s is another female ‘voice’ that grapples with key themes of women’s rights in the Victorian period; how the criminal justice system treated vulnerable people and victims of crime; and who believes that historical fiction IS relevant to the world we live in today, helping to put our own lives into perspective.

‘Whilst researching and writing “The Unseeing”,’ the author says, ‘I was continually struck by the contrast between now and then – …women couldn’t travel unaccompanied, could own no property when married, nor had any rights over their own children. Terrible poverty, hardship, injustice and ignorance pervaded society. History is always relevant! We need to know what has gone before in order to make sense of our place in the world.’ From 1830s London, Newgate Gaol, and the Old Bailey; to the Thames and overcrowded convict transport to Australia, the reader is taken on an intricately plotted and extremely convincing literary journey.

Tinder Press/Headline Publishing Group, London EC4Y 0DZ 2017

In the FILM “Ladies in Black” change and continuity is unmissable! A classic Australian story of love, hope and the perfect dress, the adaptation for the big screen is heart-warming!

Set in the summer of 1959, when the impact of European migration and the rise of women’s liberation is about to change Australia forever, Lisa, aged sixteen, takes a holiday job at the prestigious Sydney department store, Goode’s. There she meets the ‘ladies in black’.

Beguiled and influenced by Magda, the vivacious manager of the high-fashion floor, and assisting sales ladies, Lisa is awakened to a world of possibilities. As she grows from a naïve schoolgirl into a glamourous and positive young woman, the impact they have on each other changes lives.

The film is based on the best-selling novel “The Women in Black” written by Madeline St. John, whose name was not included in the filmed presentation. The story, however, could so easily have been set in Brisbane, Queensland, at McWhirter’s in the Valley or at David Jones’ which was purchased in 1955 from Finney Isles. The authenticity and poignancy of the characters, stores, nuances, practices, attitudes, dress, trams, heartache and triumph is wonderful! Enjoy!


VISUAL ART – A history-making collaboration between Cairns Art Gallery and Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane. GOOBALATHALDIN: Dick Roughsey “Stories of This Land” will be available to the public, beginning with the exhibition opening, on Friday 16th November 2018, at the Cairns Art Gallery, and will be open until 10th February 2019, after which it will tour to Brisbane.

Many of us who worked in the worlds of Arts and Letters knew Dick, and he not only taught others of his life, cultural traditions, ceremonial dance and body painting, but encouraged others to make the transition from traditional bark to canvas and acrylic. This transition from bark to canvas allowed the art and stories to survive, to be archived and shared – a wonderful gift!  Dick Roughsey died in 1985, at the age of 65, and my children and I ran and swam and harvested some pipis and I cried salty tears into the sea at Holloways Beach, where we had met and worked and fished and laughed and learned and loved and painted and sketched and written, remembering him. I will advise details of the Brisbane Exhibition when these are confirmed.

REGIONAL SERVICES – Many Queensland regions are home to a diverse population and celebrate the resultant cultural vitality through many community festivals.

In addition to a range of multicultural services, Regional Councils provide useful information to new-comers, in a range of languages. In the Far North of our State, Cairns Regional Council now provides information to help people prepare and stay relatively safe during cyclone season. Currently the website provides guides in: Chinese, French, Hmong, Italian, Japanese, Nepalese, PNG Pidgin, Swahili, Tagalog and Arabic. (Some regional websites are also being upgraded)*

Arts and Letters, 2018 Annual Report

By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

Secrets, stories, people, performances and paintings, present pieces of miraculous survival, and move towards change.  Our women writers and artists forge new relationships with bolder viewpoints of vulnerability, love, loss and change. In truly authentic and wholesome ways, they celebrate the strength, resilience, hardship and tenderness of being fully alive, despite all – they celebrate the wonder of being ordinary, as distinct from being ‘superior’!! These same traits are recently, publicly, stated and celebrated by our former Patron, Dame Quentin Bryce.

Writers, in particular, have emerged from a former socio-political containment, into newness. Some of these are Geraldine Brooks, Anna Spargo-Ryan, Cate Kennedy, Mirandi Riwoe and June Love. Forerunners of this new ‘shape’ in the world of arts and letters, these women remain true to the nature of each chosen genre. The newness, characterisations, themes and action evident in publications, paintings and performances, sit hand in hand with our triennial theme: – Transforming Society through Women’s Empowerment!

The change defines a determined, growing strength, independence and maturation, which can, in turn, inform cultural change, to include and influence:

  • The Human desire for connection
  • Meaning in this World
  • Understanding dichotomies between faith and reason
  • Art and Meaning
  • Tragedy, Open-ness and Perspective of Others

In symbiosis, bold photographic art presents itself, state-wide, distinctly different, graphic, beautiful and new!  Whilst we are all grateful for the exquisite beauty of travelling visual art exhibitions, which once would not have been available to us; and the delights of Queensland Ballet’s Swan Lake touring the regions, the literary and artistic ‘newness’ is to be welcomed and celebrated!

“…wild, brave and moving – smashing and repairing hearts – intensely, vividly sad and wildly, gorgeously hopeful…” Emily Maguire – Our gift for 2018!