President’s Update

Annual General Meeting 2022

Thank you to the members who attended the 2022 Annual General Meeting in person or via zoom. Thank you also for the show of support to me as President and to the other Directors who were elected.

I particularly thank Peter Crawshaw for his nomination and subsequent election to the Secretary’s position. Lynda Summers had previously filled this role, as well as that of Treasurer, which was a totally unrealistic expectation of her. Lynda, as she always does, just got on with the job. Thank you, Lynda, for your contribution to the Society during the change from the former Committee to the new national Board in both the Secretary’s and the Treasurer’s role which you retain. Your level of commitment to the Society and support to me as President has been absolutely outstanding! Thanks also to Robert Hannan and Peter Crawshaw for making the wonderful Rothwell Lodge available for the meeting.

Delay in delivery of August Australiana

Please accept the sincere apologies of the Board for the later delivery of your August issue. This was completely beyond our control, as the editor and designer in their usual efficient manner had everything ready to be forwarded to the printer when an institution declined to allow us to use images they had supplied. This necessitated alternative images being located, the layout redesigned and then off to the printer. Few members would be aware of the amount of time the editor has to spend each quarter following up and following up again, then chasing institutions in particular to gain the necessary approvals. Most institutions give approvals on an image-by-image basis and will not give blanket approvals.

While many institutions post images on their collection items on their websites, these are rarely of sufficient quality for printing. However, we are particularly grateful to those institutions (such as the NGV and SLQ) which allow non-commercial users to download images of collection items suitable for publication. These institutions benefit from the research others carry out, they make their collections accessible to a wider audience, and they create good relationships with collectors, who are more likely to support the institution.

New website

By the time you receive this issue of Australiana, our new website should be fully operational. Re-designing the website to reflect a more contemporary form, with additional capacity such as booking and paying for events and membership online has been a monumental task for the Review Committee chaired by Vice President Andy Simpson. Andy along with his team consisting of NSW Chair Robert Hannan, our Editor John Wade and member/consultant Adam Free have considered the many competing priorities of our diverse membership and delivered what your Board believe is a significantly enhanced, user-friendly site.

Our electronic survey of members revealed that most did not use the website frequently. As a result of the enhancement, members will be able to use the site for research and numerous other purposes. Others will have access to the research carried out over several decades and published in Australiana. The Board will use it as a forum to communicate with our members in a timely manner.

Thank you to the review committee for your work with the development of the site. We all appreciate the lengths you have gone to in the interests of the membership.


In September, we had the wonderful opportunity to promote our Society, magazine and activities at the Australian Art and Antique Dealers Association (AAADA) Fair in Sydney. Robert Hannan and his band of helpers manned our booth and spruiked the benefits of membership to anyone who was prepared to listen. This attracted several new members, while several lapsed members renewed their association with the Society. I was also provided the opportunity to represent and promote the Society in a well-attended 40-minute presentation.

I look forward to a report on the Victorian Branch Bendigo Tour (which I hoped to attend) and the pending NSW and Tasmanian Branch events.

All states have members’ Christmas functions planned. These present another opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and learn more about the various aspects of Australiana. Please take the opportunity to attend, even if you think you may not know anyone. You will be made feel most welcome. 

J. M. Cantle book

Despite everyone’s best intentions, the John Cantle book by Dr Mark Cabouret will probably not be delivered to members prior to the end of the year. Preparing the text and hundreds of images for publication is complex and we are being held up with the provision of critical images from institutions. Please be assured that the Board understands the constraints under which many institutions operate and we are not being critical. We do understand!

Members, please do your best to have a safe and happy festive season and remember items of Australiana and or a subscription to the magazine make wonderful gifts to the people you care about.

Yours in Australiana,

Colin S Thomas