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Updated: Jan 9, 2021

Presented by:

Heather Wilson

ADFAS Pokolbin AGM

14 November, 2018

It is a pleasure to present my report for 2018.

The year has been another very successful and prosperous one for our society. Our annual membership reached 129 and we were fortunate to have many visitors join us. We have focused on offering greater financial incentive for visitors to become full members as opposed to remaining as hcasual visitors. We have also introduced a Gift Card to  the value of $30.00 (the cost of a lecture and supper) to members who have paid their annual subscriptions prior to the November 2018 Annual General Meeting.  As of today most of our 2018 members have renewed their membership for 2019.

We have been delighted to announce that Mrs Gwen O”Brien accepted our invitation to become Patron of The Young Arts for ADFAS Pokolbin. Gwen and her husband John have over many years generously supported our Young Arts Projects. We wish to acknowledge and show our appreciation and gratitude.

Our lectures have been of a high standard, receiving excellent reviews and feedback from members and guests. These evenings continue to enrich our lives in both quality and content. We enjoyed interesting and informative lectures from two Australian and six International experts in their field.

I wish to make particular reference to one delivered by Matthew Laing.  His lecture entitled “The New Black Identity” received outstanding reviews and was the standout lecture for the year. Matthew spent his childhood growing up in the beautiful Hunter Valley and is a lecturer of international renown. We are fortunate that he has agreed to return in November 2019.


Frequent social events are very much a feature of our calendar and comprise an important component of the ongoing success of our Society. In April we held our annual “New Members Cocktail Party” catered for by the committee. Judy Wearne, our gracious hostess, welcomed us into her home. The evening is a popular and well supported event.

In July we celebrated our twentieth birthday party, enjoying the movie  “Life of Brian”. This movie was inspired by the true story of local wine baron, Brian McGuigan AM and his wife Fay. It was very special to have Brian and Fay join with us, Fay being one of our Foundation members. It was written, directed and produced by local artists familiar with his outstanding commitment and dedication to the success of our wine industry. Special thanks to Robert Lusby AM, a committee member, for his involvement.   A generous supper and fine local wines were enjoyed by 120 guests celebrating this wonderful society milestone. The celebration provided an excellent opportunity for reminiscing and catching up with both old friends and new.


In September a group of fifty members and guests ventured on a field trip to Dungog to attend the inaugural Sculpture on the Farm at Fosterton. Whilst away we took the opportunity to visit many of the unique galleries and exhibition spaces that featured as part of the Dungog Festival on that same weekend. The excursion was an outstanding success.

I wish to acknowledge the contribution of John Harvey and his team from The Royal Oak Hotel in Cessnock. We are grateful to John who continues to be present in the kitchen, overseeing and directing food production and proceedings. Our ADFAS Pokolbin suppers are an important and popular feature of our lecture evenings.

We continue to hold our lecture series in the superb state of the art venue, the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre (CPAC). John Zeder is almost always on hand to support our audio visual requirements.

The committee strives to meet the changing and developing needs of our Society.


Each year we farewell old faces and welcome new wisdom and input. This year we have four extremely special and valued members leaving:

Liz George has been a significant contributor over the last few years, undertaking a number of important roles. The most significant being as Co-ordinator of Food and Beverage. Liz, you have served with style, grace, goodwill and enthusiasm. Thank you for a job well done.

Jennie Wilkinson in her role as Minutes Secretary has  continued to maintain excellent records of our committee meetings throughout the year.

Bev Holden has been on the committee for ten years. Most of this time Bev spent as Bar Mistress and Keeper of the Glasses. We will miss her presence and enthusiasm. Thank you Bev for your significant contribution.

Ray Jacomb, has served as Treasurer for the last two years.  Ray has managed to balance our books and keep us on the straight and narrow with due diligence. He has as well, spent many a lecture night behind the bar helping to quench our members’ thirsts.

We will miss you all very much.

Dear committee thank you for your support, friendship, commitment, insight, patience and achievements. It has been a great pleasure working with you.

It is always a difficult task to single out individuals. However, I wish to make special mention of the following committee members:

Judy Wearne has for many years continued to manage and oversee many roles. Thank you, Judy for your professionalism, attention to detail and invaluable support.

Heather McKendry, continues to delight with interesting and informative articles, travel logs and as honorary photographer throughout the year.

Debra McGuigan commenced her role as Coordinator of our  Young Arts with great enthusiasm and insight. Please enjoy reading her Young Arts Report.

Ian Veroni, thank you for your creativity and expertise that go into the preparation of our Audio Visual Presentations. These are shown prior to each lecture and as well used for conferences and special events. Ian has recently taken on the role of Society Web Manager. Please accept our congratulations and gratitude.

John Emerson, thank you for your outstanding contribution as webmaster. Our Society will always be indebted to you for your skills and expertise in further developing  the internet platform established by Peter Rodowicz two years earlier.


The National Association encourages Societies to become involved with research into the history of local School of Arts and Mechanics Institutes. This year  Di Nelson contributed a significant study on the School of Arts in Abermain.

Special mention and thanks to Bob Cameron AO for his outstanding selection of books which we raffle at each lecture, proceeds of which are used to assist with funding of our Young Arts Programme.


I wish to thank our members and committee for entrusting me with the role of Chairman. Thank you for your continuing generosity towards the success of our Young Arts Programme and the experiences and opportunities it continues to create for the youth within our community. Please know that I have enjoyed enormously the many and varied opportunities and challenges, the friendships made along way and the privilege of serving as society Chairman. I have endeavoured to continue in the same vein as my predecessors and leave behind a platform from which our society will continue to develop, grow and flourish.

I wish my successor and their committee all the very best for 2019 and beyond. Thank you.

Heather Wilson

Chairman ADFAS Pokolbin

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