The biennial Australasian Convention took place at the Beau Monde Hotel, Doncaster East, Melbourne from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th August.
All Australasian Branches were represented including six members from NZ, a total of 37 Ricardians in all.
Most gathered for registration, drinks and canapes on the Friday evening. Victoria Branch had provided a generous “goody bag”, for participants including ceramic table coasters hand made by local members. After registration the opportunity was taken to continue catching up with our Australian friends over Dinner before some NZers chose an early night after their 4.00 a.m. check in at Wellington Airport.
The programme proper started promptly on Saturday morning with a welcome from host Chairman, Ron Pidcock followed by Society Vice President, Rob Smith, reading a message from our Chairman Phil Stone.
The morning programme included:
• “John Howard, Duke of Norfolk”………….David Bliss (Vic)
• “Hertford” the history of Hereford, the town its Castle, Churches and people since the Conquest…………………Dorothea Preis (NSW)
• Shakespeare could do better”………Julia Redlich (NSW) A hilarious presentation of errors and misconceptions.
• “Richard III-Analysing the skeleton of a King”…. Prof. Jane Evans (UK) her video recounting her work on isotope examination of bones, likely diet, etc.
• “Renaissance Men? Books, Metalwork and Art in 125th Century Nuremberg………..Dr.Jenny Spinks (Melbourne Uni) A comprehensive presentation on the importance of Nuremberg as the cultural centre of the Holy Roman Empire with particular emphasis on the influence of Albert Durer the artist and print maker.
• Lunch….. a very generous repast!
The programme continued with:
• “Ipomedon” A story read by Richard, Duke of Gloucester”…… Anne Maslin (Vic). A tale of true knightly behaviour in the Arthurian tradition, said to be a favourite of Richard’s
• “Arms & Armour” A display of armour and weapons by four members of the JOAS Living History Society (Melbourne). ……. Including the importance of component parts, how they were made and how they were used.
• “Henry Stafford 2nd Duke of Buckingham”……………. Louise Carson (WA) A comprehensive presentation on the life and perfidy a traitorous individual.
• “A Voice for a King”……. Helen Portus and Denise Rawling (NSW) A detailed examination and recordings of how Richard would have spoken, likely accent, pronunciation, etc.
We all then enjoyed a break to socialise before dressing up and gathering for the traditional banquet in the evening.
The Banquet was preceded by everyone convening for mulled wine and canapes prior to taking our places for the formalities.
All Branches of the Society were recognised in the traditional “Candle Lighting” ceremony with many individuals given the honour of lighting a candle for their Branch or Country of birth.
Three delicious removes were presented, accompanied by a selection of wine, beer, soft drink etc. Toasts were offered before the evening’s highlight, the entrance of the subtlety, presented by Yvonne and Michael Iliffe. Such was the size of the cake, which was magnificently iced, that it had to be wheeled in, that after all had taken their slice, it still required a set of wheels to take it away!
As is usual at the conclusion of the Banquet many took the opportunity to continue on for a while in various gatherings over a glass or two to wind down from a most enjoyable day.
Sunday morning featured the continuation of the programme:
• “Richard III Part 3” a video presentation by Mark Porter on Richard being an apparent follower of John Wycliffe. Richard was known to possess a copy of Wycliffe’s English translation of the Bible. Mark explained that in the 14th Century The Church had sought to vigorously oppose the publication, many followers “The Lollards” being persecuted and even executed for their belief.
• Polydor Vergil’s Memoir of Richard III” …….Robert Bender (Vic), Robert has translated the memoir from the Latin and he discussed at length the less than complimentary depiction of Richard based, of course, on Tudor falsehoods .
• Business Session……… Society Vice President, Rob Smith (NZ) conducted a brief session to discuss the importance of members participating in the Ballot on the Society’s Legal Status followed by the announcement that the 2021 Convention will be hosted by the South Australia Branch in Adelaide over the weekend end 21st to 22nd August. Rob gave Branch Secretary Sue Walledge the opportunity to give details. Members expressed their delight at the prospect.,
• Medieval Courts and the Legal Profession”……………Mercia Chapman (Vic) . a detailed explanation of the justice system in the 15th century, the lawyers, judges Courts etc.
The last presentation of the Convention followed:
• “How Richard Got His Hump” ……… Suitably disguised members from Vic and NZ. presented a humorous sketch situated in the premises of “Rappaport and Sons” Armourers to the Gentry. An unlikely story of how Richard came to be deformed to meet Shakespeare’s description.
The Convention concluded with the drawing of the raffle and answers to the quiz before Host, Ron Pidcock officially brought a most enjoyable Convention to the end.
Rob Smith, on behalf of all attendees, thanked Ron and his team for hosting a truly memorable Convention. He remarked on the excellence of the venue, the catering and the service of the staff and above all, the quality of the Programme and Victorian Branch hospitality. A truly memorable Convention.
Everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch before saying their farewells before dispersing for another two years.
See you in Adelaide!