Her Breath Smelt of Mint and Myrrh – Floor Talk


Her Breath Smelt of Mint and Myrrh

How do the modern standards of beauty compare to those of the Middle Ages? Does your daily beauty routine measure up? Join the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology for a myth-busting and sweet-smelling Floor Talk that explores the perfumes, scented cosmetics, mouthwashes and hygiene products of the Middle Ages.

The Abbey Museum’s own Education Manager, Mr Damien Fegan not only busts the myth that the people of the Middle Ages smelt terrible and all had rotten teeth, but presents the argument that the beauty products of the Middle Ages aren’t actually that far removed from those of modern times! In fact: did you know that there is not a single beauty product on the market today that did not have a Middle Ages equivalent?

We’ve had minty breath for hundreds of years!

DATE:   Saturday 5th August

TIME:   2.00pm Start

PLACE:   Abbey Museum Hall at the Abbey Museum of …

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To Hell and Back – Floor Talk


To hell and back again in the Anatolian Bronze Age

Get ready to travel back in time! Imagine that the year is 1200BC; the Late Bronze Age civilisations of the Mediterranean world are collapsing! What is causing this collapse? An invasion from Europe? Famine? Climate Catastrophes? Civil Wars? A Zombie Outbreak!? All these and more (yes, even the zombies!) have all been cited as responsible for this extreme cultural uproar!

Join the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology and guest speaker Mr. Andrew Fairbairn, and explore the rise and fall of cultures from the civilisational collapse that heralded the end of the Early Bronze Age world including that of the Hittite Empire, based in the highlands of central Turkey.

Guest Lecturer, Mr Andrew Fairbairn, is not only an esteemed archaeobotanist, but is an Associate Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow in Archaeology at The University of Queensland. Mr Fairbairn is a co-director of the Boncuklu excavation project in Turkey and is currently researching the development …

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Tell All – Tell Halaf

What do Agatha Christie, Lawrence of Arabia, Max von Oppenheim and donors to the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology have in common? The packed audience at Vera Windau-Heath’s talk on Saturday 18th March heard the answers to these and many other fascinating facts about archaeological digs in Syria.

Archaeology in Syria

Vera and her husband Ken were part of teams undertaking digs at Tell Halaf in Syria. Vera’s passion for the country and the local inhabitants (they came to befriend) was obvious from the tenor of her description of the numerous cultural issues they confronted. Tell Halaf was a major settlement in the fertile valley of the Khabur River from the Halafian period 6000- 5000 BC through Summerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Aramean and Persian periods. Max von Oppenheim first undertook excavation at the site during 1911 – 1913 where settlements dating back to the Chalcolithic period were revealed. Vera explained how von Oppenheim had to transport all his tools and equipment from Aleppo to the dig site at Tell Halaf by camel – a journey that took 20 days!

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An Impressive Achievement

The Abbey Church is a very special place, not least because its beautiful stained glass windows. The windows are a large and significant collection dating from the 14th to the 20th century. Some of the most famous are those consisting of fragments originally from Winchester Cathedral’s Lady Chapel.

One of the problems associated with items of such a venerable age is the need for conservation and repair. In 2004 leading glass conservators Gerry Cummins and Jill Stehn of Eumundi examined the stained glass collection and compiled an inventory of the conservation requirements and the cost involved. This amounted to a substantial sum and Museum staff set about finding means of raising the necessary funds.

Fundraising for stained glass conservation

Conservation of individual windows was undertaken as funds become available; through donations and various fundraising efforts. The Abbey Museum Friends undertook the task of raising the funds required specifically for the Winchester Windows. From 2009 to 2012 we held “Walk for Winchester” where participants were sponsored to complete a ‘pilgrimage’ from Sylvan Beach on Bribie Island to the …

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Tell Halaf and the Cradle Of Civilization Floor Talk + Special Artefact Display

Tell Halaf and the Cradle Of Civilization

It was while travelling through Syria trying to find the best route for the proposed Baghdad railways that a bizarre tale of stone statues in the form of human-animal hybrids came to the ears of Max von Oppenheim, attaché to the German embassy in Cairo and scholar in his own right. Oppenheim, a keen amateur archaeologist was intrigued by these rumours and started to investigate the site which would become famous as Tell Halaf.

In this talk, retired archaeologist, Vera Windau Heath, will take us on a journey back to the cradle of civilization and the remarkable story of the people who built this intriguing city. Vera will also share her personal experience of visiting and excavating this historic site and the secrets it continues to reveal to archaeologists.

Join us for afternoon tea following the talk as well!

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Vlad Dracula, the Infamous Impaler – Floor Talk


Vlad Dracula, the Infamous Impaler

There is so much myth, mystery and controversy surrounding the life of Vlad Dracula, also known as Vlad Tepes. Was he a Hero or a Villain?

Join the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology with guest lecturer, esteemed author and amateur historian, Jodie Lane and delve into the turbulent life of Vlad Dracula. Decide for yourself who Vlad Dracula really was as the man, the myths and the legends of the Infamous Impaler are unraveled and explored! Ms Lane will not only be sharing some of the history that inspired her latest novel: “Transylvanian Knight” but will explore some of the “Vlad” character, as seen through the eyes of the time-travelling heroine.

Ms Jodie Lane is a Brisbane based author who has combined her love of travel and adventure with delightful stories about the past. She has studied a variety of modern history topics at the University of Queensland, written numerous novellas and will have her books available, on the 25th of February, for purchase, signed by Jodie herself.

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Pilgrim Badge Abbey Museum

Medieval Pilgrim Badge Donation Excitement

The Abbey Museum recently received a generous donation of a 14th century Pilgrim Badge of St Thomas Becket. A pilgrim badge, like the suit of armour also acquired this year, has been on the Museum’s wish list for a number of years as they represent an aspect of medieval life not previously represented in the collection.

Pilgrim Badge – Tourist Souvenir of the Middle Ages?

Pilgrimages were an important part of life in medieval England, and individuals were expected to make at least one major journey in their lifetime. Market stalls often lined the entrances to shrines, and here pilgrims could buy a variety of souvenirs such as badges and small vessels known as ampulae. This badge is in the form of St Thomas Becket and is one of a well-known series of badges that are miniature copies of the 14th century, life-sized, mitre-bust reliquary of St Thomas in Canterbury Cathedral. The badge would have been worn on the hat or outer clothing and would have been used as an amulet. The supposed miracle-working powers of the reliquaries that …

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Abbey Trivia Night

Calling All Trivia Tragics!


 You are invited to come and unleash your knowledge and help support the Abbey Museum’s conservation of our fabulous stained glass window at the Abbey Trivia Night!

Come and Join the Abbey Museum on Saturday 12th November, for our Exciting Trivia Night! Grab a team of friends and compete to see who knows the most about everything!

Not only are you in for a fun night, but you will be helping the Abbey Museum conserve our stained glass window!

Our delightful 16th century German stained glass masterpiece known as the Donor King, sits over the door of the Abbey Museum. It is in dire need of conservation! The Abbey Museum is hoping to raise $6750 by March 2017 in order to help keep this beautiful window preserved in all its glory. All profits from the Trivia Night will go toward the conservation efforts of this glorious piece!

Entry to the Trivia Night includes tickets to our lucky door prizes and a light supper with great raffle …

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Floor Talk: Who were the Knights Templar?

Join the Abbey Museum Friends for their Annual Luncheon and our exciting presentation:

Who were the Knights Templar?


The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology is holding their annual Luncheon and Floor Talk on the 22nd of October! This Floor Talk presentation is on: Who were the Knights Templar?

The Knights Templar are surrounded by mystery and myth to this very day. The Templars were warriors – the first of Christendom’s Holy Warriors, sworn to vows and the protection of both the Holy Land and the pilgrims who visited the sacred sites. They were always the first on the battlefield and the last to leave it-  a fearsome troupe, who were feared most by the Saracens!

Who were the Knights Templar? will be presented by Dr. Terrence Fitzsimmons – a Lecturer in leadership and human resource and change management with the University of Queensland Business School. Dr. Fitzsimmons is the president of the Queensland Living History …

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Antique, Vintage or Just Plain Old?

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

Indeed this statement is so true! Have you ever heard the stories of the families that had a special item at home that they were absolutely SURE would make them an overnight millionaire because it belonged to great-grandmother Betty who said it was a special antique family heirloom?

Well great-grandmother Betty had told grandmother Mary, who told her daughter Amy, who then told her niece Natalie it was special and had been in the family for generations. Natalie then took it to be appraised and discovered (to her horror) that it was indeed in their family for generations, but was worth absolutely nothing apart from the knowledge it was special.

So how do you know that your old family antiques are actually antiques and not just… old?

What is an Antique?

Today everything seems to be called an antique!

Generally speaking, an antique is any work of art, piece …

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