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Gregorian Peace at the Abbey Museum

Gregorian Chanting – take a breather this Advent

Close your eyes and be transported back to the Middle Ages where monks in hooded robes chant their divine offices in the candle lit sanctuary of a Church.  This is not a scene from centuries past, but instead the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology in Caboolture, brings the past to you in the form of Gregorian Chanting!

Traditionally, Gregorian chants were sung by choirs of in churches or by religious orders in their chapels.  Named for Pope Gregory I (Pope 590 – 604), chanting has been part of Christian religious services since the very early days of the Catholic Church. The ambiance is magically re-created in the candlelit Abbey Church with ‘Schola Cantorum’ of Brisbane each Christams. The Gregorian Christmas chanting which signifies the beginning of Advent and the onset of what some might call the ‘silly season’ instead brings a piece of peace to your heart and soul, a much sought after reprieve from our busy lives.

A Christmas Tradition

The Medieval Christmas event has been a well-loved event …

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Cuneiform text

From Clay Tablets to Digital Tablets

The Reed Stylus and Clay Tablet

From clay tablets to digital tablets.  Today texting, typing, writing, memes, … there are so  many ways in which we communicate with others;  technology has opened a veritable Pandora’s box of possibilities. Communications have become shorter and more frequent, full of the expectation of an immediate response.  The result is our modern world seems to travel at break-neck speed.  It is hard to imagine what it was like at the beginning of recorded time when humankind first put pen to paper… well, actually not paper — or pen for that matter — but a reed stylus to clay tablet.

Clay Tablet with Cuneiform

As you may be aware, one of the earliest forms of writing is called Cuneiform. Cuneiform is thought to have been first developed by the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia c 3500 – 3000 BC. Mesopotamian scribes recorded everything from daily events such as trade records and sales dockets to astronomical happenings and political events. I was surprised to learn that some tablets inscribed with cuneiform were written in several different languages …

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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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Celtic Myths Dr Dorothy Watts

Ancient Celtic Myths enthralled Friends

If you have been taking a keen interest in your Celtic ancestors and if you weren’t at the Abbey Hall on Saturday afternoon, 13 September then you missed a fascinating tale of your Celtic origins. Where did the Celtics come from –  all come from to inhabit the highlands of Scotland, Wales, parts of western Ireland, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, Brittany, the Iberian peninsula and (most surprising of all) Galatia?

Dr Dorothy Watts is an honorary professor from the University of Queensland School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, and an expert in Celtic history. Her talk, “The Ancient Celts and Their Myths” entertained her audience with her enthusiasm for the subject. She told some wonderful stories from Celtic mythology and illustrated the places where our Celtic ancestors have popped up in art, literature and music since the start of the “Celtic Revival” in the 18th Century.

Dr Watts told this engaging tale of Fionn mac Cumhaill who met a priest/poet Finnegas, near the river Boyne who was trying to catch a magic salmon. Eventfully he did and asked …

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Floor Talk Series: “The Ancient Celts and Their Myths” with Dr Dorothy Watts

From the 18th century onwards the Celtic Revival in Britain was manifest through literature, music, painting and a growing Celtic nationalism. One of  the greatest sources of information about the Ancient Celts has been the Celtic myths – several of which will be related during the talk.

Members: $5 Guests: $10

Afternoon tea will be supplied.

Speakers’ Bio:

Dr Dorothy Watts is Honorary Professor at the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics at the University of Queensland. Dr watts is an inspiring lecturer whose clarity, humour, insight and enthusiasm for her subject have earned her numerous accolades and resulted in countless students deciding to major in classics and ancient history and developing a lifelong interest in the discipline.

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Trekking with the Senior Curator along Emu Tracks

Travelling with the Abbey Museum’s senior curator is always an adventure, as a group of Museum Friends found out as we participated in a heritage tour in mid August. Appropriately called “Stone Circles and Emu Tracks” we set out from the Abbey Museum by coach under clear blue skies and headed north to Woodford and the site of Durundur, the first sheep ‘run’ in Queensland, north of the Darling Downs. Michael has a wealth of knowledge of this area and kept us all engrossed as he wove historical stories both inspiring and also heartbreaking.

From Woodford we wound our way along the Stanley River valley. As we looked out the window over a brown-grassed landscape struggling for survival at the end of drought ridden Winter, Michael painted a picture of times long past, of a densely forested valley with giant trees with trunks three to four metres in diameter, a valley rich with resources – fruits, yams, pademelons and emus. These were the traditional lands of the Dungidau, one …

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So was it all about love letters?

On Saturday 26 October, 40 members and guests of the Friends of the Abbey Museum sat down in the Abbey Hall to a delicious lunch, beautifully presented by the Museum Catering Team.  The lunch is an annual event in the FOTAM calendar and, in accordance with tradition was followed by a talk given by an invited guest speaker.

This year, our guest speaker was Dr Caillan Davenport, a lecturer in Roman History at the University of Queensland.  His topic, the Letters of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius caught the attention of all his listeners. Dr Davenport used the correspondence between the young Marcus Aurelius and his tutor Cornelius Fronto to illustrate the more intimate details of life in Rome at that time than is found in most history books.

This was no dry old history lesson about the philosophy of a Roman Emperor, but a lively discussion based on private correspondence which was not originally written for publication.  After filling in the background of the finding of the letters and of the two correspondents, Dr Davenport …

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This Roman Glass Bangle is on display at the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology

Roman Times and Kids

In order to feel that I’ve given you something worthwhile to read and to go away with,  I had to share  something that I know.

So what DO I know about Roman times and kids?


Not much at all.

In fact, what I did come up with was all the stuff I could think about that I didn’t know much about, and then there was all the things that  I really really didn’t know anything at all about Roman times and kids.

The Abbey Museum has a display case and more with Roman artefacts.  I’ve found this  pic. of a little bit of the display.


What to do?

So here’s a list of all the things I really don’t know about Roman times and kids.

 What I don’t know about Roman times and kids

I don’t know:

Anything much at all about kids in Roman times What did Roman kids eat? What …

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