A total of seventy five members and guests of both the NSW Dickens Society and the Australian Brontë Association gathered together to celebrate a Victorian Christmas lunch in Cellos Grand Dining Room at the Castlereagh Boutique Hotel, Sydney. Opened in 1927 and now one of the last grand dining rooms in Sydney, Cellos is a wonderful example of period architecture, restored in exact detail to its original 1920′s Art Deco style.
NSWDS President Louise Owens and ABA President Christopher Cooper welcomed us all; Christopher reading out a message from the ABA Patron Professor Christine Alexander who, for the first time, missed our Christmas gathering.
Our Vice President Walter Mason presented readings from Wuthering Heights and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, both on a Christmas theme. Then, following the main course, we were entertained by Soprana Michaella Edelstein and Pianist Melissa Field with some Opera Arias and Victorian Parlour Songs.
Once again our pop-up The Old Curiosity Shop had many items for sale and our usual raffle offered a total of twenty one raffle prizes including various books about Dickens and the Brontës, two baskets full of gourmet items, various DVDs and CDs of Christmas Carols plus a voucher for one night’s accommodation including buffet breakfast for two adults at the Pullman Hyde Park Hotel where our International Conference Boz in Oz: Charles Dickens’ Colonial Connections is to be held.
New friendships were made and old friendships renewed while everyone enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate the Christmas season together. We left in a festive mood, all looking forward to the New Year and meeting together once again around Dickens’ statue in Centennial Parklands to celebrate Dickens’ 206th birthday and for the official launch of the 2018 conference.