Member’s contributions

This space is for members to share ideas, comments, suggestions and experiences.

Please forward these to the Webmaster; Heather Jones,


President Barrie Brennan and Secretary John Sharkey attended the Thursday Session of the Conference, with Secretary John attending the AGM on Friday 9th..

Over100 Members from NSW, the ACT,  and a Member of Tamar Valley Tasmania U3A, enjoyed the very interesting Program of Guest Speakers and Entertainment.

The Key Note Speaker, the Hon John Watkins CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia NSW addressed the subject “ Dementia Prevention – is it possible?”. He highlighted some of the major ageing and dementia challenges facing the community. Very interesting – especially the challenges in the not do distant future with increasing numbers of aged persons.

Former President of the Network ( 2010 – 2012 ) Ronald Browne, and Ainslie Lamb, Network Secretary 2008 – 2013, elected Vice President 2013, spoke on “U3A Faces the Future – The Charter and the Challenge”. They reviewed the development of U3A in Australia over the past 30 years,  where it now has 250 autonomous groups and about 85000 members, and the challenges of the future.

An entertaining address was given in the afternoon by John Scott, Professor of Criminology at the University of New England, outlining some of the major findings in terms of crime causation and prevention.

U3A works very closely with Government particularly in matters of the Ageing. The Hon John Ajaka, MLC, Minister for Disability Services ( since 2014) , Minister for the Ageing ( since 2014)

addressed the Conference on the closing day, speaking on the importance of organisations such as U3A and the role they play in the Community at large.

Also, COTA ( Council on the Ageing ) in a presentation spoke on the role of COTA in the community.

Four workshops were held as part of the Conference, discussing such items as “Training Course Leaders, Tutors and Coordinators” to use of the U3A Network NSW Resource Library.

Tamworth U3A received support for the motions at the AGM that the U3A Network Boundaries and more use of communication facilities such as Video Conferencing be investigated by the Network Committee.

The next U3A NSW Network Conference will be hosted by U3A Southern Highlands 29th April -1st May 2015

John Sharkey\

Secretary Tamworth U3A Inc.

Hi Fellow U3A Members

Last year we had a series on Australian Governors General. We of course also had lots of discussions about ‘current national politics’. The question was raised about an article in the Sydney Morning Herald that the Governor General delivered a speech at the Opening of the Federal Parliament in 2013 that appeared to have been written by the those in the Government. We thought the Governor General would write such speeches. So I wrote and asked.

Following is the reply.

It is interesting to see how the formalities of Government operate.

Barrie Brennan

Dear Mr Brennan
I refer to your letter to the Governor-General. Her Excellency has asked me to reply
to you on her behalf and I apologise for the delay in doing so.
According to long-standing Westminster convention, the speech given by the
Governor-General at every opening of Parliament is drafted by the Government and
outlines the policy priorities and commitments made by the Government. It refers to
the proposed actions of the Government and not of the Parliament and for that
reason the words “my government” are used throughout the speech.
I hope this information is helpful.
Yours sincerely

Mark Fraser LVO OAM
Deputy Official Secretary to the Governor-General


 U3A Network Annual Conference

Goulburn April 4th and 5th, 2013

I attended the Conference as our Delegate. Goulburn was celebrating its 150 years as Australia’s first inland city. There are many historic sites and interesting buildings that illustrate the city’s history.

The local Goulburn Mulwaree U3A organised the Conference.

There was a welcome on the Wednesday evening for the delegates, not quite as many as Goulburn’s years as a city.

The formal part of the Conference was held in a spacious room at the Goulburn Soldiers Club. Welcomes to Country and by the Mayor were followed by two addresses, both on features of Australian history by Dr Richard Reid on ‘Two Kellys’ (one of which was Ned) and former state Minister Rod Cavalier on the remarkable Sargood dynasty.

Then there were the first of three workshops on topics related to age but also to potential activities for U3A groups to explore. Lunch was followed by a talk by Danielle White from Alzheimers  on ‘Your brain matters’ and two further workshops. The day program then had a presentation from the Armidale U3A, as they will host the Conference next year in May ..  with perhaps a larger Tamworth representation?

A Conference Dinner followed .. but the day was not consumed by eating: there was much discussion and chatter.

Friday was devoted to the AGM.  Allan Haggarty from Griffith was returned as President. Shirley Cook from Armidale joins the Committee and our Regional Contact person remains Cecily Butcher.

A discussion of some issues followed the AGM, eg how useful were the ‘gifts’ purchased by the Network, and how may we publicise ourselves better? With such a large audience, discussion was limited and a longer time and perhaps smaller groups may facilitate a more productive time.

Goulburn Mulwaree U3A members were congratulated on their work for the Conference and many set off on visits to sites around Goulburn, while I boarded my train back to Sydney.

On the trip back to Sydney I counted the number of people I met for the first time or from earlier events. There were 36 such persons from a wide range of U3A groups.

I left the Conference being aware of Goulburn’s terrific effort in preparing and planning the Conference. I also felt pleased to be a member of the U3A and was reminded of the great variety and tremendous resource U3A provides to communities large and small, in the capital city and large and small towns throughout the State. I think we provide a very good example of the goals that U3A seeks to achieve.

Barrie Brennan

Seniors’ Week Award to our U3A

Secretary Maree received word last week that we should attend the Official Opening of Seniors’ Week in Tamworth at the Town Hall on Monday afternoon, March 18th, to receive an award.

So a small group of members assembled as requested.

There were 18 individual awards presented by the Deputy Mayor and 4 for organisations.

We did not receive a second certificate for winning the organisations’ section. That was awarded to the News on wheels group. Nevertheless we were very pleased to be recognised in this way.

I was very pleased to be able to accept the Certificate on behalf of all our Members!

It was also good to see the support for the U3A at the Ceremony. It was rather disappointing however that there was only a small crowd for the event and for the excellent musical entertainment provided.

Our thanks to the Tamworth Regional Council for promoting Seniors’ Week and for choosing our U3A as worthy of the recognition we received.

Barrie Brennan



Tamworth Regional U3A

Student Reflections on Course:

“An Introduction to the History of Western Philosophy”

As a recent retiree my interest in continuing with self education was raised when I read an information sheet on the courses provided by U3A.

I have always had an interest in philosophy but had never had the time to take up an orderly reading about the study of the subject, or indeed to know how to find a suitable and organised introduction to it.

U3A gave me the opportunity and I am very pleased that I enrolled in the course “An Introduction to the History of Western Philosophy”

The course background and format was provided by Griffith University as a service to U3A participants. This meant that as well as face to face discussions on the topics (most important) the on line service from Griffith University gave immediate access to all references and options for further reading. So… if you found a favourite philosopher or especially interesting subject all the information that you needed was a  click away!

The weekly meetings to discuss the various topics always unearthed different opinions and naturally provided more “food for thought” as people expressed their points of view, and what was important (or not) and a reasoned  explanation for arriving at that opinion.

My thanks to the U3A committee and their presenters for proving this service, and to Wendy Smith in particular for managing and presenting this most absorbing subject.

Thought for the Day:

“Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker as well?”  – Kurt Vonnegut.

Ian Regan


What a gas of a day. I have never seen so many happy smiling faces. Everyone seemed pleased to be back and renew aquaintances. I have been on a buzz ever since. Thanks to my fellow committee members (who shoulder all of the work) – I am looking forward to a fabulous 2012.
Joy Brown

Just wanted to note my thanks for the Christmas lunch held at Calala Inn on the 14th Dec.

The venue was well suited, as our party had a separate room, which gave us privacy, whilst allowing us to mingle amongst ourselves.

The lunch was far superior to previous Christmas menu’s for this event and very enjoyable. Special dietary requests were also catered for if notified in advance.

Well done and thank you to all of the committee.

Anne Woods.

From Joyce Webster;

While doodling on the internet I came across 3 versions of “An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales: with remarks on the dispositions, customs, manners, etc, of the native inhabitants of that country, to which are added, some particulars of New Zealand.  Compiled, by permission, from the MSS of Lieutenant-Governor King, by David Collins, Esquire, late Judge Advocate and Secretary to the Colony.”

The one I used was but Sydney Uni also have it (or parts of it) and it is also on Project Gutenberg.

It’s very long but I did pick out an example of conservation in the early days, i.e. March 1788,  “The run of water that supplied the settlement was observed to be only a drain from a swamp at the head of it; to protect it, therefore, as much as possible from the sun, an order was given out, forbidding the cutting down of any trees within fifty feet of the run, than which there had not yet been a finer found in any one of the coves of the harbour.”

The other bit I noticed was about the arrival of the Lady Juliana as follows:-
“The Lady Juliana was, by strong westerly winds and bad weather, prevented from reaching the cove until the 6th, when, the weather moderating, she was towed up to the settlement. The convicts on board her appeared to have been well treated during their long passage, and preparations for landing them were immediately made; but, in the distressed situation of the colony, it was not a little mortifying to find on board the first ship that arrived, a cargo so unnecessary and unprofitable as two hundred and twenty-two females, instead of a cargo of provisions; the supply of provisions on board her was so inconsiderable as to permit only an addition of one pound and a half of flour being made to the weekly ration. Had the Guardian arrived, perhaps we should never again have been in want.
“On the 9th, being the day appointed for returning thanks to Almighty God for his Majesty’s happy restoration to health, the attendance on divine service was very full. A sermon on the occasion was preached by the Rev. Mr. Johnson, who took his text from the book of Proverbs, ‘By me kings reign.’ The officers were afterwards entertained at the governor’s, when an address on the occasion of the meeting was resolved to be sent to his Majesty.

“When the women were landed on the 11th, many of them appeared to be loaded with the infirmities incident to old age, and to be very improper subjects for any of the purposes of an infant colony. Instead of being capable of labour, they seemed to require attendance themselves, and were never likely to be any other than a burden to the settlement, which must sensibly feel the hardship of having to support by the labour of those who could toll, and who at the best were but few, a description of people utterly incapable of using any exertion toward their own maintenance.”

It seems that the powers-that-be were not quite as enthusiastic about the arrival of “The floating brothel” as maybe the other ranks and convicts were.  Perhaps it took their minds off the shortage of food, etc.


Joyce Webster.


First Aid Course, Term 4, 2009

Tutor: Max Cross

From John Holland

Five of us did the First Aid Course, led by Max Cross. It was held at the Tamworth City Bowling Club over five weeks at two hours per week. Max imparted numerous key points from his many years experience as an ambulance officer. Early on he gave us this wonderful piece of advice: if we see a serious accident with much blood and gore, just sit down, put our head between our knees and breathe deeply. That way, Max assured us, we should be OK.

Seriously, we learnt much about First Aid. This was highlighted by one of our students, who during the course, happened to be the first person to render first aid to a seriously injured motor bike rider. He was able to apply some recently acquired techniques to the injured person.

Some of the aspects we covered in the course were: symptoms of heart attack, CPR, treating wounds and burns, use of bandages and dressings and what we should carry in an everyday first aid kit, and much else.

The last day, two practicing ambulance officers came along and demonstrated to us the recently revised CPR techniques. We also had an opportunity to practice on their dummy. All in all, it was a very worthwhile course.


Full marks must go to Terri Mower who took us on an interesting journey through the History of the English Language.

From the time when the poor old Celts were invaded by all and sundry to how Anglicans were so called, to our own Aboriginal languages and so to our modern day speak. Then we touched on Chaucer, which had us in fits, and so onto the history of printing and Dictionaries.

Terri held our interest through it all and often satire came into our discussions to lighten things up a bit and I for one enjoyed every session.

This is but a brief outline on this course and a look into Terri’s great knowledge. If you are inquisitive like me, may I suggest you enroll in the next class on this subject.

Thank you Terri.

Joan Dunne.