Reports from our Courses
Semester 1, 2017
Harvesting in the Suburbs and Surrounds
Harvesting in the Suburbs and Surrounds has recently visited the community gardens at Carss Park. Below are some of the photos of the day. For more on the group’s visit, click on the following website link: https://steller.co/s/6wbfpBYXwSE
The Writing Creatively group meets on the first and third Tuesday afternoons of each month at the Hurstville Benevolent Society. We are pleased to receive another contribution from its talented members.
Who are you? Your eyes hold puzzlement,
still reaching out where voice has failed.
Eyes without sparkle of knowledge,
Who am I, Mother?
I am your baby, safe in your arms,
wrapped in a cocoon of love.
I am your pigtailed daughter,
runny nose, grazed knees,
night-time fears, fierce loves and hates.
I am your troublesome teenager, mind in a whirl,
body overwhelmed by forces of nature.
I am your ‘of-age’ child who knows it all
yet knows nothing of the pitfalls to be
encountered in this new world of freedom.
I am the mother of your grandson,
experiencing the joy once yours,
prepared now to listen, to learn,
and love the new role we share.
I am your daughter, your friend, your carer.
Your eyes are now the eyes of a child,
your searching eyes will grow dim but undismayed.
Only love will hold us closer.
I wish past errors could be erased;
I wish my endeavours deserved to be praised;
I wish I had given love without restraint;
I wish I had not spoken too often in complaint.
– Ruth Morgan
Interesting Issues Around Science: Huntington Disease
At our final session for this semester, Dr Elizabeth McCusker, a specialist in Huntington Disease at Westmead and Sydney University, spoke to our group on the topic: Huntington Disease: Can the Incurable be cured?
Dr McCusker spoke to a very interested and enthusiastic audience about the causes of the disease, its symptoms, the role of genetic testing with its pluses and minuses and the current search for a treatment – a search that Australian researchers are involved in. Her expertise was evident which was valued by those there who had personal experience of the frightening genetic disease.
We look forward to what Jill and Gordon have on offer next semester and to meeting more of their amazing friends.
Film Appreciation Group: Best Films Survey
In recent weeks we’ve discussed some highly interesting, current films; namely:
• A Cinematic Life
• Jasper Jones
• Hidden Figures
In addition to our general conversation, I’ve asked members to list their favourite films of ALL TIME!!
Given the disparity in the age and gender of participants, I think the results cover a wide cross section, which just goes to show that people have very different tastes and passions when it comes to the medium of film. So far, the only films listed more than once are Hell and High Water, The English Patient, Amadeus, Casablanca, Gone With the Wind and Chocolat. I wonder at the results if I were to include all members of the Endeavour region?
The group could be roughly divided into three age brackets;
• over eighty
• seventies and the most numerous,
Perhaps our favourite films reflect this break-down in age distribution. I’ve found the older members tend to hark back to the classic movies of the times; a period when films were not laden with expletives and gratuitous sex scenes!
Another feature in common with many responses is the number of films that were Oscar winners of their day. Perhaps an indication that judges know a thing or two about their audience when selecting the top spot.
Films both pre-war and during the war years: Gone with the Wind (x3), Rebecca, Casablanca (x2).
20th Century: To Kill a Mocking Bird, Rear Window, Dr Zhivago, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Amadeus, Annie Hall, Schindler’s List, Monty Python’s, The Holy Grail, The Godfather, Dances with Wolves, The Wicker Man (1976 version), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, West Side Story, Ryan’s Daughter, The Servant, The Lord of the Flies (1963 version), The Shawshank Redemption, Chocolat, The Dead Poets’ Society, Taxi Driver, Out of Africa, Secrets and Lies, Shine, Sound of Music, Pretty Woman, Philadelphia, Beaches, Roman Holiday,North by North West, Singing in the Rain, The African Queen, Wake in Fright, An Affaire to Remember, The Man Who Never Was.
Modern Films i.e. 21st Century: The English Patient, Doubt, Moonlight, Amour, Departures, Tanna, Son of Saul, The Danish Girl, In the Mood for Love, Far from Men, Hell or High Water, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Spirited Away, Dancer in the Dark, Cast Away, Land of Mine, Still Life, Melancholia, Brooklyn, Whiplash, The Mid- August Lunch, Little Miss Sunshine, The Intouchables, Finding Neverland, The Young Victoria, Shine, Mao’s Last Dancer, The Holiday, Me Before You.
We in the film group would welcome participation from the members of other U3A Endeavour groups. Just forward your favourites to email@example.com.
In February, the Gymea Discovering Art group visited the S H Ervin Gallery to view Margaret Olley: Painter, Peer, Mentor, Muse, an exhibition celebrating the influence of Margaret Olley and her connection with many other artists, some of whose works were also on display. Thereafter a light lunch at The Travelodge on York Street provided an opportunity for class members to discuss their response to the artworks exhibited.
Final Session on Orson Welles
On 6 April we covered Welles’ life in Europe and his return to the US. We screened Touch of Evil, one of the best classic era film noirs.
In our last session on 20 April we will examine the final decades of Welles’ life. We will mention many of his movie roles and his final films, including the recently publicised The Other Side of the Wind. We will screen Chimes at Midnight with John Gielgud, Jeanne Moreau, Margaret Rutherford and Fernando Rey. Initially critical opinion was mixed, but The New York Times said “it may be the greatest Shakespearean film ever made, bar none.”
If you are interested in attending, phone Robert Englund at 8251 7540 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interesting Issues Around Science
Arthur White of the Frog and Tadpole Study Group of NSW has always been fascinated by frogs and tadpoles. He and his colleagues at FATS feel passionate about them and the organisation has been studying and protecting them for 25 years as well as educating others about what makes our frogs special. On March 9, Endeavour members were privileged to hear his fascinating talk Australian Frogs are Different and to get up close and personal with some of his frogs that he brought to share with us at morning tea time.
We were amazed to learn just how different our frogs are. Did you know that we have burrowing frogs? Aboriginal people did and the Aborigines in Sturt’s exploring party used them for water. Did you also know we have frogs that lay yolk-filled eggs among the roots of shrubs where root hairs provide any necessary water? And what about the gastric brooding frog that gives birth through its mouth then raises its young in its stomach, sending the young outside to feed before swallowing them again? Pity this last frog is extinct. We can only hope that current Australian research is successful at bringing them back to life.
The Writing Creatively group meets on the first and third Tuesday afternoons of each month at the Hurstville Benevolent Society. It is a friendly, supportive group and, as you can see from the poem below, its members write well.
THE LAST PERSON
When Aunt Mary died, her coffers were bare.
The relatives squabbled over little to share.
“There’s naught to be done,” the solicitor explained.
“The will is quite valid, just a little remained.”
Dan Rogers spoke up – he was head of the clan.
With mischief done, they were in need of a plan.
Arguments ceased as he gathered them near.
In low tones, they plotted a fresh course to steer.
Aunt Beth was a whiz at computer stuff.
She checked bank accounts with a bit of bluff.
Cousin May undertook to search the home
(now silent and musty) with a fine-tooth comb.
Uncle Bert said, “No.” He was too old to care
about inheritance. He’d money to spare.
The trail was cold when it came to charity;
too vast a field for any clarity.
Great nephew Jimmy, suspecting stealth,
dug up the garden to find Mary’s wealth.
No magic tin came into sight
though he dug deep from morning to night.
Crotchety Damien wasn’t left out
despite the return of his painful gout.
The last person needed to help solve the mystery
was Dan Rogers’ son – a man with history.
Perhaps not a hindrance, the rellies agreed.
Joe’s past experience could give them a lead.
He’d kept a straight face at the time of the hearing.
He’d lent them a hand when it came to house clearing.
Beneath that façade lay a faint secret smile.
They’d not understood the extent of his guile.
Aunt Mary’s diamonds newly rehoused
was Joe’s neatest job – No suspicion aroused.
Ruth Morgan – 2017
Harvesting in the Suburbs and Surrounds
The second outing of the new Harvesting in the Suburbs and Surrounds was to the Botanic Gardens for the Tomato Festival. One highlight was meeting Costa who gave us enthusiastic advice about making trellises for growing our tomatoes. In one of the photos, you can see us tasting 16 different varieties of Diggers Heirloom tomatoes. Each was numbered and at the end we had to vote for our favourite. In another, you can see us sharing a moment with Costa.
Endeavour Happy Wanderers go to Bella Vista
What does a bushwalking group do on a heatwave Friday? Well the Endeavour Happy Wanderers went by air conditioned train and bus to Bella Vista Farm, an amazing step back in time, out past Parramatta. Nineteen enthusiastic souls had a great day despite 40 degree temperatures! Thanks to Joan Collins for planning the day.
Endeavour Happy Wanderers go to Castlecrag
On 24 February, the Happy Wanderers explored the Castlecrag area. It is great to see members of other regions joining the group.
Film Appreciation and Discussion
It’s 2017 and the second semester of Film Appreciation and Discussion is in full swing at the Cronulla School of Arts. A much bigger crowd this time around, with every seat occupied. Dare I say, “as it should be”? The modus operandi of the Cronulla film group is in viewing two democratically selected films during our own time. As someone who has tried to organise a combined viewing in something as unpredictable as a cinema schedule, this method is far preferable. Our first films were Jackie and Lion. These films were ably presented by Paula and Ross, followed by a discussion in which individual members gave their own response to each film. The films for next month are Hidden Figures and Jasper Jones.
The last ten minutes of the session were spent discussing the candidates for the upcoming Academy Awards. Our collective views on ‘likely winners’ versus ‘probable winners’ was quite enlightening. Who needs experts?
Issues around Science – Learning about Quantum Mechanics
Why do you get sunburned during the day but not when you sit around a campfire at night? Well, according to Endeavour U3A member and physicist Gordon McLelland, it’s all to do with the sort of light you are being exposed to. With this simple example, Gordon explained the historical debate over the nature of light then led his class into the pretty demanding area of quantum mechanics.
This lecture was the first of a series of three lectures on scientific issues of interest. Jill and Gordon McLelland have held these lectures in their own home for the past few years. As well as drawing on their own scientific expertise, they have called on numerous friends to share their knowledge with us. The first lecture ever was on food, which is why we also continue to enjoy a magnificent morning tea each meeting.
Ross Bell and Bronwyn Haddock
Harvesting in the Suburbs
A very enthusiastic group visited their first garden, Miranda Community Gardens, on Wednesday, February 2. To share in their visit, go to the Youtube link at: https://youtu.be/tizVLg6x3lU. Caroline Davis has uploaded a great video of the day.
Reading and Discussing Shakespeare
At our Reading and Discussing Shakespeare meeting on 21 February we completed reading Coriolanus.
The play is very political with the clashes between Rome’s patrician and plebeian classes, and between the warring Romans and Volscians. The murder of Coriolanus brings to an end the life of a brave and proud warrior, a member of Rome’s patrician class. Unfortunately, for a man who wanted to be Consul, he had no people skills. The relationship between Coriolanus and his mother, a central feature of the play, has intrigued playgoers for centuries.
When we meet on 7 March, the BBC made-for-TV production of Coriolanus will be screened. Given its length we will begin at 1.30 p.m. If you are interested in attending, phone Robert Englund at 8251 7540 or email him at email@example.com
Lunch a Lot with Style
Lunch a Lot with Style members had a really great time recently at St. George Sailing Club! In their own words, they ‘had a bucket full of laughs and even great food at this venue’!
Semester 2, 2016
Lunch a Lot with Style
There could be no better way to enjoy good conversation and get to know new friends than over a leisurely lunch.
The monthly get-together of the Lunch a Lot With Style U3A group is an excellent addition to our Endeavour courses and activities.
Last month’s meet-up at the Como Hotel was exceptional. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were seated outside undercover with a magnificent view of the river and the Bougainvillea trees in flower. We all had a wonderful day and cannot wait for the next meeting scheduled for the first Thursday in December.
My husband, Brian and I (Robin) have enjoyed all 3 of our restaurant meet-ups and would like to thank Anna Winter for organising and leading this new group.
Discovering Art at Hazelhurst
On the 1st of November 2016, the U3A Discovering Art group had a guided tour at Hazelhurst Gallery of a most wonderful Indigenous art exhibition titled Nganampa Kililpil: Our Stars. The works speak of the law, landscape and ceremony of the people from the Anangu, Pitjantijatjara and Yankunyjatjara (A.P.Y.) lands. This area covers the vast remote desert country at the north-west corner of South Australia.
The exhibition, which is on until 11th December, is a joyful, rich and vibrant show of beautiful paintings, with interesting sculpture and pottery. Some of the paintings have been lent by private and public collectors but there are two huge works, one the collective work of the men and one of the women, each painting giving important information to the younger generation. In addition, the men have presented a collection of spears with throwers while the women’s extra contribution is a most whimsical and detailed set of woven animals, birds, fruits and berries clustered on and around two strong trees. It seems these items represent the abundance of life-sustaining food found in an area which, to the uneducated eye, appears quite barren. In addition, there are a set of black and white photographs of some of the artists on the columns as you approach the main entrance to Hazelhurst. These dynamic portrait heads are beautiful, happy, strong images that are worth seeing by themselves.
Learning about the Aboriginal Art of central Australia.
Mummies of the Silk Road – Interesting Issues Around Science
Recently, the Interesting Issues Around Science group heard a fascinating talk from Gordon McLelland about the mummies of the Silk Road. You probably did not know that, in the far west of China, in the province of Xinjiang, a considerable number of almost perfectly preserved mummies have been found over the last hundred years. The oldest of the mummies have been dated to 1800 BC. They have been preserved by the desert climate and the salty desert sands. The mummies are European in appearance and there is evidence that they spoke a language related to the languages of Europe. How they came to be there and how they relate to the other peoples of Xinjiang are at present unsolved problems.
Visit to the Norman Lindsay Gallery
One recent beautiful spring day the ladies from the U3A Discovering Art class ‘headed for the hills’. We travelled by public transport from Gymea to Springwood and then on a local bus to the Norman Lindsay Gallery at Faulconbridge. Thanks to our gold OPAL cards – $2.50 all up!
On arrival we were guided through Lindsay’s painting studio and the etching studio by an informative and charming volunteer. These studios are not open to the public unless on a guided tour. The etching studio houses a fine display of etchings and a wonderful collection of drawings and watercolours from Norman Lindsay’s children’s classic, The Magic Pudding.
The house was the marital home of Norman and Rose Lindsay for many years and now displays a large collection of his works on the walls of the various rooms. The garden, which Norman Lindsay established complete with nubile ladies (sculpture), was a real show piece in all its spring finery. See the lovely ladies below under the wisteria!
A lovely lunch and a good coffee in the café situated in the garden fortified us for the trek back to home base. The gift shop also provided an opportunity to take home a special memento of Norman Lindsay’s work. I shall treasure my sketch of four of the characters from The Magic Pudding.
Too soon we had to catch the one and only bus back to Springwood and back onto the train/s for the return journey home. What an excellent day out!
If you would like to join us for our further adventures, we meet at 10am on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month at Gymea Community Hall. On Tuesday, 1st November, we are going on a guided tour of the latest exhibition at Hazelhurst and then back to the hall for morning tea and a presentation by one of our members on Cedric Emanuel.
Please contact Marie – 9524 0279 or Margaret – 9523 1614.
Editor: I regret I could not publish this article before the Hazelhurst tour. As you can see, however, the Discovering Art group has an exciting program for its members.
Sydney Striders, our new walking group
The new Endeavour Region U3A Wednesday walking group, Sydney Striders, is up and walking.
Eight of our new members took part in the inaugural walk from Sans Souci to Brighton-le-Sands in early September. Meeting at Kogarah Railway Station, they caught a bus to Sans Souci where they followed the waterfront. They had lunch on Brighton Beach then returned to Rockdale by bus for a coffee at the end of a very pleasant easy walk. Alas, no one thought to take any photos on this first walk.
The group’s second walk (approx. 8 km) took place on Wednesday 21 September. This time our seven members walked from Meadowbank to Huntley’s Point, lunching in the beautiful Banjo Paterson Park. They also took the camera (see below). (report Joan Collins)
For more information contact:
Walks Coordinator: Penny Howarth (Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 0411180050) or Secretary: Rosanne Burkhart (Email at email@example.com or phone at: 0413 128 967)
Interesting Issues Around Science
A recent speaker at Interesting Issues Around Science was Dr Karrie Rose, a veterinary scientist who is manager of the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health, a program of the Taronga Conservation Society. Among her other work is her research into emerging diseases in Australian wildlife which is what she spoke about to our group.
Dr Rose spoke about the world-leading program at Taronga and its cutting edge work and looked at a range of the challenges wildlife in Australia faces. She talked in some detail about the loss of habitat of bats which has meant bat diseases like the Hendra virus and lyssavirus, a close relative of rabies, have become a problem. She explained why current stressing of bat populations by moving them on is exacerbating the spread of such diseases. She also gave us glimpses into some of her research projects on Christmas Island.
If there was any take home message for us in the audience it was to dispose of our kitty litter properly as it too is adding to disease problems for our wildlife as it can spread cat diseases more widely.
Art Group Hard at Work
The photo below shows our U3A Gymea Drawing group hard at work and having fun with pastels. We haven’t used pastels for a while, so we were really engrossed in the process.
The Geology of Lloyd Rees’s South Coast (Interesting Issues around Science)
How many people realise that Australian painter Lloyd Rees lived for many years at Werri Beach in the Gerringong-Kiama area? On August 4, those of us in the Interesting Issues around Science group were privileged to have geologist Peter Clarke show us how the landscape of our south coast influenced Rees. What surprised us most was that Rees was not content to sketch the scenes as they were before him but reinterpreted the landscape to emphasise the underlying rock formations and to capture the drama of a scene even if it meant denuding it of trees or moving an outcrop.
Also fascinating was the way that Peter placed Rees’s work within the geological history of the area, tracing its changing form from the earliest times to the present.
Peter Rabbit pays a visit
Beverley Theodore’s Art History group had a very special day recently when it celebrated Beatrix Potter’s birthday. The speaker of the day, Jan Adamson, brought along a number of visitors from the wild woods and beautiful embroidered pictures of a few of Beatrix Potter’s friends who couldn’t make it to the party. She also brought decorations and cup cakes which the class members thoroughly enjoyed.
The class also enjoyed watching the movie of Potter’s life and learning all about the famous children’s writer and artist.
Next meeting the group is going to hear a talk on the surreal artist, Magritte. Talk about extremes.
The ‘Happy Little Vegemite’ Discussion Group
We have managed to talk our way through a large variety of topics this last term from: ‘Home Gadgets’ where Liz delighted us all by bringing in some samples of her ancient treasures, to our ‘Experiences with Technology’ and ‘What makes us Angry’. It appears we are a rather angry lot but thankfully manage to keep it in check. Another interesting topic was: ‘Are we moving towards a cashless society?’. We certainly couldn’t agree on this one.
Laughter is always a part of our discussions and is considered as necessary as the coffee/tea and bickies.
If you would like to join us, our details are as follows:
U3A Discussion Group
Meeting Place: South Hurstville Library
1 Allen St. South Hurstville
Time & Day: Every Monday except School Holidays from 10-12 noon.
Leader: Betty Buchanan
Phone: 9580 1366
Semester 1, 2016
Come and share travel stories with the Armchair Travellers
From our creative writers
THE MANOR HOUSE.
The cedar guards the emerald lawn
The moat is dry, its banks are shorn.
A bell resounds and flooding out
Happy girls to play and shout.
Gowned and veiled the nuns keep watch
Any fun they quickly scotch.
All must aim their best to be,
Within the bounds of rivalry.
Class resumes and peace descends
Education never ends.
And all around the suburb grows
While ancient stones enjoy repose.
Long ago they stood supreme,
Bound together as a team
Keeping ‘upper’ folk from harm
Enjoying a life of grace and charm.
While ‘lower’ types could toil and strain,
To ensure the system would remain.
The ovens roared and brought to life
Culinary treats for Lord and wife.
Hunting parties to fill the pot,
Lavish dining that none forgot.
But far away a greater threat
Arises to make all forget.
No longer ‘class’ but ‘nation’ matters,
As, one by one, flags fall in tatters.
Hunted now is man not beast.
Ovens enjoy a different feast.
Servants join up and die in trenches,
Lord and peasant share church benches.
And through it all the Manor House stands,
Same old stone but different hands.
A museum displays abandoned bags,
Fearful letters and lost name-tags.
Yellowing photos that were not claimed.
Useless limbs for long-since maimed.
Hebrew writing that tells the story
Of man’s eternal quest for glory.
Dear Manor House what will you see
When life and limb have gone from me?
Ann O’Connor. April 2016.
More Interesting Issues Around Science
The final talk in the Interesting Issues Around Science was a fascinating talk about black holes by Gordon McLelland. He clearly explained what black holes were and introduced us to the current scientific debate about them. We all felt that we had a much better understanding of the topic after his clear, well-illustrated explanations.
In Semester 2, there are three more great talks in this series:
1: Geological influences in the landscape art of Lloyd Rees
2: Wildlife Health and Emerging Diseases in Australia
3: Mummies of the Silk Road
Don’t forget if you have attended the talks this semester that you will need to enrol again once the new course book comes out!
Gymea Drawing Group
Easter trip to Victorian High Country
In March 2016, U3A Endeavour Happy Wanderers enjoyed walks around Beechworth and Mt Buffalo in the Victorian High Country – around 40km in all. Below are some photos from the trip. I think that you will agree that the scenery was breathtaking even though some of those who went said the walking was a times demanding.
Looking for a Walking Group?
We have heard from many members that they are keen to belong to one of our walking groups. Because of the popularity of these groups, however, they have been unable to join up.
What we need are enthusiastic walkers who are looking for a group to come forward to set up new groups. If you are interested, contact Ted Watson (Ph: 9527 3689 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Interesting Issues Around Science
A group of twenty or so lucky U3A members and I feel as if we’ve won the lottery of life by being selected as part of the audience for these fabulous talks. Jill and Gordon McLelland have generously provided their house as the venue and have been able to co-opt many of their friends into delivering talks on the wider theme of science. From the potential of nuclear fusion as an energy source to techniques used for highlighting inscriptions at Hadrian’s wall; even philosophy had a look in! I’ve attended every talk and have learned much in the process. As one enthusiastic attendee commented,“there’s a skill in presenting highly complex material
in a way that the ordinary person can understand”.
A tip for anyone motivated to attend one of these lectures in the future; get in early! I send off my application on the day my course booklet arrives, but I know my luck won’t last forever.
To hear more about these lectures, read the article below. On Thursday, March 31, Gordon McClelland will give the final talk of the course – on black holes.
Learning about Science
Jill and Gordon McClelland have hosted so far two fascinating and informative sessions in their Interesting Issues in Science course.
The first session explored the topic of Energy Systems and Sustainability. Our speaker was Barry Green who completed a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Sydney and then moved overseas where he spent 40 years researching nuclear fusion and working on its development. His final position before retirement was in Belgium where he co-ordinated the fusion R&D of the 12 most recent member states of the EU.
Greg Jackson and Pam Forbes were our speakers for the second session. They are working with the Quarantine Station Project at Sydney’s North Head near Manly. They have been busy documenting the rock carvings in the area using cutting edge technology – a computational photographic method that captures the carving from a range of directions to produce a final image that allows researchers a far clearer image of the content of the carvings.
We were lucky enough to see images of many of these carvings and learn about the history of the site and many of the personal stories of the migrants who stayed at the Quarantine Station.
Semester 2, 2015
Harvesting in the Suburbs
The Harvesting in the Suburbs group meets on the 1st Saturday afternoon of each month in Gymea, at the home of leader Robyn Daniel. At this meeting, a different member will volunteer to hold the 3rd Saturday meeting at their home. Whether the veggie patch is big or small, we always learn from each other and share ideas about what to plant and when. Joan Collins’ recent birthday was celebrated in appropriate fashion with a candle on a slice of cucumber!
Photobooks for Absolute Beginners
They were the keenest bunch you could imagine! We worked through the basics of making a photobook and then returned to share difficulties and successes after trying a couple of pages. It was very much a case of us all learning new things from each other.
The photos below show the work of our stars! The first shows Liz’s amazing photograph of a ball of water on a hand up on the screen, and the second, the beautiful book Ross brought to show us of his Galapagos holiday photos….truly motivating!
I’m hoping to put on another course in Term 2 of 2016.
Creative Writers’ Group: aka the Scribblers ( Hurstville Benevolent Society)
2015 has been an eventful year for this tightly knit group of recreational writers. We’ve persevered despite the lengthy absence of our leader Yvonne Tracy, welcomed a couple of new members and were given the honour of entertaining the troops during the annual Endeavour Region Luncheon. All these things have served as a bonding experience for the assortment of characters making up the group.
We do little actual writing during the two hours of our session at Hurstville,performing most of our writing duties at home as a form of homework. No formal instruction takes place though there’s a great deal of incidental learning. Each fortnight a topic is suggested and we attempt to flesh-out the story in an entertaining way. This can take the form of a straight narrative, radio play, poem, diary entry, stream of consciousness or whatever format comes to mind. The sky’s the limit! Some clever writers even manage to insert a twist! Our skills are honed by actually performing the task or more importantly listening to the efforts of other members. ‘To share and to support’ is our credo.
At session’s end we usually retire to the tea room and enjoy a tea or coffee and the inevitable biscuits or cake supplied by some thoughtful individual; not always the same person, mind! Invariably sounds of raucous laughter can be heard ringing through the building. Have no fear, we are the instigators and we’re enjoying the moment.
Interesting Issues Around Science
“What is Philosophy” by Cliff Hooker from Newcastle was the last in this series of three talks on Interesting Issues Around Science.The previous two topics, “Food for Thought” and “Archaeology & Hadrians Wall Dig”, provided a nice variety of diverse presentations. The morning tea breaks, as with all U3A courses, were great opportunities to chat with people of similar interests.
Next year there will be a further series on three Thursdays: 25th February, 10th March and 31st March. Due to the limit of 20, enrolment for this course will start afresh after receipt of the 2016 Course Book.
Oatley Art Group’s International Art Day
The Oatley Art Group celebrated the end of 2015 by holding an International Art and Food Day. Visitors were welcome to join in the fun and sketch or paint anything that represented their place of birth.The group also greatly enjoyed the delicious food from their homeland that members brought along. You can see some of the artwork below (For a clearer view, click in the middle of the collage. To return to the page, use the back arrow.)
Semester 1, 2015
Visit to Lord Howe Island
Twelve members of the U3A Happy Wanderers Friday walking group are still full of excitement about the fabulous week they spent on Lord Howe Island in November last year. It is hard to find something they didn’t do. As they said in a recent email, they went bushwalking, swimming, fish-feeding, cruising, viewing tropical fish in a glass bottom boat, snorkelling, bike-riding, bird watching, talking and eating…. and eating…. and eating!
As well, the group went to the local school’s presentation night (they wear no shoes to school!), watched historic documentaries about the island, read and relaxed, spent time in the museum, walked to the Catalina crash site, toured the recycling plant and watched sunsets. One fascinating thing they saw were lenticular clouds over Mt Gower and Mt Lidgbird. (Google these clouds – you’ll be amazed at what you see!)
A French Outing (Le quatorze juillet)
In July, our French group joined with members of the intermediate French speakers’ group to celebrate Bastille Day. July 14th is celebrated as the French National Day (La Fête Nationale), which commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789 and the unity of French people in 1790.
We dressed proudly in the French colours of red, white and blue and met at the Little Snail restaurant, near Darling Harbour. We all enjoyed a lovely meal (including les escargots – snails, for some) as we sang and attempted to converse in French.
It was a fun and lively afternoon.
Un jour heureux!
Drawing at Gymea
Our Drawing course at Gymea has been running for a number of years. I started attending in 2013 and feel I have learned a lot and am improving still as there‘s always more to learn!
In 2015 we have adopted a new approach where each of our members takes a turn to present a weekly lesson. This is working very well, covering a wide range of subjects. So far this year, topics have included portraiture, animals & fish, still life, perspective, abstract, landscapes & scenes, mythological creatures and more, as well as a range of techniques.
In our course we use a lot of different mediums such as pen & ink, charcoal, pastels, pencil, coloured pencils and water colours, but not oils or acrylics.
We have a lot of fun helping each other. Here’s a photo showing some of the work we’ve done.
Welcome to Art History, Cronulla School of Arts
We meet every second and fourth Tuesday of the month to delve into the lives of artists through the ages. We explore their artistic achievements and details that shaped their fascinating lives. Our members volunteer to give presentations and use slide shows and DVDs and sometimes even anecdotes from their own travels to make our mornings most interesting and enjoyable. We cover the world of art from the masters to contemporary artists and love to make new friends over a cup of tea or coffee.
Even if you don’t feel you have an artistic bone in your body, visit our group and discover the often unknown lives of these artists and the contributions they’ve made to our culture and history. When next you travel you can look at the architecture of buildings you pass, and the paintings and sculptures in galleries and museums you visit and think, ‘I know about that’. It will really enhance your travels!
Music for Pleasure
The leadership of our music appreciation group is shared between Joan Bolton (1st Tuesday) and Bob Hallahan (3rd Tuesday). Our sessions are held in the Library at Waterbrook Resort and attendance averages 15 members each meeting. Seating is available for up to 20 members.
The leaders make the programme selections but are open to suggestions from members for selections for future programmes. The range of composers we cover is quite wide and notes are provided to outline details of the items and the performers. Here is a summary of works we have listened to over the past few months:
• 3/2/15: Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Marche Slav. Elgar – Violin Sonata in E minor, Introduction and Allegro op.47
• 17/2/15: Music for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra by Handel, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Verdi, Mahler and Walton.
• 3/3/15: Tchaikovsky – Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Barber – Summer Music, Vaughan Williams – Five variants of Dives and Lazarus, Sculthorpe – various pieces for orchestra.
• 17/3/15: Mahler – Symphony No. 4 (complete) Schumann – Piano Concerto in A minor, Brahms Rhapsody in G minor for piano.
• 5/5/15: Dvorak – Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra in B minor, Schubert – Quartettsatz in C minor, Schneider – From Winter Morning Walks, Marcello Oboe Concerto.
• 19/5/15: Brahms – Violin Concerto (Yehudi Menuhin with BBC Symph. Orchestra), Bizet – Suite from Carmen (London Brass) Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor.
• 2/6/15: Glinka Overture Russlan and Ludmilla, Schubert: Trout Quintet, Impromptu in A flat major, Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March No.2 in A minor, Song “Where Corals Lie” from Sea Pictures op.37, Tchaikovsky – 1812 Overture, Grieg – Holberg Suite. – (Academy of St. Martin in the Fields)
Music lovers, please feel welcome to join us. Afternoon tea is kindly provided by the kitchen staff at Waterbrook.
Pursuit of Poetry
On a humid February mid-afternoon we read from Australian Traditional Verse and ride out with Adam Lindsay Gordon ‘merry in the glowing morn’ then sing along with the strapping young dying stockman: ‘Wrap me up with my stockwhip and saddle’.
We journey abroad to Elizabeth Bishop and Maya Angelou with her caged bird singing of freedom. Ritchard Wilbur, now aged 94 and present Poet Laureate of the USA Congress, feels ‘one’s world somehow can get out of hand’ and brings us into line with his direct, witty, ironic and biting poems on politics and humankind.
Now we are back in the Australian classroom with a 1920 text, The Harp Of Youth, to meet Bess, the doomed landlord’s black-eyed daughter, and her highwayman, his pistol butts and rapier hilts all ‘a-twinkle’; the Assyrian and his cohorts descending on their enemies ‘like a wolf on the fold’ and of course Casablanca – the boy who stood on the burning deck ‘Whence all but he had fled.’ Yes, it truly happened in 1798 during the Battle of the Nile.
We read Houseman’s Shropshire poems then listen to them set to music by George Butterworth: study C15th and C16th paintings: The Amolfini Wedding and Peter Bruegel the Elder’s Fall of Icarus then read and discuss Rosemary Dobson’s ‘light filled and lucid’ poetical responses.
April commemorations bring us Canadian John McCrae’s In Flanders Field with a small collection of haunting, poignant poems from our young, mostly uninitiated soldiers caught up in the desperate jungle warfare against the Japanese in WW2.
The Gunner To The Moon (abridged)
O hide your eyes – draw close your fine spun veil;
Across your face the sullen bomber veers
And flits through stars………………
Pregnant with doom it comes – the sirens wail.
I scan its course – the shrieking heavens hurl
My little kiss of death – afar the slow,
Sweet flush of dawn seeps up……………
Forgive me, fading moon, like you I whirl
In glory’s blaze and know not where I go.
(By the poet only known as VX87177.)
We have been introduced to some German lyrical poems with their English translations and, with Schubert’s’ Erlkönig (or Elfking) in mind, sense the malevolent terror and force behind Goethe’s Der Erlkönig.
And so we look forward to poems written after Rainer Maria Rilke as well as others by Robert Service and Dorothea Mackellar to complete our first semester in 2015.
Just to introduce myself – my name is Pat Skinner and I started the Writing Creatively class in February 2011.
After the class had been running for a year or so I had to, very willingly, undertake minding my baby grand-daughter when my daughter resumed work. Yvonne Tracey took over as leader, something she enjoyed doing and did well for a number of years. Unfortunately, recently, Yvonne has been ‘doing it tough’ as she had two major operations in April and is still in ICU in St. George Hospital – brave and courageous lady. Whilst she has been indisposed, I have been acting as Deputy Leader. The group now consists of ten members – nine ladies from Sutherland and St. George and one male who travels from Watsons Bay.
Each week a theme is chosen by one of the group and a story/poem is written on this theme. If one of the group chooses something different, that is fine. It is fascinating how one theme can fire the imagination and go down different paths, resulting in a productive and interesting two hours of listening to all the works, accompanied by much discussion and usually laughter. The class is very enthusiastic and often runs late – no time for afternoon tea, so we usually have that when the class is finished. There is a great deal of imagination and talent in this class and we get some very good outcomes.
Below are two poems that I wrote for one of our recent sessions.
A seed sprouting from the earth
A baby crying at birth
The first winter snowflake
A fresh journey to undertake – a beginning.
An early shower of Spring rains
New grass thrusting up on the plains
Baby chicks emerging from their shell
Another sunrise casting its spell – a beginning.
A colourful butterfly emerging, unfolding its wings
A tiny baby bird, the first notes it sings
A newborn foal struggling to find its feet
The soft light of a new day to greet – a beginning.
There’s a stranger in the house
There’s a stranger in the house – he visits us at night
But, until now, has managed to keep out of sight.
He comes down our chimney and scratches in the grate.
If we want to catch him, we will need to stay up late.
We suspect he lives in the tree above our roof.
The broken branches that we see are our only proof.
So far he has caused no damage, only a little mess
But we will have to find a way to make him visit less.
Wintertime is coming when we will use the fire
Then the chimney will be a hotspot for a possum to retire.
We will have to catch him on his next journey down,
Take him and his family to a park nearby in town.
They will be happier there amongst the many trees
With freedom to climb whichever one they please.
It is so much better for them to be away from man
Who does not always understand what is best in nature’s plan.
Pat Skinner (Writing Creatively)
The First And Third Tuesday Discussion Group
The Hurstville Discussion Group meets in the Benevolent Society on the first and third Tuesday of the month and is composed of a lively bunch of individuals. The group consists of fourteen members, (eight men and six women), all of whom possess strong opinions. Luckily we’re led by the capable presence of Dorothy Clarke who maintains law and order in the face of, at times, heated exchanges. Maybe heated is a misnomer, but definitely not tepid and always interesting and engaging.
The topic selected this week followed the Four Corners program reporting that Australian Universities engaged in the practice ‘soft marking’ submissions by full fee paying foreign students. Comments ranged from the dangers inherent in commodifying education, the value placed on education by cultures other than our own, abuses of the student status as a means of entry and the possible ramifications of graduates with insufficient English skills in a workplace environment. There were many other variations on these general themes but it would take several pages to list them all. As usual, we finished the morning with better understandings than we had at the beginning of the day.