Reports from our Courses

Reports from our Courses

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Semester 2, 2017

Discovering Art: Visit to Bundanon

The Art Discovery group, out and about again on Oct 17, uncovered a rare gem – Bundanon, the historic homestead gifted to the nation by artist, Arthur Boyd. A great day – value plus $2.50 South Coast train trip, local bus transfer from Bomaderry to the property and an informative tour of the artist’s home and studio! On display were paintings, sculptures and ceramics crafted not only by Arthur Boyd but by members of his very talented family.
A picnic style lunch and our wanderings through the beautiful gardens and grounds allowed us to experience the iconic landscape that inspired Boyd’s work.
Carol Gabbott

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Harvesting in the Suburbs and Surrounds:The Royal Rehab Productive Garden Putney

On Wednesday 18th October The Harvesters visited The Productive Garden at the Royal Rehab Putney. We were not sure what to expect as this was our first visit to a hospital garden. What an inspirational visit this turned out to be.
Under the care of Royal Rehab Occupational Therapist and now Horticulturalist, Claire (photo) and with the support of staff and volunteers the Garden has become a focus of daily activity and a rewarding experience for the patients as part of their outdoor and physical activity.
The Garden is also involved in an on-going research project on the benefit of Gardening as Therapy.
A particular project is the concept of Soup Day. From the start of the day, patients are involved with harvesting the crop, washing and preparing the vegetables in the kitchen and then producing the freshest most satisfying soup for everyone to share. The soup is a thick nourishing mix of all the freshly harvested crop from the Garden. Soup Day is now a much anticipated day as the time for harvesting the vegetable crops approaches.(photo) The Garden is used by many clinicians with their patients. Occupational, Recreation and Speech therapists along with Psychologists, Physiotherapists and Dieticians who regularly participate in various Garden programs.
The Garden was awarded first place as the Best Community Garden for 2016 at the annual Spring Garden Awards promoted by Ryde City Council.
Anne Sadler

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Beginners French – Speaking French

Voulez-vous parler francais? We are beginners and we do want to speak French.
Luckily we all have a good sense of humour, including the teacher Joan, as we struggle with our verbs, tenses and particularly our rrrr’s. But we are improving every week and sometimes now I’m thinking French, such as in C’est si bon!
Sue MacDonald

Photobook course

Jill McLelland has held a number of successful two-session photobook courses using the website Snapfish. In the first session, she introduces you to Snapfish and, using one of her own books as a basis, takes you through the process of making the photobook. In the second session, she invites former students along who can do a show and tell of their photobooks and other photo objects they have made. It was my privilege to attend the latest course after many years of looking in amazement at others’ books and wishing I knew how to go about it.
Now my husband is the proud owner of his first book of photos while I have put up fridge magnets of my grandson’s wedding. I am waiting for my first book to arrive in the mail.
There are a number of reasons why Jill’s course is so successful. She is a clear and patient teacher who happily shares her own books with her class to illustrate the variety of things you can do. She has also chosen in Snapfish a website that is ideal for beginners with its clear instructions and good prices. We also found it really helpful to hear two former students talk of their experiences creating their books. Lynda Gill had just finished her first book, a photobook in memory of her beloved dog. Her talk was especially helpful when I began my first book. Ross Duker, a 2015 student, showed us what we could achieve as we built our skills with his book on his Patagonia trip. As he used Photobook Australia, we could compare different approaches to photobooks depending on our purpose.
Bronwyn Haddock

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Film Appreciation Group: Two film reviews

Our October session included presentations on films Battle of the Sexes and Victoria and Abdul. Both films elicited mixed opinions from our members, which is all well and good. Heaven forbid a degree of orthodoxy or groupthink with respect to our response to any film!

Battle of the Sexes – Film Review

Set during a time of great social unrest in the early years of the Feminist Revolution, the plot of Battle of the Sexes revolves around 1972-73 real-life events in elite women’s tennis. The issue which sparked the event was pay inequality between champion male and female players. However the stand taken by the women shook the conservative tennis world and challenged male domination in all walks of life.
When US women’s Champ, Billy Jean King, (Emma Stone) led a campaign for better pay for professional women’s tennis players, US tennis promoter Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman) scorned and dismissed their claims. When these women were banned by the US Tennis Association, King and other female players formed their own association, successfully gaining sponsorship and support from business and tennis fans.
Nonetheless the breakaway women’s association was still regarded as something of a joke by the mainstream tennis administration and elsewhere. Enter Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) 59 years old, former tennis champion, a gambler, tennis hustler, jokester and braggart. With the support of the male tennis establishment, Riggs challenged champion women players to a game, claiming that he, a man and therefore naturally stronger and possessing superior abilities, would beat even the best female tennis players. King initially refused to be drawn but Riggs played world women’s champ Margaret Court (Jessica McNamee) and humiliated her. King (aged 29) then took up his challenge and was eventually victorious. These games drew huge television audiences.
The film takes its name from television transmissions of the actual tennis matches between Bobby Riggs and Margaret Court and Riggs and Billy Jean King, games billed as the Battle of the Sexes.
It is a likeable and entertaining film which covers more personal issues in the context of 1970s social milieu – King’s marital infidelity and her lesbian relationship and Riggs’ gambling addiction and troubled marriage.While there are still issues today, it was stunning to be reminded how sexism was so deeply entrenched in the era that insulting, demeaning, inaccurate remarks made publicly about women’s skills and abilities went unchallenged.
My response to the film was overall a positive one. I remember the events well and it gave me the chance to appreciate the advances made in women’s rights. One negative was the actors’ feeble tennis—stand-ins or actual TV footage of the games would have been preferable. Another was the lack of subtlety on marriage equality issues- to make the point a sledgehammer wasn’t necessary.
Cynic that I am, the film caused me to question whether historically, there might have been an agreement between Riggs and King to make the game TV entertainment rather than a serious tennis match – as long as Billy Jean won!
Score: 3 1/2 out of 5.
Zoe Thomas

Victoria and Abdul – Film Review

Stars: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Tim Pigott-Smith, Eddie Izzard, Adell Akatar.
Director: Stephen Frears.
Writer: Lee Hall
This is the second movie in 20 years in which Judi Dench plays Queen Victoria. And this is the second movie in 20 years in which Queen Victoria played by Judi Dench has a life-enhancing relationship with a man not of her station.
Based on real events – ‘mostly’! Queen Victoria’s first encounter with Abdul Karim, an Indian functionary sent to Britain to present her with a ceremonial coin, are in comedic scenes that lampoon the pomp of her court. The material is broad and funny. The Queen is struck by Abdul’s bearing and handsomeness and soon enough is receiving him in private audiences and having him tutor her in Urdu.
He becomes her Munchi (teacher) and his presence in her life invigorates her. Much to the displeasure of her court, including her son and heir ‘Bertie’ (Edward VII) played with beard and fiercely indignant eyebrows by Eddie Izzard.
You wouldn’t envy the actor who had to play Abdul to her Victoria but Bollywood up-and-comer Ali Fazal gamely accepts the challenge and channels a buoyant charisma that makes it easy to believe that dispirited Victoria could fall for him so hard, platonically speaking.
Dame Judi however, is every bit as good as I’ve heard, perhaps even better. You never catch her playing Victoria for laughs, only as a woman trapped in a failing body. What the screenplay leaves blank, she fills in with her searching eyes, her mixture of curiosity with a lifetime of entitlement.
Paula Cramsie
Score: 3 1/2 out of 5.

Discovering Art: The Archibald exhibition

In September, the Discovering Art group enjoyed their annual guided tour of the exhibition of the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize finalists’ artworks at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. As often happens, the winner of the Archibald prize evoked a variety of responses. Thereafter the group made its way to Elizabeth Street to view the artistic floral arrangements of the David Jones Annual Spring Flower Show where the store’s windows and salons were filled with glorious cascades of roses, orchids and pink blossom.
Jean Singleton-Turner

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Art Appreciation: Talk on Picasso

Janet Fleming gave a wonderful talk to our Art Appreciation group about Picasso recently. She is wearing a shirt which has on it a reproduction of Picasso’s Guernica, painted in 1937.

Jane Fleming talks about PIcasso

Harvesting in the Suburbs and Surrounds

The Harvesters are thoroughly enjoying our vegie garden outings to suburbs where some of us have never been before including Riverwood, Manly Vale and Balgowlah. Mostly we visit community gardens but we have been lucky enough to visit the Wayside Chapel’s rooftop garden and, this week, the historic Kitchen Garden of Vaucluse House where heirloom varieties of vegetables are grown.

It has now become clear to the Harvesters that there are a number of components necessary for a successful organic vegetable garden: a set of guidelines; an enterprising and skilful co-ordinator; an enthusiastic community which benefits from the activity; a very sunny location where garden beds can be built, a protective fence, water tanks to collect rainfall for the watering of plants, compost bins and worm farms, a garden shed to store tools such as shovels, forks, rakes, hoses, fertilisers, potting mix, etc.

Some gardens have only shared plots; others have only individual ‘rented’ plots (Riverwood) while others have both shared and rented plots.

Our October outing (by train and bus returning by ferry) is to the Productive Garden at the Royal Rehab Hospital.
Joan Collins

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Harvesting in the Suburbs and Surrounds: the Kitchen Garden – Vaucluse House

The Harvesters September outing (via train and bus) was to the interesting Kitchen Garden of Vaucluse House (built in 1803). The house was occupied by William Charles Wentworth from 1827. After many years of neglect, 1,580 square metres of the Kitchen Garden was reconstructed in 1999 using the 1840s principles of kitchen garden design, the same water-saving techniques (swales) and even the same kind of vegetables and fruit trees from the nineteenth century.
The kitchen staff accessed the Garden through a wall doorway, down a short pathway and then across the small footbridge to the fenced-in Garden. The fence is fascinating – parts are espaliered fruit trees while other parts are Prickly Pear Cactus (photo) that kept out the kangaroos!
It was a surprise to find the Garden was not fully planted out for Summer harvesting. Garden beds should be rested from time to time but perhaps not so many rested at the same time!
Bamboo name-stakes (photo) identified some of the heirloom vegies, for example, globe artichoke, climbing beans, broccoli (going to seed), collyflower (or as we spell it cauliflower), celtuce lettuce – a Chinese lettuce, pineapples, spinnage (aka spinach) and the now back in vogue kale – 3 different types!
After a picnic lunch on the lawn in front of the house, with its wisteria just starting to bloom along the verandah, some of us walked up to Chapel Street to see Wentworth’s amazing Mausoleum.
Joan Collins

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Shire Sketchers

We are the ShireSketchers. We meet in the Sutherland Library on Thursdays from 10.00 am to 12.00 pm and also locally, outdoors on weekends.
We are pretty excited about our sketching progress.

ShireSketchers at work

Film Appreciation and Discussion: Special Lecture

On August 17th our group was visited by industry expert Peter Williams who gave a wonderful talk on technical developments in the film industry and how these applied to the Australian market. This fabulous talk was accompanied by a PowerPoint Presentation and liberal access to Show and Tell items.
The course of the talk ranged from the early days of film making and projection techniques to our current digital technologies and beyond! Projected technologies of the future defy the imagination! Does the thought of a hologram cinematic experience seem likely? Believe it or not, they’re working on this right now!
Projection rooms of the past included the use of three projectors; two used for alternating reels of film (10 minutes each) plus a spare, just in case! Today’s projection technology entails a tiny cartridge with the capacity to service many screens at the flick of a switch. As you’d imagine, staff numbers have been pared to the bone.
Our group would like to thank Peter publicly for giving us the benefit of his time and experience in the industry. As film lovers, we enjoyed it immensely.
Anita Spinks

Interesting Issues Around Science: Joseph Banks and his Australian Legacy

This morning, as I strolled around my local suburb, I found myself unusually attentive to the many banksias lining the streets. Only yesterday, August 10, Rhonda Daniels from the Australian Plant Society Sutherland Group had come to speak to us about the Joseph Banks Native Plants Reserve in Kareela. It was a fascinating morning.
Rhonda first told us about Sir Joseph Banks who travelled with James Cook to Australia and collected so many of our plants to take back to England. His name has been given to the banksia and some of our suburbs so it was a surprise to learn that the greater part of his career was in fact spent as President of the Royal Society in England and as a patron of many other naturalists, although he maintained an active interest in Australia.
We then learned about the banksia we could expect to find in our area and followed up on the talk by finding some of these in Jill McLelland’s garden at morning tea. That is how I learned that it is easiest to identify different banksia by their leaves, hence Banksia serrata with its serrated leaf and Banksia blechnifolia, named for the fern-like foliage and just coming into bloom in Jill’s garden.
After morning tea, Rhonda told us about the Joseph Banks Native Plants Reserve where her group volunteers. I hope you have already been there but it is certainly worth a return visit as Council has updated the picnic area and the upper paths are accessible to all, including those with mobility problems. She also told us of other free gardens around Sydney that are worth seeing, such as Mt Annan, Sylvan Grove at Picnic Point, the Stony Range Botanic Garden at Dee Why and the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden at St Ives.  I can see many weekends ahead enjoying our local flora.
Bronwyn Haddock

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Discovering Art: A visit to the O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism Exhibition

In August, the Discovering Art group enjoyed a guided tour at the Art Gallery of New South Wales of the O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism exhibition. The work on display featured the iconic art of Georgia O’Keeffe, one of the most significant American painters of the twentieth century, alongside modernist masterpieces by the celebrated and pioneering Australian artists Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith, for each of whom the landscape and a sense of place were a tremendous source of inspiration, their paintings representing distinct modernist visions expressing the identity and culture of their respective nations.

Discovering Art members viewing exhibition

Iconic Preston painting

Interesting Issues Around Science: Ticks: Tall Tales and True

Stephen Doggett’s talk to our group on July 20, Ticks: Tall Tales and True, fascinated, enlightened and entertained us. Stephen first showed us a series of tick photos and we were asked to admire the beauty of the small creature that so many of us dread meeting on our bushwalks. (Incidentally, as well as being an internationally acclaimed Medical Entomologist, Stephen is a prized insect photographer with close to 2,000 published images!) Stephen then enlightened us about their biology, looking at the larval, nymph and adult stages, their habits and interactions with human beings. Along the way, he dispelled many long-held myths. We learned ticks do not drop down on us from trees, but crawl up our legs from their home in the surrounding vegetation.
We were instructed on the current thoughts on how attached ticks should be removed.The new way is to FREEZE the adult ticks with an ether spray like Wart Off , and then leave them to fall off. For larval ticks, you use a cream containing permethrin. Tweezers and thread loops and like methods are OUT, as they cause the tick contents to be discharged into the person’s blood, with the risk of them developing the recently described Mammalian Meat Allergy. MMA can cause life-threatening anaphylaxis. Just imagine the difficulties of ensuring nothing you subsequently ate had any traces of meat and meat products such as gelatine!
Some parts of society have claimed that the paralysis tick, Ixodes holocyclus, can transmit the agent of Lyme disease. However, despite intensive research efforts (many of which Stephen has been part of), there is not one piece of credible evidence that this condition exists in Australia. Stephen did acknowledge, however, that there are other tick diseases that people may be suffering from. He discussed some of these diseases  and also talked about tick paralysis and the range of allergic reactions Australian ticks can produce in humans. Now we want him back to talk on his other life-long passion, Bed Bugs

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Armchair Travellers: an invitation to travel with us

Our Armchair Travellers have been travelling extensively and we have enjoyed sharing their experiences. Below are some of the slides we have seen. I am sure that you will enjoy them too. Our travels have taken us to places such as Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and China, the Silk Road, Central Australia on the Ghan and New Zealand. We have also visited Southern Spain, the Alhambra, Granada, Arizona’s Monument Valley and Bryce Canyon in Utah. We have cruised on the Mediterranean and visited Monte Carlo and Venice.
If you love to travel, either in body or mind, come along and join us this semester and visit Mount Everest, Croatia, Slovenia and Malta.

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Interesting Issues Around Science: MRI: the People, the Science and the Beautiful

It was clear to see from the crowd of people in Jill and Gordon McLelland’s lounge room that there is a lively interest among our members about MRI or at least about the use of MRI for medical purposes. Michael Braun, a research physicist in the field of Magnetic Resonance Imaging from its early days in Australia, satisfied our curiosity. He began his talk by showing us a number of slides illustrating what MRI could show of the human body, even showing the functioning of the heart. He then traced its history and explained to us how it worked. Towards the end of his presentation, he played the sounds of the machine at work and there was a nod around the room at the strange noises while at least one wife whispered:’ Is that really what it is like?’ Michael even illustrated precession to us with a bicycle wheel at our morning tea break.

Semester 1, 2017

Gymea Drawing Group

This year so far has been very fulfilling for our members with plenty of new and exciting art techniques to try and practise such as the white on black paper we’re doing here in these photos. We’ve seen some new faces in our group as a few people have moved on and we welcomed others to take their place. In art, there is always something to learn and to share.

Gymea Drawing Group at Work

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:


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Writing Creatively

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,
without remembrance.
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.

Dr Elizabeth McCusker talks to us about Huntington Disease

Film Appreciation Group: Best Films Survey

In recent weeks we’ve discussed some highly interesting, current films; namely:
•    A Cinematic Life
•    Loving
•    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,
•    sixties.
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
Anita Spinks

Discovering Art

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.

Margaret Olley interior at the S H Ervin Gallery Exhibition
Gymea Discovering Art Group at exhibition

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

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.

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Writing Creatively

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.


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.

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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.
Jill McLelland.

A Day at Bella Vista

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.

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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.

Discussing the latest films

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.

Tackling 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

Thirty keen folk having a morning tea break – the biggest attendance we’ve had.

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: Caroline Davis has uploaded a great video of the day.

Eager gardeners



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

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’!

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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.
Robin Upcroft

Endeavour's Lunch a Lot with Style enjoy a meal at Como Pub
Endeavour’s Lunch a Lot with Style enjoy a meal at Como Pub (Photo: Jan Gay)


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.

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.

Ruins in Xinjiang (Photo: R & W Kemp)
Ruins in Xinjiang (Photo: R & W Kemp)


Visit to the Norman Lindsay Gallery

A trip to the Norman Lindsay Gallery and gardens
A trip to the Norman Lindsay Gallery and gardens

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: or phone: 0411180050) or Secretary: Rosanne Burkhart (Email at or phone at: 0413 128 967)

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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.

Learning about emerging diseases in Australian wildlife from expert Karrie Rose
Learning about emerging diseases in Australian wildlife from expert Karrie Rose

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.
Sue MacDonald

Gymea Art Class works with pastels
Gymea Art Class works with pastels

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.

Scenes of Werri Beach and Berry Mountain that Lloyd Rees loved to paint. (click on image to enlarge)
Scenes of Werri Beach and Berry Mountain that Lloyd Rees loved to paint. (click on image to enlarge)

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.

Jan Adamson brings some old friends to a Beatrix Potter birthday party
Jan Adamson brings some old friends to a Beatrix Potter birthday party

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
Sydney NSW
Time & Day: Every Monday except School Holidays from 10-12 noon.
Leader: Betty Buchanan
Phone: 9580 1366

Robin Upcroft

Happy Little Vegemites in a talking mood
Happy Little Vegemites in a talking mood
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Semester 1, 2016

Come and share travel stories with the Armchair Travellers


Parlez-vous français?

Microsoft Word - FRENCH

From our creative writers


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.

Gordon McLelland explains the nature of black holes.msg

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

Further examples from the Expo
Further examples from the Expo

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.

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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

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.

Anita Spinks

Morning tea for the Science group
Morning tea for the Science group

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.

Barry Green teaches us about energy issues
Barry Green teaches us about energy issues

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.

Two experts at work
Two experts at work

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.
Jill McLelland

Photobook Course 1 Web Photobook Course 2 Web

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.
Anita Spinks

Writers' Group

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.

Jill McLelland

Interesting Issues Science 1 Web Interesting Issues Science 2 Web


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.)

Art Group

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!)

1. A Happy Group of Wanderers
A Happy Group of Wanderers
3. Snorkelling


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!

French group on Bastille Day 2

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.

Drawing at Gymea
Drawing at Gymea

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.

Pat Green

Writing Creatively

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 Beginning

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

A lively discussion
A lively discussion

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.

Anita Spinks

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