Past Events in Endeavour (Southern)
Semester 2, 2017
Bob Dylan: Disturber of the peace
Last month we might have described Bob Dylan as a singer-songwriter but now we know him as much more than that. The October presentation The Times they are A-Changing was a big success, with some 90 people attending. Thanks to our speaker, Liz Peters, for providing us with an insight into the man, his life and his genius, and playing several recordings of his songs, sung by him and by others.
Over his long career, begun even at school, Bob Dylan has been a prolific songwriter, writer and artist, using his earlier work to champion the civil rights and anti-war movements.
He wrote his first big hit Blowin’ in the Wind at age 21 in the early 1960’s. Thirty years later, when Bob Dylan met Pope John Paul II after performing in Italy, the Pope used this song as the theme of one of his sermons.
Dylan has been something of a chameleon, changing his style of music several times over the years, from folk to rock and, at one time, evangelical. As Bill Clinton said, ‘Bob Dylan has never aimed to please. He’s disturbed the peace and discomforted the powerful.’
No doubt the powerful messages contained in his work, as well as the causes Bob Dylan believed in and helped promote, contributed to his winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. Of his win, he said he had never stopped to consider whether his songs were ‘literature’.
THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’
Our October Fifth Tuesday lecture takes us back to the heady days of the 1960s and is all about the music and the times of Bob Dylan. Our speaker is Liz Peters who is known to many of our members for her excellent presentations at the U3A luncheons. So come along to Club on East, Sutherland, on Tuesday, October 31 at 10.15 am for a 10.30 start. Entry is a gold coin. Members of the public are very welcome.
As Liz says, Dylan has been described as:
- a mediocre singer at best, who became the voice of a restless generation.
- a songwriter who captured the zeitgeist like no one before him, and is one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, both musically and culturally
- an artist whose musical style ranged from folk, blues and country to gospel and rock and roll during a career that spanned five decades.
It came as a surprise to many – and to himself – when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.
During our lecture, we will explore some of his most iconic songs in the context of the time and discuss whether he really deserved his Nobel Prize.
You be the judge!
Did you know that you can volunteer at Taronga Park Zoo? Christine Wenborn did. After an intensive selection process, she became an animal watcher.
At the August 31 Fifth Tuesday lecture, we were fascinated, amused and amazed at the stories she told. It is not a job for the faint-hearted. Watcher sessions can at times last for up to two hours and occasionally the animals can behave unexpectedly like the silverback that roared threateningly right near her because he did not like the vet who had just joined her. One type of watch session is recording every single interaction of the animals with the items in the enclosure; another, every interaction with the fellow animals in a timed period. Christine had to learn the names of all the chimps in the chimp enclosure to do this. She began by differentiating males (tidy bum) and females (untidy bum). At other times, she has to watch an animal by video, for instance when birthing or, at another time, observe an animal the keepers are worrying about. Whatever the job, Christine loves the work so much she has now been an animal watcher for thirteen years.
Visit to the Western Front
On Tuesday an audience filled the room to listen to Craig Witherington, assisted by his wife Marilyn, tell of their experiences in visiting the places of relevance on the Western Front where their grandfathers had fought in WW1. And what an informative, well researched and interesting talk it was!
As Craig explained, like most men returning from war, their grandparents spoke very little of their experiences. So with limited family history, Craig and Marilyn set out in 2016 to follow in the footsteps of their grandfathers.
Arriving on ANZAC Day, Craig’s first slide showed the Champs-Elysees, Paris, where every light pole displayed an Australian flag as an annual recognition of Australia’s participation in the two World Wars -a wonderful introduction to the talk.
With the use of maps and photos, Craig then gave us a brief history of the reasons behind the war, the participants and the battles, with an emphasis on the Western Front. It was with the British call for volunteers that Craig and Marilyn’s grandparents had left their families and joined up to fight. We were introduced to these grandparents and given a brief look into their lives before, during and after the war.
Through a series of slides beginning with the Somme battlefields, where 1,200,000 lives were lost, we visited museums, monuments, trenches and gravesites. We saw the underground tunnels built by miners and others which were occupied by up to 20 000 soldiers and which allowed the troops to advance on their enemies and gain some ground. We were shown postcards their grandparents had sent to the family back home, including one with a photo of a local school. Craig and Marilyn visited this school where little had changed (although there was no longer a wall dividing the boys from the girls). We travelled to Belgium to visit the battlefields there before returning to France and visiting Villers-Bretonneux where the annual ANZAC dawn ceremony is held and televised in Australia.
While 3 700 000 lives were lost in this terrible war, there was a recognition of those who were injured, not only physically but also emotionally. ‘Shellshock’, as it was called then was a recognised medical condition in 1916 and one of the grandparents had been sent home because of this. An audience member also reminded us of the effect on the families of those who returned with emotional scars.
Thank you to both Marilyn and Craig for allowing us to participate in your travel and for the immense amount of research you undertook to present this to us. You inspired many of us to take our own research into our family’s war history
Farewell to Mike Goodwin
We often call on our members to volunteer their talents to Sydney U3A and our local region Endeavour. Over the years, many have responded to our call. However, there cannot be many members who responded as energetically as Mike Goodwin of Greater Western Region. We in Endeavour also benefited from his seemingly endless energy in his public relationships role with Sydney U3A, both directly and indirectly. I feel it is therefore appropriate that we remember Mike on our website this month.
Edited version of Sue Brennan’s eulogy
The University of the Third Age is an organisation started in France in the 70’s by academics who wanted to give back to the community. It is run by volunteers. The Sydney U3A branch, now in operation for over 25 years, has 7 regions with a current membership of over 6500.
Mike Goodwin joined Sydney U3A in late 2006 and was a member of the Greater Western Region. In the 10 years that he belonged to U3A, he committed himself to the organisation in many capacities.
He began presenting courses in February 2007, commencing with International Shipping & Trade and In Olde England. In 2008, his courses were Australian Relationships with Our Near-Australian Neighbours, Australian History – Bushrangers and Music Kaleidoscope. In 2009 he set up an Australian History group in Blacktown. The group continues to meet and, after a class meeting last Thursday, decided unanimously to continue as a tribute to Mike. 2010 saw him add a British monarchy series, The House of Hanover, and 2 discussion groups. He also held a World History class that, like his Australian history group, continues to this day.
As if his work as a regional presenter was not enough, Mike became a member of the Greater Western Committee in 2008 taking on the role of Course Co-ordinator for that year assisted by Ken Jones. In 2009, he became the Greater Western Publicity Officer (later re-labelled Public Relations Officer), a position he held through to, and including 2015.
In 2013, Mike extended his involvement to Sydney U3A when he became a member of the Management Committee of Sydney U3A, taking on the role of Vice President Public Relations, a position he held until 2016.
Besides his adored wife, U3A was Mike’s life. He was a ‘larger than life’ personality – a gentleman who cared and gave greatly of himself. He will be missed.
Vale Dorothy Clarke (1920-2017)
On April 20, Endeavour U3A lost one of its greatest supporters, 96-year-old Dorothy Clarke. Dorothy didn’t join Sydney U3A until 2000 when she was already in her mid-seventies but that never held her back. She became a course leader at different times, a role she undertook with enthusiasm, and served on our committee including, for many years, as Endeavour Region’s publicity officer. She only retired from the course leader role and her committee work when she became too unwell to continue. During her last year on the committee, she took on the role of president, impatient at younger members’ failure to take on leadership roles in our organisation. It is no wonder that in March, 2013, Dorothy was given an Honorary Life Membership of Sydney U3A.
Dorothy’s wide involvement, very often in leadership roles, in community activities such as Southside Speakers, Friends of the Sutherland Shire Symphony Orchestra, the computer course mentor program at Gymea TAFE and Triple S Friendship Club as well as Sydney U3A led to her receiving, in 2009, the title of South Sydney Volunteer of the Year and, in 2011, being honoured at Parliament House by the National Council of Women and Business and Professional Women at the annual Jean Arnot Memorial Luncheon for ladies over 90 who served their community.
So who was this amazing woman whom her family describes as generous, warm, compassionate, independent, determined, sassy and funny with a dry wit? Dorothy Clarke (nee Lilienthal) was born in 1920 in Hastings, New Zealand, the seventh of ten children. The family moved to Australia when she was six. Although she excelled at school, she left after her Intermediate Certificate. It was the time of the Great Depression and her father did not support further education for girls. Instead she became a trainee nurse at Sydney Hospital but left owing to health problems. During the following years, Dorothy worked part-time in a Lakemba pharmacy and later as receptionist to a doctor. During World War II, she even worked for a time at the Chullora Aircraft Factory which made light planes for the RAAF. It was while she was working in the pharmacy that she met her life’s partner, the owner, Mort Clarke. The couple worked together in the business until he retired although they moved their home to Oyster Bay. Mort was quite a bit older than her but they were deeply compatible and shared a love of ballet, music, opera and literature. Dorothy valued how he treated her as his intellectual equal. In his final years, Mort became disabled through illness and Dorothy cared for him until the end. When he died, even though she was 63, Dorothy returned to work, this time as a full-time medical secretary. She lowered her age by ten years to get the job and was still in it over ten years later.
In 2006, Dorothy produced a book with support from the Shire Council called Retired…but not Retiring. This title certainly describes Dorothy herself. We will miss her!