Endeavour Region Reports from our Courses
Semester 1, 2019
Please send in your reports early in the New Year so we can all see what you are doing!!
Semester 2, 2018
In the second half of 2018 the Discovering Art group enjoyed three gallery visits – first to AGNSW to view work by Australian Impressionist painter John Russell, to AGNSW again for a guided tour of the 2018 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize exhibition, and finally to Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Gymea for an interpretive tour of works by Cronulla artist Alexander McKenzie.
When not on a gallery visit the group met at their Gymea premises to hear presentations by class members on a range of topics which included Regional Stylistics of Australian Indigenous Art, modernist artist Chagall; New Zealand animator Len Lye; and American folk artist Grandma Moses.
A similarly formatted program is planned for 2019. If you have any queries about Discovering Art please contact Marie Paterson on 9524 0279 or Margaret Wilkes on 9523 1614.
Harvesting in the Suburbs and Surrounds
It was another damp morning on 14 November when the Harvesters arrived at the Blacktown Showground Community Garden – just five minutes walk from Blacktown Station. Luckily we only needed our light rain jackets to keep the light drizzle at bay.
The first unique feature we noticed of the garden was the paved wheelchair accessible entrance (Photo 1). The next feature that stood out was the number of “V” shaped wheelchair friendly wooden garden plots.
Like all gardens the Harvesters have visited The Showground is run on organic principles (no pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers) but another noticeable feature was the abundant seed heads on vegetables, herbs, flowers and the native grasses. These seed heads attract beneficial insects such as hoverflies (Photo 2), stingless native bees, and the blue-banded native bees (Photo 3) in such large numbers that The Showground has no necessity for Bee Hotels like those we have seen at other community gardens. Seeds are collected and saved for replanting next season.
As well as participating in the shared community garden some gardeners may rent a bed (plot) as well. There are colour-bond rented beds eg with Asian greens (Photo 4) or community mixed beds of beetroot, flat-leafed parsley, lettuce, etc (Photo 5) and the NWDS (North West Disability Services) children’s garden beds (Photo 6). Many of the herbs are planted in moveable tubs (Photo 7) so they can be easily relocated to other parts of the Garden acting as companion plants which deter ‘unbeneficial’ insects and bugs from attacking vegetables, flowers and fruit (Photo 8).
The Garden is only six years old having begun in December 2012 with the redevelopment of the Showground complex which followed the same principles of the City Farm Community Garden in Sydney Park St Peters which we visited earlier in the term. Characteristics such as: parklands, a café, a children’s playground, picnic areas and finally the converted storm water drain turned into pristine wetlands for frog and birdlife as well as general water usage for the parkland.
As usual we made the most of our surroundings by having a picnic lunch besides the wetlands under the covered picnic tables, reflecting on another successful garden visit. – Joan Collins
Film Appreciation and Discussion
The date 18th of October had been eagerly anticipated all semester, as this was the day I’d organised for film critic and blogger Richard Alaba, to visit and direct a talk to the members.
This visit was the result of a bold move on my part as a follower of his film reviews on CineMuse. I decided to throw caution to the wind and ask him along to the Endeavour Group on the off-chance he’d say yes, though fully expecting him to decline as it’s a long trek from his Northern Beaches place of residence. Obviously, fortune favours the brave!
After many email exchanges between the two of us, a plan for the talk was formulated. During the two hour afternoon session Richard was to completely take over the group in order to demonstrate what we should be looking for when subjecting a film to critical analysis. This was another brave move by me in taking both hands off the wheel and handing over control of my group. Fortunately he was an experienced and engaging speaker. Some points discussed were:
• Personal experiences as a film critic.
• Professional vs freelance critics; Faustian tensions; the role of critics.
• Core criteria of film criticism: what it is and what does it all mean?
• Approaches to reviewing a film….textural/contextual
• What is meant by film Genre.
Bearing all our new found wisdom in mind, we discussed the recent films “Christopher Robin” and “Ladies in Black” with a critical eye.
Talk over, it is now up to me to see that we follow the advice given. We must aim for terms more descriptive than good or bad when talking about the elements of film. Dissenters to the prevailing view must be actively encouraged. Definitely no room for group think or echo chambers when giving a personal response to a film.
Our next session falls on 15th November and the films to be discussed are “First Man” and “Wajib”. The results will be telling! – Anita Spinks
Harvesting in the Suburbs and Surrounds
It was a damp morning on 10 October when 8 of the Harvesters met at Hurstville Station. We made the 10 minute walk in drizzle past Westfield and arrived at the Hurstville Community Gardens where we were met by Krsnangi Mulder their co-ordinator.
There was shelter (photo 1) so we had morning tea and a chat about the gardens. The site is part of what was a bowling club. That folded and the site was handed over to the local Council for “Community use”. There are now two large unit blocks on two thirds of the site!
Ten years ago the Council decided to use the remaining part for a community garden. It was set up with 30 plots that were originally allocated by ballot. Nowadays people on the waiting list are invited to join as plots become available. Four plots are used for general communal purposes and the others cost $108 per year. By comparison to other gardens we have seen these plots are much larger. Members of the garden are ethnically mixed with the latest members coming from Africa.
The rain stopped and we had a walk around the garden (photo 2). It is aimed strongly at involving all the local community not only the members. There is a Sensory Garden (photo 3) which is used by local handicapped groups.
The garden is impressive with nearly all plots fully cultivated and flourishing (photo 4). There are a variety of plants from different cultures and lots of perfumed plants and herbs. Just as we finished the tour there were huge claps of thunder and then torrential rain. When it eased off we decided that was enough for the day but all agreed it was a most worthwhile time.
– Graham and Toni Lee
Photobooks for Absolute Beginners
Jill McLelland always follows up her first class on photobooks by asking past and present members to attend a session to share their photobooks and the experiences they had creating them. The session on October was an outstanding success with a large group turning up and sharing a wide variety of books. We realised how many fabulous trips U3A members take as we travelled to South America, England, South Australia, Queensland and other places. We enjoyed also, among others, an album of flower photography, the first efforts of Jill’s young granddaughters as well as being inspired by an album of family photos from the 1800s.
We are now determined to create our next books, as we try out new ideas and solve the problems we previously encountered after picking Jill’s and other members’ brains for answers. – Bronwyn Haddock and Jim Sloan
Harvesting in the Suburbs
On a glorious Spring day the Harvesters took to the streets of inner Sydney to visit Sydney City Farm Community Garden in Sydney Park, St Peters/Alexandria. City Farm (Photo 1) is an unexpected find nestled in one of the corners of Sydney Park. Sydney Park is on part of a 44 acre land grant given to Elizabeth Needham in 1796. Elizabeth Needham (née Gore) was a First Fleet convict who later became a successful Sydney businesswoman. The land has witnessed much change: orchard, brick pits, domestic waste dump, storage facility and finally City Park (less 4 acres acquired by WestConnex).
As we left the busy streets surrounding the Park we ventured into a beautifully designed space filled with greenery and the sound of birds. We wandered up and down gently undulating hills, all man made, to not only appreciate the vast and diverse nature of the Park but to locate a morning tea spot which happened to be adjacent to the Park’s Kiosk – just wonderful. After the welcome stop we ventured further into the Park down to the Community Garden, a truly peaceful oasis.
Sydney City Farm is promoted as being a place for food production, encouraging community participation, education, innovation, and collaboration. As we entered the garden we saw first hand the enthusiasm of volunteers: (Photo 2) some busily potting on beetroot, others planting and others were harvesting. The bountiful harvest (Photo 3) of red spring onion, lettuce, daikon, carrot and radish was displayed and then loaded into a van to be transported to Oz Harvest for distribution to those in need.
Our guide, the City Farm’s Coordinator, informed us of the changing nature of the Park, still a work in progress. The Farm is a mixture of edible (Photo 4) and decorative plants along with an assortment of tree types. Additionally, plans are in place for the establishment of an orchard adjacent to the Farm.
Large tubs in the Orchard Area of the garden contained extremely healthy looking citrus (lemons, finger limes etc) and stone fruit (peaches), fertilised primarily by compost produced on site. The tubs were very innovative – commercially constructed from venetian blind remnants. These sat on plastic pallets (Photo 5) that enabled efficient transport by forklift to any section of the garden. Huge metal bins (recycled old tip-truck trays), painted colourfully, (Photo 6) bordered another section of the Farm containing: the Australian native foods garden, the tropical oasis garden, the Mediterranean style garden, the food forest garden, and the agricultural crops. Running through the Farm’s centre is a rusty metal pipe sculpture (Photo 7) which, apart from being decorative, housed various pieces of wood and bamboo to encourage insect activity. The flowering plants (kangaroo paw, protea, statice, paper daisy to name a few) (Photo 8) jotted around the Farm are primarily planted to attract bees and other beneficial insects.
Leaving the Farm we ambled further into the Park to lunch at a spot shaded by Casuarina trees. Another great day was had in the life of a Harvester. – Sofi
who meet at South Hurstville Library, 1st and 4th Tuesdays of each month, Leader Yvonne Tracey; sent us this contribution titled :
AAADD – KNOW THE SYMPTOMS
MUSIC FOR FUN
As you’re probably aware, this class meets weekly in the Cronulla School of Arts building from 10 am to 12 noon. Every week we go through a set of physical exercises, vocal and breathing exercises as well as revising known songs, learning a new song and as a finale, singing a selection of well known songs from shows or from specific countries. This is a lot of singing; and we love it!
Despite having a fairly good ear, this is an onerous task for someone without an instrument and what’s more, unable to play. Not to worry…I can always download the song from iTunes! Ha! This process involves another set of unexpected problems.
In the spirit of good humour and bonhomie, all errors of pitch, false starts, wrong guesses and poor timing are instantly forgiven as our growing band of singers take on whatever I throw at them. As if by magic the morning tea things are set out and cleaned up without my being aware of the process. I’m not quite sure just who’s in the team doing this but thank you very much. It’s much appreciated.
Not only that! Copies are run off, sheet music brought in by the ream and CDs and player supplied without needing to be asked. Thanks everyone. What can I say? I’ve had a ball but appreciate just how hard Henry works to make this happen every week.
By the end of the session we leave the room on a high, usually singing to ourselves as we do so. Thank you one and all for your support. I won’t say it’s been easy but it’s been fun. – Anita Spinks
Released in 1992, Indochine depicts the discordant decay of French colonial rule in Vietnam. It’s been called the French ‘Gone with the Wind’. Filmed on location at great expense, Indochine exudes aspirations of an epic – in historic theme, in human passions, in luxuriant style and setting. Spoken in French with English subtitles, it runs for 2 hrs 35 mins. It obviously impressed the Americans, winning an Academy Award as the best foreign film in 1993.
France ruled Vietnam with arrogance, exploitation and brutality for almost seven decades. Yet colonised countries typically sustain social hierarchies among both the rulers and the ruled. The film portrays this complexity through the character and relationships of Eliane de Vries (Catherine Deneuve). A beautiful French woman reared in Vietnam, she runs her vast rubber plantation with a firm, sometimes harsh, sometimes indulgent hand. Friendly chats with domestic staff contrast with her personal beating of plantation workers. Her widowed father acts out colonial decadence with his taste for young Vietnamese women. Apart from enjoying the odd opium pipe, Eliane has greater depths. She maintains a fervent passion for a dashing French naval officer, Jean-Baptiste, and a deep maternal love for her adopted Vietnamese daughter, Camille, whose marriage into the wealthy Vietnamese elite has already been engineered. After a local communist attack brings Camille and Jean-Baptiste together, an inevitable love triangle collides with political dynamics.
The personal drama ratchets up as Eliane has Jean-Baptiste banished from Saigon to the colonial outpost at Halong Bay in the north. A pining Camille flees her arranged marriage to find him, joining escapees from a labour camp on the way. Just as they glimpse their northern nirvana, they’re captured by colonial authorities and Camille is on her way to a slave market. Things look bleak until Jean-Baptiste recognises her and comes to the rescue. When Camille shoots another officer, the two lovers escape by boat but get lost in the labyrinth of Halong Bay until found and protected by a secret tribe in a secret location. Alas, the determined search driven by Eliane and the French chief of police eventually shatters their contented isolation. Jean-Baptiste is captured with their young baby, allowed to deliver him to Eliane, then murdered. Camille escapes and joins the anti-imperialist struggle sweeping Indochina. She becomes known as the ‘red princess’ for her revolutionary exploits. Meanwhile, Eliane raises the child of her adopted daughter and ex-lover.
Insurgent uprisings multiply and climax with the fall of the French garrison at Dien-Bien-Phu in May 1954, ferociously ending French rule. Camille, now a communist leader, is part of the Vietnamese delegation that famously met with the French in Geneva in July 1954 to finalise Vietnamese independence. Outside, Eliane relays Camille’s story to her son, now a young man. He enters the conference building hoping his mother will recognise him but comes away unseen and realising that Eliane is his real mother. The film ends with Eliane deeply moved by his love and acknowledgement.
There’s no doubt this epic tale is historically significant and cinematically striking. Yet it fails on several levels. First, it’s confusing: the timeline is fuzzy; the storyline is fractured by dramatic but unexplained scenes. The limp ending is deflating. The cross-cultural nuances are welcome but ultimately unconvincing. On the plus side, the presence and acting of Catherine de Neuve and her loyal police chief (Jean Yanne) provide some authenticity. But the lover, Jean Baptiste (Vincent Perez), is all handsome passion and haunted looks. Young heroine, Camille (Linh Dam Pham), is sweet and genuine as she morphs from innocent to revolutionary, but full of determined gazes into distant dreams.
Too much of Indochine is simply silly. Melodramatic love story overwhelms and undervalues the substantive historical theme.
I offer two possible clues to this disappointing outcome. First, there is no Vietnamese input. This film is all French, which might explain the parodied feel of many Vietnamese characters. Related to this, I suspect that the writer, Erik Orsenna, is in love with the romance, not the reality, of empire. Viewing it through a purely French lens, he doesn’t take the Vietnamese seriously.
Investigation reveals that Erick Orsenna is in real life Erik Arnoult – political scientist, economist, advisor to French President Francois Mitterand, and prolific novelist. The film was clearly inspired by his prior novel, Love and Empire. Its ingredients of French empire, colonial Vietnam, rubber industry and a love triangle involving a rubber tycoon and two sisters would feel familiar to viewers of Indochine. Despite his apparent left leanings, it appears that Erik Arnoult and his Indochine collaborators still mourned the loss of their once-grand French Empire. – Jan Todd
How lucky we are that there is an establishment like U3A which allows us to learn in a relaxed way. Our ART HISTORY group enjoy our get together each fortnight. We always have something interesting to study with a large variety of artists to choose from. One of the team explains material using DVD and computer presentation. – Beverley Theodore
Harvesting in the Suburbs
In August Harvesters journeyed to North Sydney on a crisp, beautiful winter’s day. Our destination was firstly Forsyth Park Community Garden in Neutral Bay followed by Milson Community Garden in Kirribilli. Both Community gardens were established through the passion of local residents and the commitment of local council to the promotion of permaculture. It is truly an outstanding result for the community and for all those who visit.
At Forsyth Park Community Garden, a dedicated and passionate volunteer gardener walked Harvesters through a stunning garden looking out at spectacular views toward the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The garden made creative use of a relatively small plot and was built on one of two massive concrete cylinders that were originally built in 1942. The cylinders were designed for fuel storage during the Second World War, but were never used. The area designated for the community garden was architecturally designed by council and featured a series of circular garden beds, raised and at ground level, along with narrow garden beds lining its perimeter. The garden also spilled harmoniously into the surrounding recreational area. Each plot housed a truly amazing variety of well-cared for vegetables and fruits including two carob bushes but alas no ripe carob pods for our chocolate fix for the day! Harvesters were particularly taken by the creative use of conduit and netting which formed easily accessible dome structures protecting plants from native wildlife (mainly possums). Additional features of the garden were: the native beehive, the 3-bay composting area, the greenhouse vegepod, and the thoughtfully designed watering system. The greenhouse contained not only plants for the community garden but also decorative and bee-attracting plants for the surrounding parkland. Welcome seating was in place just outside the garden and so Harvesters sat, ate lunch, and pondered on the morning’s adventure.
A short walk then took Harvesters to Milson Community Garden where once again we witnessed a visually stunning garden that also spilled discreetly outside of its designated perimeter. The abundant garden was housed in a series of architecturally designed, but community gardener built, raised wooden garden beds that formed a maze-like pattern. The structures made optimum use of a small area. Our friendly and knowledgeable volunteer garden guide proceeded to walk us through beds filled with an assortment of vegetables, herbs (one especially for Chai tea), grains, citrus trees and bee-attracting plants. What was truly remarkable was the yield on offer during the middle of winter. Harvesters were lucky enough to be offered Red Lima Beans to sow in their home gardens. The Milson Garden is a credit to this culturally diverse group of enthusiasts.
As we traveled homewards, on the High Street Ferry, viewing the glistening water of the Harbour we contemplated how both gardens not only offered Harvesters examples of life-supporting systems within the bustling city, but also of communities coming together socially and productively. Full credit also needs to be given to North Sydney Council who supports and funds both of these ventures and the Coal Loader which the Harvesters visited in Semester 1.
Many thanks are sent to our remarkable Community Garden volunteer guides and to our leader for another awe-inspiring day. – Sofi
Harvesting in the Suburbs
On a crisp July day members of the Harvester’s Group had the pleasure of visiting the Sustainability Hub, located within Grantham Heritage Park (photo 1), Seven Hills. This environmental education centre, managed by Blacktown Council, is the base for many environmental education programs, which aim to inspire the community to be more environmentally aware and learn how to embrace more sustainable living (photo 2).
At Grantham Heritage Park a passionate and very informative guide, from Blacktown Council, greeted us. She initially led us to the once operating poultry research laboratory where experiments were conducted, under the NSW Government, to further the efficiency and productivity of the poultry industry. Then, after a brief outline of the history of Heritage Park, we were then led to the jewel in the crown; the Sustainability Hub (photo 3).
The Sustainability Hub is spread over 5,000 square metres and features living classroom gardens; some constructed with reused timbers and recycled materials, bush tucker and native medicinal herb garden (photo 4), a chicken coop and run, as well as a TAFE horticultural and eco skills training garden (photo 5). Within the many demonstration spaces, filled with vegetables (photo 6), herbs and insect attracting flowers (photo 7), our guide spoke enthusiastically of the sustainable living workshops available to residents who want to learn how to live healthy, save money, and learn skills and tips on how to reduce their impact on the environment.
To conclude we sat in the winter sunshine with cuppa (Stinging Nettle tea was even tried) and lunch in hand and reflected on the lessons learnt at this inspirational community garden; how to grow food, how to create habitat for wildlife (photo 8 frog pond), and how to connect with nature and our local community (photo 9). Good use will certainly be made of the calico shopping bag (photo 10) we were all given – gone are the days of plastic bags!
A special thanks not only to our awe inspiring guide from Blacktown Council but to our leader who constantly surprises us with amazing ‘harvester’ adventures.- Sofi Paine
Semester 1, 2018
ARMCHAIR TRAVELLERS REPORT
The ARMCHAIR TRAVELLERS programme for Semester 1 this year has involved enjoying our members’ presentations of their photographs, videos and memories of travels to the following places:
Architecture below Sea Level ( Israel)
Pilgrimage to The Holy Land (no suitable photos for this presentation)
Truk Lagoon ( Micronesia)
Historic Train Trip to Griffith ( N.S.W.)
Barcelona to Canary and Maldives Islands
LA to Vegas via The Panama Canal
England, Norway and Iceland
(no suitable photos for this presentation)
Norfolk Island and Christmas in Whistler, Canada
If you love to travel, either in body, in spirit or mind, come along and join us! We have vacancies as we meet in the small theatre upstairs at Cronulla School of Arts and there are plenty of seats. – Leader: Kate Churcher
“Our ANCIENT HISTORY class has been running for some years, and this year (following the retirement* of our dear friend Elsie) we have two ladies who share the presenting of our classes. We recently learnt much of great interest about various regions of Central and South America, and have now moved on to Ancient China and adjoining countries. Our class takes the form of notes prepared by Margaret or Olga, and after a coffee break a DVD is shown adding more to our knowledge of the subject notes. We are a happy group, (always ready to digress to and discuss something of current interest prompted by our topic). A study of Jerusalem is one subject planned for next term, which should be very interesting considering recent suggestions about the relocation of our embassy in Israel. Although space is restricted in our meeting room, new members would be welcome.” – Dorothy Dalyell
*Sadly, Elsie Baraclough passed away recently. Elsie ran the Ancient Civilisations class for many years and was a mine of information particularly about Ancient Egypt. She was held in great affection and respect by the class.
PHOTOBOOKS FOR ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS
“Technology has discarded the need for photo albums so I was thinking about my favourite photos that sit in my ICloud and wondered how I could share these photos with family & friends when I came across U3A Photobooks for Absolute Beginners course.
Jill McLelland who leads the course explained clearly how to create a photobook, walking us through the various ways to enhance our photos plus tips on savings to print the finished product. We had a follow up course with Jill displaying our books and receiving valuable advice on any improvements we could make. I am inspired and happy that I can now create individual photobooks as gifts for family & friends of the very special times in our lives.” – from Sue Coryn, who attended Jill’s Photobooks course recently.
AND Octavia Barrington captured the excitement of sailing Sydney to Hobart in her first photo book:
Poetry for Pleasure
This group takes a rollercoaster ride through centuries of Australian and international poetry.
In the first semester, we followed Dorothy Hewett up the mountains and absorbed Khalil Gibran’s words of wisdom. We discussed poems about rain and about country women and delved into the romantic period, reading works of Shelley. We sang along to Noel Coward’s witty lyrics and had a go at Australian Bush Poetry.
For the coming semester, we are planning a similar program of contrasting poetry genres; hopefully something for everybody who takes delight in the beauty of the word. This course still has vacancies.
To join, contact Elisabeth Peters on 9523 3743 or 0466 893 747 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
We meet in the upstairs Theatrette of the Cronulla School of Arts at 2pm every second and fourth Thursday of the month, starting on 26 July 2018.
– Elisabeth Peters
U3A Gymea drawing
Endeavour region abounds with birds of every colour and size.
Our task last week was to not only sketch various birds using pen and ink, but to develop a technique for distinguishing the feathers; from the contoured body feather, to those of the flight feather.
To achieve this we were shown how to use contour lines, crosshatching and parallel lines.
The results were excellent. – Pam McGrath
Endeavour Campus Walkers
Endeavour Campus Walkers are a friendly mob who enjoy walking and discovering different areas around Sydney. We have a variety of walks and welcome U3A members to come try a few. Below, some of our members outside Banjo Patterson Cottage during a walk along the Parramatta River around Gladesville.
In April members of the Discovering Art group visited the Art Gallery of NSW to explore the Biennale exhibition “Superposition – Equilibrium and Engagement” in which artists’ works “examine the world today by borrowing the concept of ‘superposition’, a quantum mechanical term that refers to an overlapping situation” (see Wikipedia). Fortunately we had booked a guide to help us understand and analyse the wide variety of interpretations of this notion. Then, fortified by a restorative coffee and the sparkling beauty of the outdoors, the group continued on to Cockatoo Island, where the larger Biennale works are housed, and joined other visitors on a guided tour of the exhibits displayed in the huge former Turbine Shop. There were many aspects of the day’s experiences to reflect on during the journey home – a feast of food for thought.
Our Thursday class is presently displaying our sketch journals in the Miranda Library for 3 weeks from 7th May 2018.
It’s all there in our journals, the memories of our days together, sketching in the local environment and in our library class. We go out on weekends to sketch the beaches, the weather, the history and buildings and crowds, the peaceful parks, the beautiful shire trees, insects and birds and our friends. These are special friends with whom we share our feelings about the moments that are worth becoming beautiful pages in our journals.
The most important experience is the record of our own journeys as from beginners, we learn how to catch these observations and express them as a book of memories of enjoyable social and creative days. In the same location view, everyone’s camera would shoot the same pictures but every sketch in the display is totally different, as we all experience it differently.
My aim as leader of this group is to encourage the art of quickly sketching our own real moments, and the pleasure of our locations. It is not art as “something to hang on the wall” which displays some other person’s moment, nor is it a copy of camera shots.
The display is not for others to choose the “best” art. It is to display the pleasures derived from the group learning experience about recording our own special observations in our little books of our own creations.
However, many of these small, quick urban sketches turn out to be very beautiful artful pages.
We call ourselves the “ShireSketchers” and I encourage others to assist us in our learning process. We are all grateful for the input from Rod Byatt who encouraged us to actually make our own books, and also for his assistance in the drawing processes.
– Peggy Annabel (Group teacher).
Interesting Issues Around Science: Changes in Obstetrics
Geoff Paul has delivered over 10,000 babies since he did his first delivery at St Margaret’s Hospital as a medical student in 1968. His account of those early days certainly brought back memories for me and, no doubt, for many of our audience.
If asked to list the three most important changes in Obstetrics over the past 50 years, Geoff said it would be ultrasound, ultrasound and ultrasound! Pregnancy and delivery have become so much safer now the living foetus can be viewed in real time and three dimensionally. I remember the magic of seeing my rather sick third grandson at three months of gestation and can only agree.
Geoff also described the increasing ease of pregnancy testing (from using toads to over-the-counter kits!), Vitamin K to prevent haemorrhage, the anti-D injection to prevent the complications from Rh negative mothers having Rh positive babies, and other advances in his field.
To conclude the morning, Jill asked Geoff to tell us of his volunteer work in Nepal, operating on young women to repair severe prolapse of the uterus, a complication of childbirth and doing heavy work while the body’s ligaments are still vulnerable – a sobering reminder of how much safer pregnancy and delivery has become in developed nations.
– Bronwyn Haddock
*Paul, Jill and Geoff were Med students together for all their clinical years, including a ten-week O&G term at St Margaret’s. Brian, the fourth member of the group, will present a talk in August, on changes in Orthopaedics.”
(with Style) get together on the 1st Thursday of each month at a reasonably priced venue within the St George and Sutherland shire areas. It is a great opportunity to try new restaurants and meet new people in a friendly relaxed environment. If you would like to join us please contact Anna Winter on: email@example.com
Anna’s U3A group is called Lunch-a-lot
And a most serious get together it’s not
The 1st Thursday each month is the date
When we doll ourselves up like a cake
Then trot off to the chosen location
With excitement and anticipation
For the laughter and fun is infectious
Between bites of all kinds of confections
But sadly; like Cinderella, we too
(only after we’ve been to the loo)
Must return to our humble abodes
Change into our faded old clothes
And look forward to next month’s repeating
Of another great Lunch-a-Lot meeting
(Ed note – Judging by this report, it sounds like this group has a lot of fun!)
Interesting Issues Around Science
Laboratory Waste Management
Anyone old enough to remember the municipal tips at Rockdale and Kurnell, would have appreciated this talk by Peter Wong. Enthralled members of the audience were talked through the history of waste management in general, as well as that specific to Sydney and hazardous waste in particular.
A Brief Rundown. In the earliest days of the Sydney settlement, rubbish was disposed of in the ad hoc manner as on an outback farm. That is, a low-lying area or depression away from dwellings was selected and everything considered refuse, thrown into the hollow, which was eventually covered with dirt and a new site found.
Time moved on and tips managed by municipal councils was the method employed. Most will recall the smouldering piles of rubbish encountered along the roads and the foul odours that wafted across neighbouring suburbs when the wind blew. These tips were exposed to all and it was not uncommon for scavenging dogs to ‘have a go’ at the refuse. Not a pleasant circumstance when part of the waste came from the local hospital and could contain human body parts disposed of after surgery!
As Sydney grew, waste management techniques became more sophisticated and hospital waste was treated by incineration on site. The intense heat of hospital incinerators managed to eradicate most bugs and spores, however, some hardy microbes were able to withstand very high temperatures and escaped into the atmosphere.
Hazardous Waste. In an effort to keep Peter’s talk to manageable proportions, we need to jump ahead to the twenty-first century. It’s easy to envisage the amount of material needing safe disposal as a result of our high tech life. Products made from petrochemicals produce toxic fumes when burnt. Many materials used in medicine and industry would cause immense damage were they allowed to leach into the soil or ground water. Also, many substances are highly combustible and would readily explode if subjected to incineration (eg things forming airborne particulates).
We now welcome the construction of the huge waste management and landfill sites such as those found at Lucas Heights and Penrith. Although enormous and treated at the base to prevent seepage, it’s imperative that certain materials are not included in the general waste. These are separated and channeled off to be taken to specific locations designed to treat or eliminate the waste product. Such specialised facilities are few and far between and may require a trip interstate or even offshore, on occasion.
Many thanks to Peter Wong for a riveting talk. – Anita Spinks-
– – – – –
From Writing Creatively, a poem
Ask Beth Quinton to Saturday’s dance
Asked my best pal Joe
She’s been eyeing you for quite a while,
I thought you’d like to know.
So I did
Marry her son, my father said,
You’ve got yourself a gem.
Mother smiled and nodded her head,
It was advice from both of them.
So I did
Buy the house next door to us,
Her Aunt and Uncle wooed.
The price is right, it needs no work.
“I’d like it” Beth sweetly cooed.
So I did
With the rise in mortgage interest rates
Our budget squeeze was tight
“Ask my brother to board with us”
Beth bubbled with delight.
So I did
Five years on and still no sign
Of a baby on the way.
The doctor suggested IVF
Safe and with little to pay
So I did
My growing doubts began to surface
“Multiple births?” Beth said.
“Mother’s house will hold us all”
“Get help” spoke the voice in my head.
So I did
On the third round of drinks advice freely flowed.
“Not worth it just for a kid”
“Get out mate, try overseas
Brilliant, I thought
And I did – Ruth Morgan
“Walking in Sydney and Surrounds”
There is nothing quite like a week away together, to bind the ties of a group! In February, 22 walkers headed down the south coast to beautiful Narooma – perfect walking weather and so many highlights! Pristine emerald water, close-up views of seals, stingrays, pelicans and shore birds. On our first walk the ocean was magnificently wild (as a result of cyclone Gita). No boats to Montague Island that day! Next came a bushwalk around the inlet with majestic rainforest trees and a constant chorus of bellbirds. Our final walk took us along the waterside boardwalk and once again out onto the breakwater, followed by a ramble along the inlet to lunch at Quarterdeck.
As always, a special thanks to Robin for her thorough planning and Toni and Graham who take the huge job of catering in their stride!
Interesting Issues Around Science: Journeying to the Centres of Planets
If journeying to the centres of planets seems like pure science fiction to you à la Jules Verne, you haven’t heard Helen Maynard-Casely talk. Helen is an instrument scientist at ANSTO and researches the small molecules that make up much of the solar system using neutron diffraction. I admit to not fully understanding this work beyond the fact that diamonds are an important item in her research and that she values time on the synchrotron. What particularly fascinated me was her enthusiasm as she took us with her to Uranus, the large moon Ganymede and other favourite planets, dwarf planets and moons and her stories about some of her discoveries. I now can’t wait to visit the local observatory at Oyster Bay to see some of the celestial events scheduled this year such as the planetary parade of Saturn, Mars and Jupiter in early March when the three planets come into alignment.
Film Appreciation and Discussion
Sweet Country Anita Spinks Score 4.5/5
Aboriginal director, Warwick Thornton’s follow-up film to Samson and Delilah is once again set to a backdrop of the harsh, though compelling, Australian bush. In scenes reminiscent of a Frederick McCubbin painting, the familiar tale of brutality and victimisation plays out.
Five stars for Thornton’s method of storytelling which kept this viewer’s eyes glued to the screen every second of running time. An unusual style incorporating silent flash-backs and flash-forwards kept me on my toes (never knowing which one of the two depictions was being employed). Several other novelties in style marked this an artistic film in addition to its powerful narrative. For example, we were spared scenes of extreme violence such as the rape of Lizzie as the screen was blackened. These elements worked very well for me.
The indigenous actors did a splendid job in representing an uncomprehending presence. They barely understood the language and yet were supposed to both comprehend and bow to the laws and customs of their white overlords. Ewan Leslie capably played the part of land owner Harry Marsh. Perhaps his brain had been addled by a combination of hard liquor and the fierce Australian sun, but his propensity for cruelty towards the black stock was in no doubt and led to his eventual shooting by aboriginal employee Sam (played by Hamilton Morris).
Perhaps unusually, not all the white characters were unsympathetic. Sam Neill played the part of a decent man, a Pastor named Fred Smith. Another decent character was that of the compassionate judge, Taylor, played by Matt Day. These characterisations made a big impression on me as we’re used to seeing the abuse of power by those entitled. It made a pleasant change.
In a discussion with friends yesterday, opinions were divided. Wife Maria found the story too disturbing to say that she enjoyed the film despite its obvious merit. Husband and former journalist Phillip, thought it was an excellent film and appreciated the craft of the writing and direction. Both agreed that the shooting of Sam by an unknown, white assailant was the only possible conclusion because they were not going to be allowed to ride off into the sunset unmolested.
“Walking in Sydney and Surrounds”
24 members enjoyed a twilight walk across the Harbour Bridge, then through the Botanic Gardens to Woolloomooloo for dinner. Our city looked spectacular! Thank you to Robyn Kemp for organising such a magical start to 2018.
Semester 2, 2017
A recent review from the “Film Appreciation Group” member Ross Bell:
44 O ye fire and heat, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
THE SONG OF THE THREE HOLY CHILDREN
It is a mercifully rare event in our community that a parent will experience the death of their children. And even rarer that the death comes suddenly; it’s quite exceptional that the death be violent.
For those of us who have had the experience of witnessing the death of children, it’s quite common for there to be an ongoing sense of horror, shame and injustice. I recall the exhaustive efforts of a resuscitation team in an Emergency Department who struggled desperately to save a tiny child. This was a highly experienced, skilful and disciplined team. Disciplined enough to concur in a quiet calm and clear way when the consultant spoke those terrible words. “I think we should stop.” We were all thrown into the fiery furnace. The parents were present, they saw the hour-long drama, they saw the ending. For mum and dad this furnace was particularly intense.
In this film the central female is thrown into the fiery furnace. The wrongness of the violent suffering and death of her child, the apparent inability to identify a perpetrator and the tensions that emerge from a world that seems to move forward while she appears “stuck”.
A beloved son suffers too, but the female figure simply lacks the emotional reserves to attend to his needs and she is overwhelmed by her own feeling of loss. An ex-husband mourns too, but the power of his loss is mitigated through his engagement with a younger woman. Perhaps he sought in that sexual union an acceptance and his need for sexual release as a comfort for her.
The police are the focus of the female lead’s anger and she acts this out. Like all good films within the crime genre, there are red herrings aplenty. Each offer the viewer a chance of the easy, quick answer. Perhaps a policeman is a suspect himself? Maybe the overheard bar conversation provides the link that leads to the answer as prophesised by the chief. And always the hope that the perpetrator will emerge, and the furnace will be cooled through the “moist whistling wind” of the Apocrypha (Verse 44 ).
But it is the film that is telling the story. A major figure decides to take charge of his life and makes a life-changing choice. And as always, people project on to his act their own needs, rather than consider that perhaps he was the master of his fate and the captain of his ship.
But can the fiery furnace cure? Can it lead on to an answer? Again I suspect for most viewers there was the hope that an answer would be a simple, resonant yes. But again, the film is in charge – and it leads us, albeit unwillingly, to a less certain, but far more engaging idea: that right and wrong are complex issues with multiple layers where the simplicities of which we are so fond are revealed for the trite nonsense that they mostly are.
But can the fiery furnace change us? We are left to ponder what is changed and what remains.
The glory of this film is its ability to convey in some sense the horror that can enter a life. It also shows that many, maybe all of us, share in this burden and that we all suffer – some of us openly and directly and others though endurance and hidden grief. Again and again it walks past the temptation for the simple answers. I found it hugely entertaining in the sense that I was absorbed, interested and cared about the outcome.
Two poems from Writing Creatively
A galaxy of wrinkled crones join in macabre fun.
Spellbound by the guillotine, these knitters in the sun.
Clickety-click, clickety-click, ghoulish laughter peals,
As horse-drawn laden carts roll by and prisoners’ fate it seals.
Knit one, pearl one, spectators watch with glee
The blood of royal families flow to set the masses free.
Needles flash in harmony as tensions rise to peak.
Judgement falls indiscriminately on the arrogant and the meek.
Some stand erect and pray to God – there is no place to run.
Some cry and beg, each number counted by the knitters in the sun.
Fingers pause, drum rolls beat, breath momentarily suspended.
Then joyous release, knit one, pearl one. Hatred is expended.
Ruth Morgan 1995
Soft and warm your lovely body lies
Close to mine, in sated dreamless sleep.
Alone I watch the new day’s sun arise,
Fated now a tryst with death to keep.
The uniform hangs proudly on the door.
The rifle leans against the canvas pack.
My mind says sternly, duty to the fore.
My longing heart rebels and draws me back.
You turn to me, your lips invite a kiss,
Your arms reach out to hold me in embrace.
Your perfume lingers from a night of bliss.
I cannot stay. Pray God, grant me grace.
Should destiny take me to the path that calls
We’ll meet again my love when twilight falls.
- Ruth Morgan
Turtle Lane Community Garden
Our first visit was to Turtle Lane Community garden which is located in Newtown, a short walk from the station.
The garden is situated on church ground adjacent to St Joseph’s church. The garden currently has 25 plots and has proved to be so popular that there is a waiting list to join the garden. The garden is managed on organic principles embracing the diversity of its members which represent many cultures. The garden has a native bee hive and hives for beneficial insects, a frog pond and a birdbath to attract the local wildlife. Planning for the garden occurs at monthly meetings. There is a bartering system in place whereby excess crops can be exchanged between members and local school children are welcomed at the garden on a regular basis. Apparently, the children are renowned for eating any strawberries which have been missed during harvesting but the garden members don’t seem to mind.
Our group was made to feel most welcome (coffee and biscuits on arrival) and it was interesting to see how different community gardens operate and how they have evolved to meet community needs in different locations around Sydney.
After leaving Turtle Lane, it was a short walk to Camperdown Oval where we stopped for a short lunch break before proceeding to the Inner-City Pocket City Farm.
Entirely different from Turtle Lane Community Garden, this garden was developed on the site of a former bowling green. It is a large space of 1200m2. The garden was in full production with neat rows of kale, tomatoes, basil, lettuce, capsicum and eggplant to name a few. There is a complex watering system in place as well as all the other infrastructure that you would expect to see in an horticulture farm.
The produce is used to supply the restaurant on site as well as being sold at the farm to the local community. They also have resident chooks that have been rescued from intense chicken farms; they appear to be loving their new home in the inner city. To find such a large place under production in the inner city is remarkable and offers respite from the hectic lifestyle of the Inner West.
Music for Fun
You’ve probably never heard of Music for Fun
Or if you have, then perhaps decided
It was crazy and impractical
To be involved
with anything musical.
Maybe you were told you couldn’t sing
when you were a lass or a lad
Or the weekly piano lessons meant you suffering
when you would rather surf.
It was all rather sad.
In Music for Fun we sing for joy and don’t worry
If it is not always in tune
For singing together will overcome your need
To fight depression and a chance to commune
with others of the same breed.
We also learn better breathing, consolidate our pitch
and explore the complexities of written scores:
What’s a crotchet? When’s the beat?
And why is it sometimes necessary to pause?
It’s a Magical Mystery Treat.
– Henry Collins (Group Leader)
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.
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.
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!