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Endeavour Region Reports from our Courses

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Semester 1, 2019

Armchair Travellers

Since my last report in Semester 2018, our group has continued to enjoy presentations from our members, sharing their memories through videos and photographs. We have  travelled to

1 Scenes from Tasmania

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2 Scenes from East Coast of Italy

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3 Scenes from Sri Lanka

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4 Scenes from The Maldives

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5 Scenes from Palestine

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6 Scenes from Rajasthan, India

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7 The South Pacific

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8 Scenes from Bavaria and The Alps

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9 Scenes from Jindabyne

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10 Scenes from The Jenolan Caves

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11 Scenes from Morocco

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12 Scenes from Spain and Portugal

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13 Scenes from Winter camping in Canada and USA

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14 Scenes from India

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15 Scenes from Broome

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16 Scenes from Cockatoo Island

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And our program for the rest of the year looks just as interesting and diverse.

If you love to travel, either in body, in spirit or mind, come along and join us! We still have vacancies as we meet in the small theatre upstairs at Cronulla School of Arts and there are plenty of seats. –  Leader: Kate Churcher

 

Comic Opera

One class member had declared on enrolling: “a laugh plus good music – not to be missed!” anticipating the delights of the three light opera sessions which were about to be presented in a new course which started last February. The class comprised both newcomers to opera and long-time lovers of the art form. The screenings were preceded by a short introductory talk, supplemented with a few background notes on each of the productions: all the works were subtitled. The operas screened were:

1. Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro – Acts 1 to 3) by Mozart, from Opera Australia – with its challenge to keep up with the many plot twists and turns; Teddy Tahu Rhodes was the titular lead;
2. L’Elisir d’Amore (The Love Potion) by Donizetti, from Glyndebourne – a love story involving a smitten farm worker, a rich lady, an army officer and a travelling salesman, which ended well; and
3. The Gondoliers by Gilbert and Sullivan, from Opera Australia – full of highly unlikely situations all creatively resolved into a happy ending with plenty of witty comedy along the way, beautiful costuming, and a young David Hobson in the cast.

The course is scheduled to resume at the start of the second semester with more “laughs plus good music” when a further three light operas will be screened on three nominated Tuesday afternoons. Full details will appear in the next Course Book.             – Jean Singleton-Turner

Harvesting in the Suburbs and Surrounds

The densely populated areas of the city of Sydney, in this case Enmore and Marrickville, continue to surprise Harvesters with green spaces where communities come together to, not just garden, but to share time, eat and relax.

Our first stop was the eclectic Francis Street Community Garden Enmore.  According to its webpage the Garden is organic and features shared common plots.  Upon arrival we were amazed by the beauty of a ‘Gaudi-esque’ mosaic (photo 1) pathway which led us from, what appeared to be a children’s playground (photo 2) to a  pocket sized Garden taking up the back half of the site.  The Garden features artwork (photo 3) painted by the local children along with fruit trees, olive trees, and an abundance of herbs:  basil and mint together with parsley, sage and thyme.  Extra rain water to the Garden is from a friendly neighbour whose gutter downpipe drains into the Garden’s tank (photo 4 ).

After morning tea, and with the weather holding out, we decided to walk to our next port of call; Addison Road Community Garden (ARC Garden) Marrickville (photo 5).  Arriving at the Addison Road Community Centre we followed the Heritage Trail across the Centre’s nine acre heritage site to find the Garden tucked away behind ‘The Bower’.

According to its webpage the Garden benefits the thirty-odd members, including community organisations (early learning centre and centre for adults with disabilities), and locals and passers-by who may freely access the Garden.  It is a place to share ideas, to unwind in a haven, take home fresh vegetables for dinner and cuttings for home gardens, share seeds and use compost facilities for food waste.

ARC Garden has also developed mutually beneficial relationships with the Addison Road Community Centre Organic Markets.  At the close of markets on Sunday afternoon Garden members collect “spoiled” produce from the Farmers’ Market stalls.  They then separate the truly spoiled produce from the merely unsalable.  Members enjoy an often abundant free ‘harvest’ from the markets and true waste is turned into compost or food for the many worm farms.  The soil in the ARC Garden is thick and rich from many years of adding good compost, constantly rejuvenating the soil.  Landfill is reduced and members are educated about recycling food.

As we meandered through areas dense with beans, corn, pumpkin (photos 6 and 7) and grape vines we happened upon one of the members who shared his gardening tips especially on growing corn (photo 8) and the importance of mulch (photo 9).  He even gave us Daikon seeds to try and grow!  Moving on we were amazed with the expanse of this huge Garden and the variety it offered:  bananas (photo 10), tomatoes both regular and bush, chestnuts, guava, native finger limes, comfrey, rhubarb and basil to name but a fraction of the variety.  The Garden also boasts a colony of honey bees on the roof of an old shed – ladder for access.  Tucked away in various nooks were seats and tables, where we can only assume much socialising takes place, including us for our picnic lunch. Afterwards we managed to get away to a bus shelter just before the sky opened up to deliver much needed rain.          – Sofi

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Walking In Sydney and Surrounds

Our Central Coast (Rathmines) Trip, March 2019 
This year’s week away was once again fabulously organised by member Geoff Hodgson.

What a great way to spend 5 days!

Twenty members enjoyed our annual walking group holiday – this time at the Catalina Lakefront Retreat at Rathmines, with its fascinating history of sea planes in WW2.

Walk One took us around the lake to Warner’s Bay. Now limbered up, the next day was a lovely 12 km walk along the “Fernleigh Track”, a disused railway line. For contrast, our final day took us from Merewether to Newcastle and provided stunning ocean scenery.

A special thank you to our dedicated caterers, Toni and Graham Lee, who excelled yet again!  – Jill McLelland

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Drawing 

Our class is held each Tuesday at the Gymea Community Hall. With semester 1 halfway through, the members attending have been subjected to some interesting challenges employing different mediums.  We all approach the subject in different personal ways, arriving at differing outcomes of the same picture/photo.

The last two weeks have focused on “INK”, with some of those finished drawings shown here. – Ian McLeod

 

Film Appreciation and Discussion

The Guilty  – Ross Bell

Who are the drowned?  Who are the Saved? – Primo Levi

This film explained in a few minutes watching what I have never been able to explain properly.  When people in distress call you and you are using a headset rather than a regular telephone receiver it’s quite a singular experience. I have always struggled to explain how the voices seemed to be right inside my head. I am unsure about what happens in outbound sales-orientated call centres, but in 5 years of telephone based hours counselling it was quite unique.

There is strong element of the Nordic style in this film. It is confined to 2 rooms and a hallway.  Film is such an intensely visual medium: but here the sounds are vital too – the sudden shift that moves you into the caller’s world, the background noises that hint at location and context and may hint at risk, the expressed emotions that seem amplified in the headset when the visual cues are removed.  In this film you can hear the cars, the road noise for example. And for the call taker, the underlying anxiety that much of the connection is beyond their control. The caller may end the call at any moment.  Another person may end it.  Circumstances like reception may bring the link to an end.

The male lead is on “desk duty” while awaiting a trial.  Call taking in Emergency is often prosaic and the film shows the usual calls of drunken louts, spurned sex-worker customers and bruised knees: all demanding attention. As an example, about 10% of the telephone calls to the 3 Emergency Departments I worked at were to ask if we were open.  Then the call comes.  A breathless 80 minutes of entertainment begins.

It would be too cheap a shot to say “It’s not real!”  Of course, it’s not.  It’s a movie!  Emergency call-taking is based on team work with managers and co-workers supporting each other.  It’s not possible for a single worker to receive a call and despatch a car and request a search without the command and control system logging, monitoring and responding AND supporting the call taker.   But this is a movie and the rules don’t apply, and so the tension escalates as the lead takes the task on his own.  In our imagination, we think we know what is unfolding. After all, are we not served up this pap on commercial TV news every night?  Words are in our heads: hostage, ransom, revenge, deranged husband, helpless female victim.  The movie insists that we engage.  We support the worker doing his best; we disparage the unhelpful radio despatcher.  This is the pap we watch on TV news whose motto is “If it’s bleeding, it’s leading”.  That is narrative we form.

However the world is a very complex place.  People are not what we expect them to be. Events are rarely as we construct them and almost never become part of the narrative we see in movies.  As the story unfolds, the horror narrative writhes and turns.  As a viewer, I had the experience of the film setting the agenda.  There seemed a moment when I came up for air when I realized it was not necessarily going to be a case of Everyone Lived Happily Ever After.

Instead of a simple ending, a concentrated glare at the dynamics of self-harm provides an electrically charged final piece.  I can remember being horrified when a “Lifeline Counsellor” told me with great relish about the people who had threatened self-harm on the phone to him.  He clearly enjoyed the role and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that all of his so-called “cases” were almost certainly para-suicides. This movie does show in the clearest way how anxiety producing are genuine self-harm matters.

And then, with perfectly timed control, the movie shows how our simplistic Hollywood-based narratives are deeply flawed:  How our understanding of the mentally ill is very, very limited.  And how all of us are mixed up in the soup of human kind.

This film is about just a man dealing with his job – but we enter into his drama and what a feast it is for movie-goers.  So the film ends… yes, it was just a film…

‘Our revels now are ended’

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,The solemn temples, the great globe itself,Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.

William Shakespeare: From The Tempest, Act 4 Scene 1

Sing for Life, Sing for Joy

Endeavour U3A Singing Group has had a couple of special occasions over the last few weeks. On March 7th co-leader Barbara Adams took the group on a musical journey through history by making use of her well honed research skills. We were led from the early days of music notation through the centuries while singing examples of music from the church, the palace and the village square.  An extremely pleasant and pain-free way to do history.

You can probably tell from the sea of green in the photos, the following week was a celebration of all things Irish. This was the brainchild of Peter Hubbard who very capably took us through our paces to the Sounds of Irish Laughter. –  Anita Spinks

Creative Writing

Joy’s take on the group:

We have a lot of fun on our fortnightly meeting of a Monday at the Community Hall, Gymea. The writers arrive with their written piece on the topic, as elected at the previous meeting.
Each reads in turn and this usually inspires everyone to their own reminiscences and experiences. It’s good for a laugh when similarities in memories from across the world and time makes us a little like children again.
I always choose to write a poem and I like to study different forms and meanings. I have written limericks, ballads, villanelles, sonnets and free form. I try to write in the form that suits the topic, serious or frivolous. Here is an example of my poetry. We had chosen the topic of “missed connection”.

Missed Connection

I should begin by saying how
I dislike the topic ‘missed connection’
If it was a connection, hurrah I
could discuss it.

It gets me right away because
I am trying to connect right now
so I can write the poem

Immediately I find the title frustrating
like the last page missing from a mystery
if you know what I mean

What I’m not sure about is the experience (missed)
is it a blank?
not there and so not available?
should I be sad or glad, angry
insulted, relieved ?

Or free and triumphant
or cruel, or in the wrong?
but maybe the poem will explain this
it’s a lot like a divorce.

– Joy Bye 29/11/18

Book Chat

We meet in the Cronulla School of Arts Activities Room, 1st floor, the first Friday of the month from 12.30-2pm maybe a little longer.

Group limit is 10 but we have some room for new members and we have some fun.

Just bring a book to recommend and share with the group.

–   Mary Small

Harvesting in the Suburbs and Surrounds

First outing for the year was to the Paddington Community Garden – Nestled between Edgecliff and Paddington, on what could only be described as a perfect pre-autumnal day, Harvesters sat in the serene grounds of Trumper Park to enjoy morning tea and conversation. We then moved on to visit the remarkable Paddington Community Garden (photo 1).

What a find! In many ways it was similar in aesthetics to many other community gardens we have visited, but this garden had a soul. Upon arrival, Rob, the secretary of the garden, not only enlightened us on the history of the garden, but also outlined its underlining philosophy: the importance of community and building relationships over gardening per se. He also spoke of the intention to create a calm, peaceful space.

To promote serenity in this tennis court sized garden space the colours of key structural features are kept to background colours of black, brown and green. The communal as well as the private garden allotments are enclosed in railway sleepers (photo 2); the council provides mulch for paths in order to create cushioned walking; and the hand-watering, using recycled tennis club water (photo 3), ‘only’ added to the Zen experience. A rustic rotunda (photo 4), with its dirt floor covered with leaf-litter, was built as a communal gathering space and it is envisaged that this rotunda will be eventually covered with grape vines.

The garden prides itself on being organic and was spilling with snake beans (photo 5), capsicums, chillies, lettuces, aubergines (egg plant), figs to name a few along with an assortment of herbs. Rockmelons, raspberries, corn and citrus trees were also spotted. To improve yields the gardeners use: compost (photo 6) created on site, worm wee and the work of a colony of native bees (photo 7) together with snail beer (slops from a local pub). A recent PhD study looking at the productivity of urban gardens was surprised by the high yields for such a small total area. Seeing the passion of the volunteers on the day an outsider can see why.

A surprise addition to the day – we walked only a short distance to have lunch (photo 8) at the Windsor Street Communal Garden. A piece of paradise nestled in Paddington’s back streets . A very tiny 3½ sq m but again productive garden with a mix of vegetable, herb and insect attracting flowers, surrounded by fruit trees and welcoming seats (photo 9).

This adventure was truly a wonderful start to the New Harvesters Year.

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Film Appreciation and Discussion 2019

Member Profile: Sue Hart.

Sue has been a member of this film group since 2015. She has always been a lover of films and would describe herself as a film buff even before joining because she loves foreign and independent films. Fortunately she’s not afraid of subtitles.

An example of Sue’s reviews come with two paragraphs. One from celebrated Netflix film Roma, and the second from popular Polish film Cold War.

Roma: During Cleo’s pregnancy she watches her employers’ marriage breakdown. The philandering, absent Antonio arrives home and announces that he has a new love. He is driving a Ford Galaxy, almost too large for the driveway. Upon arrival he drives into a pile of Borrass’s poop and then when he leaves home for the last time, steps into another pile. It was typical for a man at the time in Mexico to abandon his children. Laugh or cry?

Cold War: Wictor is tall (Gregory Peck look alike) in his 40’s and Zula 20. Zula wants to escape her low class origin and they are mismatched. It’s a film about being in exile. They make and break promises , support and betray each other and resume identities to survive behind the Iron Curtin. Zula had spied on him for the Communist Party. They are happy but this is cut short when Zula doesn’t turn up for their planned escape from Poland.

  •  A sample of Sue’s work, copied by Anita Spinks

Creative Writing

Leader Ann O’Connor advises her landline is no longer current and the new contact number for Ann is  0424 968 380.

Art – Sketching

Every weekend ShireSketchers go out sketching interesting locations and we can tolerate heat, rain, insects and traffic. We have become pretty hardy and usually carry our own seats and refreshments.
A delightful lady who had been reading her 2019 Course book, decided to call me and say “Would you like to sketch in my garden?”
She provided chairs and morning tea, and with beautiful foliage arrangements and vistas in all directions we passed a very pleasant morning sketching.
We feel extremely fortunate that we were able to paint in her lovely garden. – Peggy

Open Minds Discussion Group 2019

The year 2019 has got off to a good start for the Cronulla Discussion Group going by the name Open Minds.

Our first topic: “Should convicted child sex offenders be put on a register and should this register be open to scrutiny by the public?”… was discussed by all members of the group and a diversity of opinions aired.

After the initial topic suggested by me, the group was encouraged to submit topics and it was hoped members would take up the challenge of presenting their own suggestions. This is a learning experience after all, and making a presentation is part of this experience, though this is not mandatory by any means.

Further topics gathered from group members include:

Has Australia become a puppet state of the U. S.?

Women in Power.

The Murray Darling Basin water shortage. Causes and remedies.

Should (Australian) population growth be allowed to happen naturally or be augmented by immigration?

Domestic Violence.

Government spending on medicine. Where should it go?

Should we move Broken Hill to South Australia?

Pill testing. Yes or no?

The #MeToo movement.

To top it off, each semester will be concluded with a lightweight topic chosen near the end. Perhaps a favourite book/film or television program? What is it and why?  – Anita Spinks

Aspects of Australian History

This group meets 2nd and 4th Monday of the month 1.30-3.30 pm in the Cronulla School of Arts theatrette. As well as interesting talks on various aspects of Australian History, this year we will also be focussing on our own Australian stories.         (This sounds interesting – Editor)

 

Semester 2, 2018

Harvesting in the Suburbs and Surrounds

Another awe inspiring Harvesters season drew to a close and a celebratory Brunch was had at Thelma and Louise waterfront café at Neutral Bay. The food was delicious and the company was joyful, as always (Photo 1). With bellies full we then strolled past Nutcote Cottage, the beautiful harbourside home of the legendary May Gibbs, to Kurraba Point Community Garden.

Kurraba is a small garden cleverly designed on the slope above Kurraba Point Reserve which overlooks Neutral Bay (Photo 2). Winners of numerous North Sydney Council Garden Competitions including a Highly Commended Sustainability Award in 2014 when the Garden was in its infancy. Then in 2015 awards (presented by Costa) for the Second Best Edible Food Garden and the Second Best Community Garden. Then, winners for the 2016 and 2018 Best Edible Garden – Community and also this year, winner Most Beautiful Public Area Maintained by Residents (Photo 3). Wow!

The Garden is jam packed with an assortment of vegetables, herbs and flowers (Photo 4). It truly is beautiful. Seats (Photo 5) are strategically positioned to catch the winter sun as well as a view of Neutral Bay. The Garden is somewhat semi-formal with visitors being offered a variety of paths along which they can meander and soak up the dense, lush plantings (Photo 6). It is in someways a garden that defies description, including quirky companions everywhere (Photo 7 and Photo 8). This Garden most definitely needs to be experienced – it will not disappoint.

A short stroll took us to Kurraba Point where we boarded a ferry that rocked us gently homewards to the Quay. Such a lovely end to an amazing Harvesters season. Heartfelt thanks to Joan and her second in command Robyn for the many and varied outings.    – Sofi

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Walking in Sydney and Surrounds

“Sydney and Surrounds” walking group enjoying a Christmas lunch at La Zona, Oatley…….lots of talking but not much walking that day!

Poems as presented at the 2018 AGM

First, Ann O’Connor’s prize poem, “The Last Wave”

Other poems read at the AGM (click on each image to enlarge it)

 

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:

  1. Architecture below Sea Level ( Israel)

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  1. Pilgrimage to The Holy Land (no suitable photos for this presentation) 
  1. Truk Lagoon ( Micronesia)

 

  1. Historic Train Trip to Griffith ( N.S.W.)

     

  1. Barcelona to Canary and Maldives Islands 
  1. Sicily

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  1. LA to Vegas via The Panama Canal 
  1. England, Norway and Iceland 
  1. Africa

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  1. Lake Eyre  
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  1. Norfolk Island and Christmas in Whistler, Canada 

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 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

Ancient History

“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. 

50th Wedding reunion with bride and bridesmaids
Swimming lesson of a much-loved great grandnephew and his mum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND  Octavia Barrington captured the excitement of sailing Sydney to Hobart in her first photo book:

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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.

Click on photo to enlarge

To join, contact Elisabeth Peters on 9523 3743 or 0466 893 747 or by emailing heinzliz@optusnet.com.au .
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.

Click on photo to enlarge

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. 

 

Discovering Art

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.

Beinnale Exhibition

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Art-Sketching Class

Our Thursday class is presently displaying our sketch journals in the Miranda Library for 3 weeks from 7th May 2018.

The pictures show the display case and some of our members

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 & Geoff
Jill & Geoff

*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.”

The Lunch-a-Lot

(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: annau3a@gmail.com

A happy band of Lunchers

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

Peter Wong

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

 

ADVICE

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.

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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!
Jill McLelland

Interesting Issues Around Science: Journeying to the Centres of Planets

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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.
Bronwyn Haddock

 

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.

 

 

 

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