Upper North


until September 2020

STOP PRESS:   We have started bringing you courses electronically, see below.

Sydney U3A has taken the decision to extend the embargo on all face-to-face courses, talks and events until September 2020. If changes occur members will be advised accordingly. Membership will be extended by the period of the shutdown. Central Office will also close from Tuesday morning, March 24 until hopefully September, 2020.



During the Covid-19 crisis, U3A is unable to hold face-to-face courses. However, the Upper North Committee is working hard with Central Office (led by new President, Judy Harris) to provide the membership with courses and lectures using either online resources or via email.

We understand that not all of our members have access to a computer or have an email address, so we are trying to find solutions for them. One way in which we are connecting with our membership during these difficult times is by using the ‘Zoom’ app. You may not have heard of it but basically it allows a group of people in various locations to meet online. It is a videoconferencing app, a bit like Skype or FaceTime, but better for larger numbers of people.

Commercial enterprises have been using the platform for some years for meetings of employees who are in various locations. Zoom as a platform for remote delivery of our courses delivers lectures and lessons as if you were in a lecture hall or classroom except that everyone is in their own home.

Zoom can be set up quite easily on your home computer, or your Apple or Android device.

We have had a tremendous response to our call-out for Course Leaders to start their courses on Zoom or other electronic means.

Here are some of the course now available.


(Videoconferencing software)

Music we grew up with

Previously held at Rohini Village, Turramurra

Leader is Howard Ferrer

4 June, The Great American Songbook, cont.

18 June, Aussies and other groups.

2 July, 2hrs of world jazz and Beatles 


Second semester sessions:

9 July, Folk Music of the World

23 July, Folk Music of the World

6 August, The 50s – the age of rock and roll

20 August, Elvis Presley and Friends

3 September, Songs of Inspiration and Protest

17 September, Music of the Proms

1 October, The British Invasion

15 October, Ladies of the 1960s

All potential new participants should email Ros Markham (roslyn.markham@bigpond.com) expressing a desire to attend.

They will, in due course receive a Zoom invitation to attend the meetings.



Science and Technology, Glimpses of our past, present and future

Previously held at St Ives Uniting Church

Will be held via Zoom on alternate Wednesdays, 10-12 noon

Leader is Howard Ferrer.

Lectures in June

10 June, Hitech gambling, Alex Russell

24 June, The Universe: there and back again, Prof Richard De Grus

The second semester will start on 29 July, (alt. Wednesdays 10-12 noon) with a lecture on the geologists guide to life

.For those who haven’t registered for this course already, please contact Andrew Bean on andrewrosbean@bigpond.com



Russian Advanced Conversation

Originally held at Lindfield Senior Citizens Resource Centre

Alt Mondays. 10-12 noon

Leader is Dr Richard Brettell

Alt. Mondays. Next session 1 June and continuing through to end of second semester.

If you are interested in joining a Zoom session or for more details, contact Dr Richard Brettell

0423 488 023, richardbrettell@hotmail.com




Mind body philosophy

Formerly at Turramurra Rohini Village

Leader is Jock Buselli

Alt Mondays. Next session 1 June at 10-12 noon and continuing through to the end of second semester

For more information on the course, contact Jock Buselli, 9484 7041, jock.buselli@tpg.com.au



Modern and classic novels

Originally held at Lindfield Senior Citizens Resource Centre

Leader is Maurice O’Donovan

Alt. Thursdays 10.30 for approx. 2 hours. Next session 11 June The Arsonist  and sessions continuing on until end of second semester

Contact Maurice on 9411 8717,  odonovan.1@bigpond.com for more details on the Zoom sessions.


Book Discussion Group

Originally held at Epping Uniting Church

Will start in July via zoom until end of second semester.

Contact leader Sandra Luntz 9874 3382, sandra.luntz@gmail.com for the latest updates.



Iran: the elephant in the mountains

Originally held at Epping Leisure and Learning Centre

Alt. Wednesdays, 1-3 pm, Leader Ian de Mellow

If you are not already enrolled, contact Ian for more details 9487 1908, ian.mellow@bigpond.com




 India: The Inclusive Civilisation

“India turns all things into itself”: beginning with the Indus Civilisation of 3300 BC; its ‘ Classical age’; the Mughals, Mahrattas and Sikhs; the Europeans; the Raj imperium; and the Indian Republic’s “Tryst with destiny”

Alt. Wednesdays, 1-3 pm Leader Ian de Mellow. Course starts 15 July

If you wish to enrol, contact Ian for more details 9487 1908, ian.mellow@bigpond.com



Poetry Appreciation

Originally at Waitara Girl Guides Hall

Leader is Robert Plumbe

Alt. Wednesdays, 1-3 pm, next session 11 June

Second semester start date 8 July

Contact Robert on 0407 160 835  robert.plumbe@gmail.com




Fun problem solving to keep our minds active

Originally at Turramurra Uniting Church

Alt. Tuesdays, 9.30-11.30 am

Sessions will continue next semester starting on 7 July


For more details, contact Sandra Sadler 9484 5513   spsadler@dodo.com.au


Issues and ideas

Originally held at Castle Hill, Warrina Village ARV

Alt Tuesdays. Next session 2 June 10-12 noon and continuing through to end of second semester  

Leaders are Jim Gray and John Brockman

To register for the Zoom sessions and for more information on the course, contact Jim Gray jcgray01@optusnet.com.au, 9680 2873



Tuesday Wordsmiths  

Originally held at Fernbank Retirement Village

Leader is Liz Laslett, Liz will continue with sessions until end of second semester

Contact Liz Laslett on 0410 498 621 for the latest updates on Zoom sessions.




Truth in history

Originally at Turramurra Uniting Church

Join Phil Pryor in discovering some fascinating facts as we explore historical topics and discuss new revelations. This is a light-hearted course backed by solid research.

Leader is Phil Pryor

Alt. Thursdays. Next session 28 May, and then 11 June 10 am for 40 mins.


In order to register for the Zoom sessions, contact Marilyn Pryor on 0414493415, 9449 3415, marilynpryor7@gmail.com





Email/Powerpoint Presentation

Balkans, Baltic and Central Europe: an introduction

Alt Wednesdays from 15 Jul 1:00 – 2:45 pm

Contact: Leader and bookings:  Graeme Aplin 94871839.


Presented by Graeme Aplin


The presenter has travelled in sections of the Balkans and in the Baltic States, and Central Europe. These well illustrated sessions will be based on his memories and photographic records with background information on the complex and often unpleasant histories of these European regions

Introduction: geography and history

  1. Slovenia
  2. Croatia
  3. Other Balkan states
  4. Austria
  5. Hungary,
  6. Czech Republic, Slovakia
  7. Poland
  8. Lithuania, Latvia
  9. Estonia, Helsinki and St Petersburg

 (9 sessions, 21 Oct cancelled)






Once we are back to face to face teaching, the sessions will be held at Gordon Library, 799 Pacific Hwy. Library Meeting Room 2 Parking available. Wheelchair access. Venue Convener:  Margaret Harragon, gordontaichi@hotmail.com



French Pre Intermediate and French Intermediate

Originally at Turramurra South Uniting Church

Leader is Shirley Beck

Each Tuesday and Thursdays 1-3 p.m. Last lecture for first Semester 3 July


Contact Shirley Beck, 0447 545070, 9634 4214, shirleybeck14744@gmail.com for more details


German beginners (continuing)

Originally held at Turramurra Uniting Church

Leader is Michael Hummel

Each Monday 10-12 noon

Contact Michael Hummel, 9869 1023 updates on Zoom sessions michael.hummel48@gmail.com





Originally held at St Ives Uniting Church

Leader is Margot Taverne

Margot Taverne is posting out her notes to her participants and will be continuing her class to the end of second semester

Contact Margot for more information on 9449 2923 margottaverne@gmail.com




The slightly messy non-fiction book club

Formerly at Turramurra Uniting Church

Third Thursday of each month to end of this semester

Contact Marg McDonell, lbite@cloud.com,   0403205384 for more information about second semester.



The World of Classical Music

Originally held at Gordon Library

Leader is John Yates, continuing an excursion into the world of classical music in all its forms.

Continuing on without a break until end of second semester on email until resumption of face to face meetings

For more information on this contact Barbara Sabel, barbsabel@optusnet.com.au


French, Intermediate/Advanced

Originally at Turramurra South Uniting Church

Each Wednesday 10-12 noon and starting again for second semester on 22 July through to end of next semester

For more details on vacancies and zoom sessions contact Ethleen Low mobile 0418161706.



Ukulele for fun

Originally held at St Ives Uniting Chuch

Every Wednesday and continuing on through to end of second semester

Leader is Dennis Simmons

Contact:  Dennis Simmons email /phone   0429 987 842,   dosimmons41@gmail.com for the latest on zoom sessions

Barrie Heath on foxv217@gmail.com



Current Affairs Two

Originally held at St Ives Uniting Church

Medium to Advanced Recorder Group

Originally held at Hornsby Leisure and Learning Centre

Alt Wednesdays 10-12.30

Contact Annette Salt, 0407 873 455



German Advanced

Originally held at Lindfield Senior Citizens Resource Centre

Each Friday 9.30-11 am


Leader and bookings Marika McLachlan 9988 3199 or 0411 151 722



German Intermediate 

Each Friday 11.00-12.30


Leader and bookings Marika McLachlan 9988 3199 or 0411 151 722



Spanish Conversation

Formerly held at Lindfield

Leader is Maria Criado

Alt. Tuesdays 2-4 pm

Spanish is spoken 90 per cent of the time. Continuing in 2nd semester


Contacts Maria Criado, mhc.criado@gmail.com

0424 939 767



  1. Find a devicethat has a camera and a microphone, preferably built-in.
    • Most laptops have a camera and a microphone built in, as do many modern desktops.
    • You can also use an iPad or other tablet, or an iPhone or other smart phone, but you may not see all the other course members on one screen.
    • If you have an older desktop, you may have a microphone and/or camera you can plug in. Such devices can be purchased if you don’t already have them (although they are in short supply as a result of the virus), and you haven’t got any other suitable device.
    • If you haven’t got a camera or microphone, you can still join in, but will only be able to listen, not be seen or heard.
    • On whatever device you are using, check that your microphone and speaker(s) are working before you try to attend your first meeting.


  1. Download and install Zoomon the device you are going to use:
    • For an iPad or iPhone, download the Zoom app from Appstore.
    • For an Android tablet or phone (eg Samsung devices, most smartphones that are not an iPhone), download the Zoom app from Playstore.
    • On a desktop computer
      • Click on this linkus, to open Zoom in your browser.
      • In the top right of the screen, click on RESOURCES and select “Download Zoom Client”from the drop-down menu.
      • On the next page, click on the first blue Download button, under the heading “Zoom Client for Meetings”.  The Zoom website is sometimes overloaded and the download may not work – if this happens you can download the Windows Zoom client by clicking here.
      • Follow the usual steps to install the app. If you are unfamiliar with installing software, seek help from a grandchild or other tech-savvy person.
  1. Sign up for a Zoom account(optional – if you are only using Zoom for U3A, you don’t need to):
    • On the uswebsite, click on “Sign up, it’s free”, enter your email address (the one you use for U3A) and follow the prompts to create your account.
      • Please put your full name in when you sign up, as this will appear during the Zoom meeting and will help the tutor identify you.
      • Make a note of the password you choose!


We recommend using Zoom’s training videos We also recommend keeping your Zoom software up to date, for security reasons.  Zoom will let you know when updates are available and ask you to install them.


Joining a Zoom meeting for your course

Each course will have its own unique link. The link contains the meeting ID and password.

Find the device you are going to use. Make sure the Zoom app is not already open (or you may get two copies of it at step 3 below).

  1. Click on the link for your course to join the meeting.
  2. Zoom will open in a browser window in which it will ask you if you want to launch the on-line app – click to launch the Zoom app.
  3. If your tutor hasn’t started the meeting when you try to join, you will just get a message in Zoom asking you to wait. You can use the waiting time to test your audio.
  4. If you have a camera and a microphone, click when prompted to enable video and audio.
  5. If you are using a tablet or a smart phone, turn it sideways so you don’t appear in narrow box on the screen.



  • Everyone in the meeting will see whatever your camera is pointing at. Ideally your face in full, without anything too distracting in the background. Adjust your position and the position of the camera to suit.
  • The first Zoom class will probably take some time before everyone is connected. Please be patient and polite while this happens.

Thank you to Port Phillips U3A group for allowing us to use their instructions on how to use Zoom


Please check out the Zoom website. https://zoom.us/

Why not download Zoom and try it out with family and friends. You can spend 40 mins on Zoom for no charge.

The Upper North committee is going to purchase Zoom licences to extend the time which can be spent online.


Course leaders, would
you like to give it a go
and provide your courses
either by Zoom or by
email? Please let us
know. Pauline Holbrook,
UNR Regional Course
Coordinator, would love
to hear from you by
email at:
or phone 0428 294 594.
The excellent people in
our IT team are available
to help, should advice be
access time for all users per

Welcome to U3A Upper North Region

The Upper North region covers mainly the Local Government areas of Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai. Courses are held in the suburbs of Berowra, Castle Hill, Epping, Eastwood, Gordon, Hornsby, Killara, Lindfield, Pennant Hills, Pymble, St Ives, Turramurra, Wahroonga, and Waitara.

Please view the Semester 1 2020 course book

Upper North Newsletter

Upper North Newsletter June 2020 If you haven’t received the latest copy please check as it may have been captured in your junk email folder. We also take this opportunity to issue a friendly reminder to contact us with your updated details if you change your email address, contact: stuart@incontact.com.au



Despite a severe storm which hit Sydney on the previous night, over 75 attended the Upper North Showcase and Welcome to New Members held on 10 February at Turramurra Uniting Church.

President, Grahame Marr opened the proceeding by thanking everyone for attending and then gave a brief summary of U3A’s aims and objectives, and plans for the future.

Grahame then introduced a number of course leaders who described what students can expect from their courses this semester.

First cab off the rank was Margaret McDonell who is leading a brand new ‘non-fiction book club’ called “The slightly messy non-fiction club’. Margaret explained that the ‘slightly messy’ refers to the fact that the club’s choice of books to study will be flexible, encompassing a variety of genres, including, science, travel, history and current affairs.

Margaret explaining about the ‘slightly messy non-fiction book club’





It was then Mariana Stecker’s turn to describe what students can expect from the French conversation class she will be holding at Lindfield Senior Citizens Resource Centre.

Grahame then introduced the ever popular presenter Howard Ferrer. Howard started his talk with a discussion on the health benefits of music saying that, among other things, it aided relaxation. This semester Howard will include the topic of light opera, the great American songbook and classic tunes that have become pop icons.

Howard illustrates his talks with video clips and played a sample of the video material he will be using, including a very amusing film clip on the impact of the ‘Beatles and the great British invasion’ on the music scene in the US in the 1960s.

Howard concluded his talk by switching hats to that of science course convenor and presenting a preview of some of the lectures that audiences will be offered at the St Ives Science Group.

Howard Ferrer




Laurie Facer then approached the podium to speak about his series of talks he will give on thought provoking philosophical/psychological/sociological matters. He will discuss such subjects as ‘Is there such a thing as an authentic society’.

Laurie Facer




Grahame introduced the final course leader as ‘Mr Museum’. As this name suggests Stewart Reed is an expert on all things museums.

He discussed the types of lectures he will be giving this semester.

The last speaker and before a delicious afternoon tea was served, Stuart Cumming gave a demonstration of how to book courses online (the system is currently been piloted on selected courses).


Stuart Cummings demonstrated how to use the new online booking system




The audience mingling during afternoon tea.




A big thanks to all the committee members who worked so hard to make the event a success.

Pictured is the newest member of the committee, Heather Lakiss.




Also thanks to:

Phil Pryor who provided the music.

Steve Shaw for taking the photos.

Gerald Sabel for providing support for the AV.


The Upper North Committee was very busy in February. Apart from organising the Showcase, they also represented U3A at two events for the 2020 Seniors Festival

 Seniors Information Day run by Ku-ring-gai Council

Committee members Marilyn Pryor, Heather Lakiss, Vicki Davies, Marjorie Perry and Claudine Parr did a wonderful job at the U3A Upper North information stand at Turramurra Uniting Church on the 17th April for Kur-ring-gai Council’s Seniors Information Day.

The event lasted four hours and stalls from many groups and organisations who provide services for seniors were spread over three rooms. Groups included Meals on Wheels, Sydney Wildlife Rescue, Computer Pals, Ku-ring-gai Council, Hornsby Council, Probus, Easy Care Gardening (and many more). The information day was a great success. Morning tea and lunch was served.

The U3A group answered questions and gave out brochures to over 50 people who stopped at the desk.


Enthusiastic committee members, Marilyn Pryor, Heather Lakiss, Pauline Holbrook, Sue Shaw and Claudine Parr on the U3A stand at Hornsby RSL



Seniors week celebration day run by Hornsby Council

The Hornsby RSL was the venue for Hornsby Council’s celebration day on the 20th February. Hundreds of seniors turned up to a morning of entertainment and information sharing. It was another successful day.

U3A held an information stand which was visited by at least 100 people eager to know more about the courses on offer.

Part of the entertainment at the Seniors Week celebrations at Hornsby RSL




U3A music group’s success in City of Ryde Eisteddfod

U3A music group led by Dawn Nettheim that meets every second Wednesday at Lindfield Senior Citizens Resource Centre competed in this year’s City of Ryde Eisteddfod held on 11 August. They performed their own composition in the Seniors’ (over 50) section, and received a Highly Commended Certificate.

The course ‘How to read and write music’, run by classically trained musician Dawn, is aimed at beginners or those with a little knowledge. This group who only started the classes in January were by August ready to write and perform their own composition.

According to Dawn: “This class is a very keen and diligent group who worked so hard that I’m delighted that they were able to showcase their creativity and also the work of U3A. They strung together a medley of little tunes which they had written as part of their exercises, and performed this work on whatever instruments were to hand in an imaginative and entertaining fashion. The audience was appreciative and cheered them mightily. I am so proud of them.”



The Upper North Annual General Meeting was held on Monday 18th November at Turramurra Uniting Church.

Grahame Marr, President, opened the meeting by warmly welcoming the large crowd. He also acknowledged the attendance of Barbara Boston, President of U3A Sydney.

The meeting started with the confirmation of the minutes of the 2018 AGM. This was followed by a report of the year’s activities and the Treasurer’s report by Grahame Marr (in the place of Jane Cooper who was unable to attend).

He thanked the outgoing committee for all their work throughout 2019. A big thank you was extended to Course Co-ordinators, Venue Coordinators, Leaders and Presenters.

He also thanked Gerald Sabel for providing ongoing IT support.

Stuart Cumming, U3A’s IT spokesman, gave a short presentation on a pilot being conducted to develop an on-line course booking system. He said that the pilot (on a sample number of courses) had gone well and that, in the near future, the system would be used for the booking of all courses. Stuart explained that members will be able to use MyU3A to access the on-line booking system.

Following Stuart’s demonstration was the election of office bearers for the Upper North committee led by life member Margot Taverne acting as Returning Officer. The following people were duly elected:

Grahame Marr, President;

Marjorie Perry, Vice President, Venue Coordinator and Assistant Course Book Coordinator;

Jane Cooper, Treasurer;

Marilyn Pryor, Secretary;

Claudine Parr, Events Officer;

Barbara Sabel, Statistician;

Sue Shaw, Publicity Officer,  Newsletter and Web Editor;

Pauline Holbrook, Course Book Editor and Course Co-ordinator;

Graeme Marshall, Equipment and Assets Officer;

Vicki Davies, Venue Convenor.

Heather Lakiss (new committee member).

The first guest speaker of the day was future energy needs expert Martin Thomas who gave a very thought-provoking and insightful talk on the topic of Nuclear Energy, entitled ‘Gift of God or Invention of the Devil’.

Eloquent speaker and organiser of the popular Australian History course Garry Smith described how his interest in genealogy began when he started to research the history of his own family. He also outlined what lectures had been planned for next year’s Australian History sessions.

The final speaker was the irrepressible Nola Bramble. Nola never fails to entertain with her presentations on ‘Travelling Ladies’. She told the audience that so far she has researched and given presentations on 100 ladies from the Victorian and Edwardian era who travelled to exotic locations at a time when it was rare for women to travel unaccompanied. She gave a short but fascinating introduction to one of the ladies she will discuss next term.

The meeting closed with General Business and then a delicious afternoon tea was served.

A big thank you to all the committee members who made the afternoon a success, especially Marilyn Pryor and Claudine Parr who organised the catering. Thanks also to Phil Pryor for providing the delightful music at the event and Steve Shaw for taking the photographs.

Member reminder

Please remember to wear your name tags when attending U3A events. Name tags must be worn so that we can verify you are a paid up member.

Important note for course leaders

Please note that if there have been changes to the people assisting with the running of your course, could they please remember to let the course convenor know.


Notification of change of contact details

If you have changed your email address or phone number, could you please inform Central Office on officemgr.sydneyu3a@gmail.com

AV assistant required

We are looking for a volunteer to help our IT/AV guru, Gerald Sabel, with a view to eventually taking over, the setting up and running of the AV equipment for courses currently held at Turramurra Uniting Church.

If you think you have the skills required, or you need more information, please contact Gerald at: sabels01@optusnet.com.au

Note to all secretaries of courses  

Would all secretaries of courses please forward end of year rolls to Marilyn Pryor. Contact: 9449 3415, marilynpryor7

Change of venues in 2020

Please note that owing to planned renovations at HORNSBY LIBRARY in 2020, the courses currently held there will be transferred to the following locations:

Turramurra Uniting Church will be the venue for:

Australian History Seminars;

Italian for Travellers;

Travelling Ladies.

Waitara Girl Guides Hall behind Willow Park, Sherbrook Road) will be the venue for Poetry Appreciation

Gordon Library will be the venue for: The World of Classical Music.

Dates and times are published in the Term 1, 2020 Course and Events Book

Fernbank, 2 Kitchener Street, St Ives will be the venue for Tuesday Wordsmiths


Tea money

 Guidance for members and class secretaries

There is a little confusion about tea money which the following might clarify.

The idea is that each session attendees are requested to DONATE a gold coin, preferably $2, to cover tea or coffee and biscuits.

(SOME classes prefer to do something similar but pay a lump sum at the start of each semester to avoid fiddling with cash each session.)

Classes generally have a surplus in their tea money fund each semester. Out of this ‘social fund’ we cover REGIONAL costs, such as:

  • Our Annual Leaders’ Lunch held at Hornsby RSL Club for about sixty leaders as a thank you for all their work throughout the year.
  • The AGM, attended last year by more than 100, at which a substantial afternoon tea is provided.
  • The Welcome to New (or prospective) Members at which we showcase courses with a series of short lectures by course presenters. We also provide an afternoon tea.
  • Occasionally reimbursing presenters for costs such as photocopying etc.
  • Class members may also wish to give a small gift to their course presenter at the end
  • of the term or the year.

After any reimbursements and/or money for a small gift for the presenter, class secretaries are requested to hand over the remaining tea money each semester. Please contact Upper North Secretary, Marilyn Pryor on 0414 493 415 or email Upper North Treasurer, Jane Cooper on jccu3a@gmail.com for banking details.

Help with transport

Are you having problems getting to U3A classes because of mobility issues?

Please be aware that you may be eligible to take advantage of the Australian Government’s My Aged Care service which can provide you with transport options if you are unable to attend U3A classes.

You need to contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or look at their website, www.myagedcare.gov.au

You will be set up initially with an identity number and given a suggested list of providers in your area. There is usually a small charge for transport to and from the venue.

A big thank you to Ku-ring-gai Council

Our region has been fortunate to receive a community grant from Ku-ring-gai Council totalling $1922.

The generous amount has made possible the purchase of a range of audio-visual equipment for use in a variety of presentations and venues.

Thanks to the Council on behalf of all our members.


Wanted Course Leaders

Are you interested in running a course for U3A? Do you know a lot about a particular topic?

Why not impart your knowledge to an audience of enthusiastic U3A members. Contact either Grahame Marr on gwmarr1@bigpond.com or Pauline Holbrook on holbrookj@bigpond.com

 Upper North Committee 2020

View our current committee

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