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Recent Messages

Recent Messages 13 May 2024

First the good news, we are pleased to welcome over 40 new members to U3A Clarence in 2024.  Great to see our membership improving after Covid and other setbacks. Many thanks to my fellow hard working committee members especially our course coordinator Vicki and our tireless secretary Sue.

Also to Beth our Social Secretary with the highlight of first term being a sumptuous lunch at Drysdale House.  I am indebted to Helen for filling in for me during a couple of recent hospital admissions and Anna for her ability to multitask.

Which brings me to the bad news, we are still 2 committee members short for this year. Anyone with basic bookkeeping skills to act as treasurer would be of great assistance, it’s not a particularly onerous role. We are also always on the lookout for interesting tutors or guest speakers if you have any contacts or suggestions let me know.

Looking forward to an interesting second term.

Best wishes,

John Bothman

President U3A Clarence

Recent Messages 1 May 2024

There are currently vacancies on the Committee for U3A.  We are also looking for people to present or help organise new courses or activities.  If you can assist please speak to a committee member.”

U3A Clarence

President's Message January 2024

A Happy New Year to all of our members and tutors. I trust you had an enjoyable Christmas.

I spent mine on a luxury cruise ship in the middle of the Great Australian Bight well away from the distractions of mobile phone and internet coverage. Other highlights included a James Morrison concert and laser light show at the Adelaide Cricket Ground. New Year’s Eve saw the ship on Sydney Harbour with a great view of the fireworks. The only downside was a dose of COVID just before returning home a few days ago.

Once again, Vicki has put together an interesting and diverse range of classes for our first term of 2024 including the ever-popular tutors, Peter Jones and Wayne Smith. Please enrol early in the classes you want to attend.

My thanks to all tutors and our hard-working committee for all of their assistance in 2023. I wish to thank others who have assisted with morning tea and set-up also.

I am looking forward to our activities in 2024.

John Bothman


U3A Clarence

President's Message November 2023

Hard to believe that 2023 is drawing to a close; time seems to go faster with age despite Einstein’s theory of relativity. Your committee has been working hard with forward planning for Term 1 next year and we are always on the lookout for interesting speakers and topics for inclusion (see also Vicki’s note in our newsletter here).

I would like to personally thank all committee members, especially Helen and Jocelyn who stood in for me during my absence for the first two terms and Beth for organising many social events through the year.  The recent lunch at Drysdale House was particularly memorable and we look forward to the upcoming Christmas lunch.

I have been meeting with the presidents of all of the Southern U3As (five in all) with a view to forming a U3A Tasmania chapter of U3A Australia. This could potentially give us several benefits including to be registrable as a charity or non-profit entity making it easier to apply for grants, receive bequests and lobby various tiers of government etc.  Watch this space.

Best wishes to all members for Christmas and the New Year.

John Bothman


U3A Clarence

President's Message August 2023

Two thirds of the year 2023 have finished.  I hope you have been able to meet new people at U3A and learnt new information about the topics you chose to do.

Wonderful News: Our president John Bothman has stated that he hopes to return to U3A in Term three. Welcome back, John. We all wish you a pleasant and rewarding time at U3A.

The class sessions for Term three are in this newsletter. However, Vicki Paterson, our tireless course coordinator is looking for members and/or other capable people to run some programs during all of next year. If you feel you would like to present a class or more, please advise Vicki who is always at morning tea. I remind you that we have a series of The Great Courses which are designed by experts in the field. Each of these are presented as 24 half hour sessions with a guide book and a group of discs to accompany each course.  You do not need to follow the course as presented but they can provide you with information to use and help you to make the course your own. As well we have U3A Online courses available to adapt.

Thank you to all of the members who presented programs during Term two. To all of those who assisted to set up in the mornings and helped with washing up at morning tea time, thank you. A special thank you to the committee members who have helped make U3A the worthwhile activity it is.

I wish you a great and rewarding Term 3 at U3A.

Helen Lucas

Vice President

U3A Clarence

President's Message January 2023

A third of the year 2023 has gone by. Have you achieved as much as you wanted to in that time? I wish I had not wasted some hours but I am contented with what I have achieved and the people I interacted with.

As you are aware by now, our president John Bothman has resigned and we are looking for some dedicated member to fill the position. Are you interested? Please let a committee member know.  The duties involve actively advertising U3A when required, the running of committee meetings as well as addressing members at the morning teas.  Please consider this seriously.

The class sessions for term two have been filled. However, Vicki Paterson, our tireless course coordinator is looking for members and/or other capable people to step up and run some programs during term three. If you feel you would like to present a class or more and are uncertain what to do, we do have a series of The Great Courses. Each of these are presented as 24 half hour sessions with a guide book and a group of discs to accompany each course. Each of the courses that I examined were designed by experts in the fields. You do not need to follow the course as presented but they can provide you with leads to use and help you to make the course your own.

Thank you to all of the members who presented programs during term I and to all of those who assisted to set up in the mornings and helped with washing up at morning tea time.

I wish you a great and rewarding term 2 at U3A.

Helen Lucas,

Vice President

U3A Clarence

President's Message January 2023

Hello and a Happy New Year to everyone.

It’s the start of a new year and our program is packed full with a variety of activities. There will be something there for everyone. Vicki, our Program Manager, has performed her magic and allocated time slots and tutors for 26 separate activities consisting of 3 sessions per day, in 5 rooms on Monday and Wednesday at the Rosny Library. She has done a great job!

As with most voluntary groups and organisations like ours, membership has declined during the last 3 years with COVID clearly being the culprit. Your committee has taken measures to reverse this trend, and has reached out to past members with an email request for them to consider joining us again. The many benefits offered include companionship and friendship and warding off aging by keeping the mind and body active.

We have also received a grant from the Clarence City Council to assist with upgrading of our website. It is now cheerful and friendly, easy to navigate and this too will attract new members. Please take a look at and see for yourself.

Finally I’d like to thank all the members of the committee for their effort that they have contributed during the year to keep U3A Clarence the friendly and positive organisation it is today.

Len Spaans,

U3A Clarence

President's Message November 2022

My message from Fremantle:

I thought Gay and I would get away from U3A and go on a relaxing 26 day cruise around Australia.  As it turned out all our fellow passengers look and act just like our U3A members!  Happy, friendly and very easy to get on with.

Anyway, as this term draws to a close, I’d like to remind all our members that we are all volunteers.  We want nominations from you to join our committee, in particular we need a new President and a new Treasurer.

Also, we need tutors to present classes.  These could be based on your experience from your past work, or a hobby or special interest that you could share with us.  Please give this request some serious consideration.

Looking forward to joining you all at our final event for the year, our Christmas Luncheon on the 30th November.

Len Spaans,

U3A Clarence

President's Message August 2022


Whilst there are many factors behind declining membership, some of the biggest factors that associations should factor into their retention strategies include financial uncertainty of members, changing membership needs and interests, and struggles to connect with new and younger members.

We are not alone. More than half of associations report that they are losing members. With competition from new groups and aging members, our association may find itself with an attrition problem.

Let’s look at some solutions to declining membership.

Is our association still relevant?

If U3A Clarence is changing or even being phased out, how much interest can our group have for our members? Although there are things you can’t change, we can become proactive about making your association more meaningful. We could consider revising our mission statement, updating our activities or even merging with other U3As or Seniors groups.

Is there something driving members away?

This can be a particularly tough question to pose. In insular groups like ours, a fear of lingering COVID in the community, a lack of suitable presentations and activities may be responsible for membership losses. On a more positive note, it may be something that’s easy to fix, like an overly complex website with too many pop-up windows or dues that are disproportionate to what the association offers compared to other competing organisations.

What do members want?

Associations often become mired in what the committees want at the expense of the larger membership. Is it time to conduct a detailed survey of our members to see if we’ve drifted away from why they joined in the first place?

What do you think? Can you help? Any suggestions?

Len Spaans 

President, U3A Clarence

President's Message May 2022

I am pleased to report that this year has started to appear like normal again.  So we need to encourage the members who have not joined us this year to come back.  Membership is down around 30% and if this continues the committee will have to reconsider the annual membership levy.

Earlier this year we applied for a grant from the Clarence City Council, and we have received a phone call informing me that U3A Clarence was successful and will receive $1,500 towards upgrading our aged laptop computers. Your committee would like to try more applications for grants where appropriate.

I coordinate the Singalong Group on Monday. This year a new format has been introduced where no printed song lyrics are required (no piles of sheets to cart about), and no extra cost. The paticipants attending are having a great time, but numbers are down compared to pre-covid times.  Pre-covid attendance in room 1 was so large that we have now moved to room 6, so if you are interested, join us in Term 2.  It’s a great space with a large TV displaying the words.

I would also like to request members consider joining a great and competent committee next year.  I have completed my 3 years so we are at least looking for a new President!

Len Spaans 

President, U3A Clarence

President's Message January 2022

This year we will be offering a full program of three 10 week terms with no public school holiday breaks.
Maximum numbers permitted in each room has been relaxed and we will also be commencing our popular morning tea breaks again. Anyway, that was the plan!!!

But as we all know, Omicron is here, our island drawbridge has been lowered and sport and tourism are more important to the Government than the health and wellbeing of Tasmanian residents. We are waiting for further direction from the Library to find out if our plans for this year are compromised yet again.

U3A Clarence has now entered into a Licence Agreement with the Library and the Minister for Education for a period of three years giving us security of tenure. We all look forward to a productive and cooperative future.

This year a new class will be introduced by Jean Howes where U3A members will give the audience an insight of their past interesting life and career history.

With the departure of popular Bev and Regan, a brand new singalong class will be introduced. All past singers are invited to come and enjoy the new singalong in Room 6. All your favourites from the 50s, 60s & 70s and many more will be available. No music needed, the words and music will all be presented for you on the big screen. And no extra cost and no heavy bundles of lyrics to carry around.

Our AGM will be on February 23rd this year and will be held at the library in room 6. We hope to see you
all there with your masks and your booster shots. It is also gratifying to know that Tasmanians in our
age group are 99% vaccinated. So be positive and let’s get together and plan another year of socialising.

Len Spaans 

President, U3A Clarence

President's Update April 2021

Morning Tea at Alma’s

This Friday we will get together at Alma’s for morning tea. This will enable members to meet again in a social setting. If it proves successful we will arrange 2 more similar events at Alma’s before they close down for an extended period in July for a major renovation. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that by the middle of the year that we can again resume our traditional morning tea in room 6 of the library.

Term 2 Enrolments

Carol has been working hard to complete a comprehensive Term 2 Program. Full details will be available in the Newsletter at end of term 1. At this stage it looks like enrolments for the Term 2 classes will open on Friday 28th May.

Celebration of Silver, U3A Clarence Turns 25

Our best-selling anniversary book has caught the eye of the State Library. They have requested 2 copies.

State Elections

With the State Elections looming upon us, contact your local candidates to ensure they consider the unique requirements of retired seniors who have not yet opted for retirement villages and nursing homes. They need to be made aware that 1.6 million Australians over the age of 65 live alone. Organisations like our U3A Clarence helps seniors to ward off depression and loneliness and encourages social interaction. It would be a great step forward if the next government gives an equal consideration to seniors as it does to sports.

The Future of our Committee

Your committee is aging and a few members will be retiring at the end of this year. This is an opportunity for you step up and introduce some new blood and ideas to the committee. It is a while before the next AGM, but if you feel that you can help U3A Clarence go forward into the future, please consider nominating for a position on our next committee.

Len Spaans 

President, U3A Clarence

President's Newsletter March 2021

Dear Members of U3A Clarence,

Since my last update, the following items might be of interest.

LIBRARY MEETING with Helen Ebsworth, Director Library Network and Margaret Malpas, Manager Rosny Library.

A meeting was held to discuss the future of U3A Clarence using the Rosny library as its base. In the future we will have a strong alliance

A Licence for U3A Clarence to operate at the Rosny Library is still being prepared by the Education Department. This large document will eventually replace the old MOU.

If any member of U3A has some legal background we would like to hear from you. The new licence is large and full of legal terminology that we will eventually need to sign.

The library would prefer U3A to operate with 4 terms instead of the present 3 terms. This will align us with school activities during school holidays that the library is getting involved in.


We are arranging to have a monthly Morning Tea at Alma’s to allow members to socialise and catch up with the latest. The first one will be on Friday the 23rd April from 10.30 to 12.00. For $3.00 tea, coffee and biscuits will be served. Plates of nibbles welcome.


 The committee is seeking assistance from members who have skills with computer programs, like our new UMASS system, and with bookkeeping experience.


After discussions, the committee has decided that the annual membership fee is just that, membership of U3A Clarence. Once you are a member, you can then enrol in any classes on offer if space permits. You don’t have to attend classes, you can just be a social member to meet your friends.


The following letter was published in the letters to the editor section of the Sunday paper dated 21st March. Great way to spread the word. I have reproduced a copy on the back of this newsletter.


In the next newsletter I will produce a list of special events and activities that members can put in their diaries.

Len Spaans 

President, U3A Clarence

President's Newsletter January 2021

Dear Members of U3A Clarence,

What a crazy year 2020 has been.  It came as a shock for us all, an unplanned event.  But some past unplanned events that have happened to me have left my wife in stitches: I bought replacement windscreen wiper blades, took old ones out -  carefully measured lengths and cut the new pair to size.  The second wiper blade was longer than the first!  I had to get a second pair.

I was doing some gardening in the front of our house when I dug up an old cable that shouldn’t have been there.  So I cut it off and pulled the rest of the cable up and binned it.  My wife then came out and informed me that our phone was dead…….. We called Telstra for a new cable.

We had a motel once and were preparing for a conference.  They needed a whiteboard.  So I ordered a 2.4m x 1.2m glossy white melamine sheet and asked the store to cut it to size for me.  Unfortunately my metres and mms got mixed up and we ended up with 16 small boards 600mm x 300mm.  Anyway, that’s enough frivolity at my expense!

Your committee has met regularly during the year to monitor the options available for U3A to continue.  The Library has imposed very strict measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19.  The numbers permitted in lecture rooms and with less rooms being available made it impossible to continue classes during 2020.  With Library spaces more limited, proposed programs in 2021 will be extended to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Crowds exceeding limits set by the Library mean that our regular morning tea get-togethers will not be allowed, nor will the sing-alongs, but line dancing is now permitted.

At year’s end with Tasmania looking in good shape, the committee decided that a Christmas party should be held.  Beth Jeffrey, our social coordinator did a wonderful job in organising the lunch at the Lindisfarne Rowing Club – what a fantastic position on the water.  Olive Tree Catering put on a real Christmas spread and we enjoyed several interesting presentations, and poems by Chris Bishop.

 To investigate alternate locations for the conduct of future U3A activities I have had discussions with the Property Officers of the Clarence City Council: Tracy Sparks and Lesley Roland; David O’Byrne, Franklin Member of State Parliament and Julie Collins MP, Federal Member for Franklin.

On behalf of the committee I wish everyone a safe and fulfilling New Year.

Len Spaans 

President, U3A Clarence

President's Message October 2020

Dear Members of U3A Clarence,

The year is passing by with Tasmania in good shape. But soon the Government will open our borders to outsiders and we will need to be extra vigilant to maintain our good record of keeping COVID-19 at bay.

We will plan for next year with the program that we started this year and hope that things will turn out for the best. This includes having our next AGM on February 18th 2021.

During August I have had an audience with David O’Byrne MP and he was a guest at our recent committee meeting. Many issues were raised in relation to what assistance we need from the Government. We need recognition as a valued volunteer group that provides benefits to positive aging and lifelong learning which supports the mental and physical health and social engagement of seniors. Our desire for long term stable accommodation for our members was also discussed.

He will contact the Minister for Education on our behalf to present our case. Let’s hope something positive comes out of it.

Yours sincerely,

Len Spaans 

President, U3A Clarence

President's Message June 2020

Dear U3A Members,

These times have been very frustrating for all of us. We had anticipated that we could all resume our social activities at the Rosny Library for the third term of this year. However, the Library had not released a time table for allowing us to resume the use of their meeting rooms. We do not feature on their ‘Roadmap to Reopening’ and they have indicated that due to public health guidelines, our rooms will not be available for some time.

Because of the position taken by the library, the committee has now decided that our U3A program will be cancelled for the rest of the year.

However, we recognise the need of our members for social contact during this time and have suggested that we explore other activities that we, as a dynamic U3A, can still enjoy for the balance of the year and which does not involve the library. The activities that we suggest members consider include lunch or morning tea groups, walking groups, swimming groups, social golf groups, even groups to go to the picture theatres. These are just some suggestions and will need someone to coordinate each one. They could also be an established group like languages or writing that can continue the planned activities at a new location. Our Course Programmer, Carol Rossendell will be most willing to help get your favourite group activity started.

If these alternate activities prove to be successful then we can even include them in future U3A programs.

So come on members, let’s not wait for the library to open their rooms, let’s get out there and keep in touch with our friends in a social setting.

But always be safe and follow the guidelines.

Yours sincerely,

Len Spaans 

President, U3A Clarence

President's Message May 2020

Hello Fellow members of U3A Clarance

This message is to update you on the latest steps we, the committee, are taking to keep you safe. Term 2 will likely go the same way as Term 1 because of the limited number of people that can meet in the library from May 18th and still follow the social distancing guidelines. Even if we were desperate to start by the Governments stage 2 date of the 15th June and allowing 20 people to congregate, only some classes could start if the library allows us to use their full allocation. This will not happen.

The committee is planning another meeting on the 22nd June to review the ever changing situation. We are conscious of our membership demographic and if there is the slightest chance of exposing us to COVID-19 hazards we will likely cancel Term 3 as well.

This leads us to talk about membership payments. Options are next year’s membership will be at a reduced fee or no fees for continuing membership. We will also attempt to replicate next year’s program from this year provided the tutors and instructors are available and agree.

Now I realize that a lot of have been housebound and think you have missed out on that important exercise that we need. So I have included the following to make you feel better and less guilty of watching too much television.

Most seniors never get enough exercise. In His wisdom, God decreed that seniors become forgetful so they would have to search for their glasses, keys and other things, thus doing more walking. And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God saw there was another need. In His wisdom He made seniors lose co-ordination so they would drop things, requiring them to bend, reach and stretch. And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God considered the function of bladders and decided seniors would have additional calls of nature, requiring more trips to the bathroom, thus providing more exercise. God looked down and saw that it was good.

So if you find as you age, you are getting up and down more, remember it's God's will. It is all in your best interest even though you mutter under your breath.

And finally for all the long suffering men out there:  

Thoughts and prayers go out to all the married men who’ve spent months telling the wife 

“I’ll do that when I have the time”

Yours sincerely,  

Len Spaans 

President, U3A Clarence

President's Message March 2020

Welcome to all members of Clarence U3A to another year of exciting activities.
I was elected as your President for 2020 the AGM on 19 February.
As I am new to this position I will therefore introduce myself.
My name is Len Spaans, aged 74, and young at heart but older elsewhere.
I am a retired professional engineer with a background in military research. In the late 1990's and before moving to Tasmania in 2006 my wife Gay and I belonged to the U3A on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland where I was the newsletter editor.
I am pleased to be supported by a committee that you are all familiar with and with their support and guidance I hope to serve you into year 2020.


President, U3A Clarence

President's Message January 2020

As we enter 2020 I am astonished.  I am only just getting used to the fact that the 21 Century has arrived and now 20 years have passed by.  Not where has the past year gone to? But how have the last 20 years slipped past?

This time of year is also one of remembering, which can be both comforting and sad.  I was lucky I had wonderful Christmases as a child and remember the excitement of anticipation, helping my mother with Christmas decorations and present wrapping.  Also I remember my joy at preparing Christmas for my similarly excited children.  Now we do not have little ones near us to celebrate with part of the shine has gone.  Still - sitting on our patio with a cup of coffee or a good red I can enjoy the memories and remember members of my family and friends  no longer with me.  I forget their foibles and just have warm memories of the good times.

Personally, my efforts in late 2019 have borne fruit.  I am now enjoying potatoes, beetroot, silver beet, zucchinis and runner beans.  They always seem to taste better when home grown, picked then taken straight to the pot or table.  The tomatoes are very slow though.  There is real benefit from growing our own vegetables; it reminds us that, as always, the seasons are refreshed each year, which makes me quite positive about time passing.

Recently we have had three falcons or small eagles in our garden.  They are a sheer joy to watch and we are amused at the antics of the native noisy minors trying to protect their patch and drive them off.  I think the falcons are young because they do not seem to have much success in hunting rabbits which are multiplying like, well, like rabbits. 

This Newsletter contains our program for 2020.  Thanks to the work of our Course Programmer Carol and our volunteer lecturers we have a full and exciting program for you.  As usual I am faced with the dilemma of choosing, there always seems to be more than I can possibly attend.

I would like to remind you of our Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 19 February from 1.30 to 3.30 pm in room 6.  We will have a scrumptious afternoon tea and an interesting guest speaker.  Please join us for this important and essential activity to support the efforts of your Committee and other volunteers over the past year.

This is my last President’s message; my three years are up.  I will be continuing on the committee and enjoying your company in 2020.

Thank you all for your wonderful support and magnificent sense of humour during the last three years.  I appreciate it very much.

Jocelyn  Head

President, U3A Clarence

President's Message November 2019


We are now at the end of our successful 2019 and looking forward to the Christmas break. It is also the last term of my tenure as President of U3A Clarence.

During each and every term day of activities the success of our organisation rests on the help provided by many of our members.

The work of the set up crew makes sure that when our lecturers arrive the rooms are prepared for them and us to start on time and with ease. Their work also means that the morning tea is set up and ready for us to relax for a few minutes to chat to friends. Getting up early enough to start the set up at 8.50 is I think a remarkable gift they give to the U3A Clarence organisation and us as members.

Our lecturers and facilitators give us their time in each session but also untold hours of preparation. These people of course are the heart of U3A Clarence. They are the very point of our gathering together. I am continually amazed at the range and depth of the content of lectures and the extent of our other activities.

At morning tea another group of people wait on us to pour out the tea or coffee and do the washing up and more of us help to clear up the room ready for the next session.

Some of the activities of our volunteers are not obvious because they occur at times other than Mondays and Wednesdays, perhaps in the holiday breaks. Committee members also work in the background to ensure the smooth running of our organisation.

We are very fortunate that all of these members care about our aims and pitch in to help. I am sure that you appreciate their efforts as I do.

On a personal level I have been supported in many ways by many of our members. Your advice, goodwill, appreciation, and support have made my presidency a pleasure. In addition you laugh at all my jokes.

Thank you all very much.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude” AA Milne

Wishing you all an enjoyable and restful break

Jocelyn  Head

President, U3A Clarence

President's Message October 2019


Kindness, the small acts of assistance and consideration for others is, I think, an inherent part of human nature just as much as aggression and competition.  Very small children often display acts of kindness.

Usually we see kindness as a small voluntary almost reflexive gesture of assistance to a stranger but of course it includes good manners which in essence tell us how to be kind and considerate to others (Unless the manners become rigid etiquette.)

Good manners and kindness extend to friends and family as well as strangers.  We can often forget to say thank you and be kind to our closest family from habit or frequency of cohabitation.  Still a thank you is often really valuable.

Kindness gives the receiver help and a positive feeling to get through a difficulty.  Just opening a door for someone makes them feel good and gives us positive feedback.  Very often the small kindnesses recognise the bridge or connection between us all.  We recognise our common humanity and the knowledge that we feel the same at different times.

Very often the benefit flowing to the beneficiary is out of all proportion to the cost of the small act to the giver and we are all glad of a little help from time to time

After a small act of kindness we gain for ourselves a positive feeling. It is very good for our health because good deeds release serotonin and oxytocins which over time improve our life, health and longevity.  A small act of kindness has also been shown scientifically to reduce our own anxiety as indeed it does for the receiver of a kind act.  Kindness has also been shown to reduce inflammation.

Kindness then is better than any feel good medication.

So we should choose to be kind.  Although deliberate actions to help our own well being are really not kindness, which is spontaneous, still if we practice some thing for own benefit it helps the receiver and we soon do so out of habit.  Just as good manners are taught to children by their parents but become ingrained in later times.

A recent article in the New Scientist makes the case that nurture, kindness and altruism arose as an evolutionary by-product of warm bloodedness* so we cannot help but be kind, it is basic to our nature. 

 "Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness." -Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Jocelyn  Head

President, U3A Clarence

* Professor Patricia Churchland    Why Do We care?  (New Scientist 28 September 2019)

President's Message August 2019


We like to feel that we are in control of our lives, ourselves and our surroundings as much as possible.  We want to be free to choose outcomes and options for our future.

With the exchange of goods would have come the exchange of knowledge and more and more sophistication ways of living (and unfortunately warfare).  This has been going on for thousands of years.  The Phoenicians (from the Levant) traded with many nations through sea routes (Britain for tin) but also had extensive trade networks through Turkey, Persia and Mesopotamia.

There are arguments that we do not in fact have free will and the freedom to choose our future. These arguments fall mainly into three categories, theological, philosophical and biological. Each of these views presents conflicts of outcomes or and if accepted can affect our outlook on life and our sense of well-being.

The theological argument postulates an all-knowing supreme spiritual being aware of the future, who chooses or determines our path, consequently deciding whether we die in a catastrophe or if it the person next to us who dies. This argument can lead to the individual believing that they are the special chosen one. However, it can conflict with the idea that we can choose to please the Supreme Being by repenting sins and living the wholesome life it prefers. How can we have the choice to repent if the Supreme Being knows everything and has ordained the future. It is a paradox.

The philosophical argument states that as we interact with others we are affected by their actions and the environment about us. This determines our next actions and the range of possible outcomes. As this ripple effect spreads it is argued that our exercise of free will is entirely determined by past events and the actions of others before us.  Therefore, free will and our actual ability to choose is an illusion.

The biological argument states that we are controlled by our genes, how they have reacted with the environment and the chemical state of our bodies.  So we do not choose to drink we are driven to drink by our bodies need to for fluid.  Some studies indicate the brain exhibits mental signs of muscle activity indicating action before we are aware of choosing to act.  It follows that free will is an illusion of our mind but physically we have no choice.

Are we happy; is this a choice or a biological and chemical innate reaction?  Do we choose to be sad or pessimistic?  Is it our nature or our reaction to the world around us or a combination of the two beyond our control?

In the end my mind boggles. I prefer to think that I have the choice even when I understand the arguments against free will. This is why I will happily read our program for term 3 being quite sure that I am able to choose whatever course I prefer.

I hope you also enjoy choosing from our excellent program.

As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it. 

.Jocelyn  Head

President, U3A Clarence

President's Message June 2019

Trade, the lubricant of civilisation

The earliest form of trade was bartering.  Exchanging something we own, make or can easily obtain, for something we cannot make or is made from materials we cannot obtain.  At first this was between tribal members and then between adjoining tribes. As each tribe bartered with neighbours, the chain of bartering grew longer and longer.  Archaeological digs show many cases when goods from remote areas are found amongst ancient burial sites.

With the exchange of goods would have come the exchange of knowledge and more and more sophistication ways of living (and unfortunately warfare).  This has been going on for thousands of years.  The Phoenicians (from the Levant) traded with many nations through sea routes (Britain for tin) but also had extensive trade networks through Turkey, Persia and Mesopotamia.

We recognise the most famous trade route through Eurasia as the Silk Road because the Chinese Han Dynasty officially opened and documented trade with the West in 130 B.C.  Because silk was entrancing and highly desirable the trade flourished.  One of the main reasons was that the Chinese Emperor Wu wanted free access to the “Heavenly Horses” of Fergana in Uzbekistan.  These were bigger and stronger than the existing Chinese horses and were superior in warfare. These horses were also valued by the Persians in the West so the trading had been going on for centuries or millenniums before this.

(As an interesting aside, after the Ottomans in 1405  closed the Silk road through Turkey to the West, trade with Russia flourished and in the 17th Century the Russians had a monopoly of rhubarb considered essential to keep the British healthy and regular.)

Although money and the exchange of goods for gold was well established by then there was still the physical transfer of goods across the miles of the trade routes.  A more sophisticated method of trade was enabled by the Dutch invention of the limited liability company and the establishment of sea routes around the world.  Basically we value trade as the exchange of physical goods.

Arbitrage was an advance in earning money through trade.  It is the simultaneous buying and selling of securities, currency, or commodities in different markets or in derivative forms in order to take advantage of differing prices for the same asset.  This can mean small profits per item with large volumes and any actual exchange of goods taking place either at a distance or close by.  It can avoid trade sanctions between the countries in which the principles reside.

Current arbitrage can mean the electronic buying and selling of stocks or futures in split second trading.  Of course stocks and futures do have goods at the end of a long chain but it can be very difficult to unravel the links

Somehow trade as the exchange of physical goods seems morally more correct than arbitrage.

Today the re-emergence of the Central Asian states (the “Stans”) aided by China will change the trade and civilisations of all parties involved and the far west as well.  Sea routes will still dominate trade because of the ability to transfer vast amounts of physical goods much cheaper than land routes.  As the ice melts and ships can traverse the other half of the world via Antarctica relationships between nations and civilisation will continue to change, grow and shape our world views.

As always.

.Jocelyn  Head

President, U3A Clarence

Extracts from The Golden Road to Samarkand by James Elroy Flecker

We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further; it may be
Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow
Across that angry or that glimmering sea,

White on a throne or guarded in a cave
There lies a prophet who can understand
Why men were born: but surely we are brave,
Who take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

Sweet to ride forth at evening from the wells
When shadows pass gigantic on the sand,
And softly through the silence beat the bells
Along the Golden Road to Samarkand.

We travel not for trafficking alone;
By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:
For lust of knowing what should not be known,
We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

President's Message May 2019

Garden hopes 

At this time of the year I look at my vegetable garden with sadness and think of the successes or the disasters with a view to deciding what to bother with next year.

Usually I have self-seeded silver beet, but this year the possums managed to scale the fence around the vegetable bed. They have eaten all of our silver beet, and we did not get one strawberry nor any unbitten tomatoes. They have even discovered, to my amazement, that rhubarb leaves are edible. I always thought that rhubarb leaves were poisonous, but it seems that they may be for us but not for possums because their numbers have not declined. At least our potatoes were a success and our runner beans.

Another problem this year is the drought. We do water the vegetables but it is not as good as a soaking rain. Several years of drought plus infestations of corbie and curl grubs plus rabbits and wallabies mean that we have large, absolutely bare patches of dirt. Even dandelions and thistles do not seem to have survived.

The shrubbery around the house has also been severely affected. Plants under stress are very easy pickings. Rabbits and wallabies are eating native plants they have never touched before. The wallaby has even taken a liking to grevillea and fuchsia flowers.

Tasmania was much wetter when we moved to Acton 40 years ago, and we had some interesting small native plants in my garden, white and pink heaths, daniellas, blue sun orchids, running postman, bearded and other greenhood orchids and many more. Of about 20 native small plants, I think we have only about half a dozen left. In the past two years even banksia marginatas, a local Tasmanian small coastal tree, have given up.

The garden is still a delight and allows me to accept that the seasons come and go forever without regard for my hopes and expectations. Despite the set backs and at times screaming frustration I am addicted to gardening and nurseries, which is not a bad thing considering the alternative addictions.

We have improved the fencing around the vegetables and prepared the beds for next year. I will plant pinkeyes; my runner beans will come up, and I will protect the bases with chicken wire. I will fertilise the rhubarb and plant pumpkins and zucchinis and hope for the best. I do not have the heart for any strawberries but may succumb to tomato plants. As an amateur gardener my hope springs eternal that next year I will get a truly bumper crop without disappointment despite all past evidence to the contrary.

One thing I am quite sure will not be a disappointment is my enjoyment of U3A courses in this the second term of 2019.

Jocelyn  Head

President, U3A Clarence

President's Message April 2019


Words are magic.  They describe physical objects and environments in a way that we agree is appropriate.  For example, we agree that “table” is an appropriate designation for a board on legs. They are also magic because they convey ideas and concepts and provide connections between individuals.  They are used to describe feeling, emotions and ideas and can be used to tell stories, sacred and profane, which amuse or closely link groups, families or nations.  They convey meaning only to the particular language group otherwise they are just markings on paper.  In themselves they may be depicted in beautiful forms.  The Muslim cursive script is used as wonderful decoration in mosques and the illustrations of old mediaeval manuscripts are also a delight.

English is rich because it can adapt new concepts and borrow from other languages.  The centuries of invasions and migrations of many people and the enforcement of their language gives us Celtic Norse, Norman, and Latin words. This is why we have more than one word for many things so can distinguish different forms, cattle, cows and beef, sheep lamb and mutton, pigs and pork

Foreign words which have no English equivalent are happily incorporated.  Ennui (French) and doppelganger (German) are just two examples. German just seems to add to an existing word and so has claim to the longest words in any language.   As Mark Twain put it, "Some German words are so long that they have perspective."

Frequently when we see people speaking a foreign language on the news the English subtitles can be read well before the speaker is finished.  For example, a thatched cottage is chaumiere in French but casa de campo con techo de paja in Italian.  The English seems much more concise.  In compensation Italian seems so well suited to the joy of operatic singing.

English has limitations, however.  Apparently, Inuit has about 40 words for snow and apparently the Scots have over 400 which I think says much for Scottish weather.  However, English has only one word for love, from the trivial to the deepest emotion.  I love your new coat and I love my child.  This most probably says quite a lot about English speakers!

We are also happy adopting new words. Shakespeare invented many new words still in use.  Each year the Macquarie Dictionary incorporates new words and deletes some out of favour. This year a new word was one close to my heart it is Tartle. This means 'the act of hesitating while introducing someone because you've forgotten their name'

A few words to consider.

Fine words butter no parsnips.

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help. (Ronald Reagan)

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words, like 'What about lunch?' (A. A. Milne)

Jocelyn "Tartle" Head

President, U3A Clarence

President's Message March 2019


How wonderful it is to hear rain after a drought.  The early February rains this year were very welcome, refreshing my just about dead garden and useful for dowsing the Huon fires, a little late but still very well received.

In December 2016 we purchased a new fancy up-to-the-minute sit on mower for our 5 acres.  The old one was no longer repairable.  It did not owe us anything, we had had it for over 45 years and it was second hand when we bought it.  The new one has a timer to tell you how many hours it has been used and after 10 hours you should return it to the supplier for a free service.  After 19 months it had been used for just over 4 hours because it had been so dry and no grass grew.  In the next two months we used it for another 7 hours because of the spring rains that arrived just in time to destroy the tomato plants I had just put in. Such is life!

Recent widespread drought made life unbelievably hard for rural farmers (putting my moans to shame) and in part led to the devastating fish loss on the Darling.  However the recent record floods have caused havoc, much stock loss and people facing the destruction of their possessions and having to clean out muddy homes.  So as humans and Australians we have conflicting views of the joy of the welcome essential rain and the awe of the devastation of too much too quickly.

Rain can be enjoyed though. In wetter places in the world there is always a line of different sized wellington boots at the door and rain gear and umbrellas’ waiting in the hallway; well protected walking in the rain can be quite entrancing.  I am sure dog owners often secretly like walking their dogs in the rain as long as they get out of the way when the dog shakes itself on returning home.

We are all fascinated by water, as children puddles are irresistible.  In the heat of summer the hose or fountains or a pool attract us.  Very often we are fascinated by a good strong downpour providing we are inside looking out.  I have friends who enjoy rainy days because it gives them the opportunity to do lots of baking.  I enjoy them because it is a good excuse to snuggle up with a good book

My most memorable rain memory is driving home down Acton Road in the pouring rain with thousands of tiny new frogs hopping across the road it was impossible to miss them all.  I still would not believe it could have happened but my husband was with me and he also remembers it.

Behind every cloud there is a silver lining we are told.  Does this means that behind every silver lining there is a thunderous dark cloud waiting to dump on us?  If so we should make sure we have our umbrella close at hand even on the most supreme sunny days, just in case.

We have beautiful bad weather here at present –rain, wind thunder- but with splendid effects; that’s why I like it.

Vincent Van Gough

I hope we all have splendid rainy weather but not until we are inside Rosny Library!

Jocelyn Head

President's Message January 2019


I can clearly remember the day when, aged 4, I fell into a pond. I can remember the blue sky looking up, how my feet slipped on slimy leaves and I fell repeatedly in trying to get up. It is as though I were still there. Yet it is over 70 years ago and I have not thought about it for over 40 years until my sister recently asked about this often repeated family story from before she was born.

I have a friend who has a complete visual memory of the physical details of her classroom on her first day of school. I can only remember that on this long awaited day (when I knew I would be grown up) that the girl next to me was in tears and I could not understand why. I have no other memory of that day at all.

It is amazing that a collection of atoms form into brain neurons which in some way imprint and contain our memories. The actual process is not understood and when it is discovered it may increase our sense of wonder rather than diminish the mystery.

The brain which (in most cases) could be held inside two hands enables us to learn to dance and sing, remember complex musical arrangements and an enormous variety of combinations of all three. In addition we are able to contemplate the extremely small but still to lift our gaze to the vastness of space (which makes my head hurt). Please don’t talk about quantum mechanics!

“Memory is the mother of all wisdom” Aeschylus (525-455 BC)

One of the beauties of our memory is that it can fade. PTSD sufferers long for forgetfulness, to relieve them from the constant mental re-enactment of their trauma.

Forgetting also means we can learn the same thing over and over as though it was new. I just wish my forgetting did not include the inability to remember names which is more distressing to me than forgetting my keys!

To me all learning includes a remembering of old things which the new can refresh and enlarge.

Three quotes again from Aeschylus sum up the joy of learning for me “Even the old should learn”, “To learn is to be young forever.” and “Learning is ever in the freshness of its youth, even for the old”.

So bring your razor sharp or very foggy memory to U3A in Term1 2019. There is sure to be something to interest you in our new program.



June 2018

President’s Message June 2018
Old Age is the most unexpected thing that can happen to anyone

This is so true.  I was at a family gathering recently and was amazed that the little tots I remember are now handsome and beautiful teenagers. How did that happen?  I used to feel sorry for my grandparents sitting quietly in a corner and seemingly missing out on all the chat.  Now I really enjoy sitting in the corner and keeping an eye on all the activity.

When I married I could not imagine being 30 let alone over 70.  We just cannot comprehend that this will happens.  All of us look at our friends or partners and the mirror and are amazed at the changes which have crept over us all.   However, no one told me that it is possible to enjoy older age so much.  Of course we are a bit creaky but we can truly enjoy a new baby’s laughter and a toddler’s unfailing energy at play.  We fully appreciate the passing seasons and the beautiful views we have in Tasmania.

As teenagers we worried about personal characteristics we considered as shortcomings without realizing our young perfection.  Now I understand that my friends with their experience imprinted faces are truly beautiful.  Teenagers and babies are exquisitely ravishing beyond description.

Another advantage is that people help you.  At 50 we become invisible (women especially) in queues.  Now as elders we often receive attention and help.

Don’t give up your dreams
Just sleep longer


TMAG Outings
We have arranged two conducted tours of TMAG’s special collections. I can recommend their café for morning tea and they have fabulous sandwiches.  There will be booking sheets for names and more details on the notice board in Room 6.  Cost is $5.
Thursday July 5th 10.30 to 11.30        Colonial History Galleries
Thursday July 19th10.30 to 11.30       Tasmanian Earth and Life, Thylacine, Islands to Ice
As a coincidence, there is also a special exhibition of the work of Lola Green, the first Aboriginal to be named a National Living Treasure.  She is a shell necklace artist and exhibits the traditional art of indigenous women of Tasmania’s Flinders Island and Cape Barren.  Well worth a diversion at the end of your tour.
Quiz afternoon
Thursday August 9 at the Howrah Recreational Centre 1-3pm.  This is always a fun event and a pleasant afternoon tea. Cost will still be $10.
Anniversary Booklet
Proudly supported by Clarence City Council’s Community Grants Scheme

Clarence City Council has given us a generous Community Grant to offset some of the costs of publication of our Anniversary Booklet.  This will allow us to sell the booklet for $10.
You have until 30 June to submit your pithy paragraph, pertinent poem or piece of punchy prose to be included.  Email contributions to Patricia Corby   A box for entries is on the table in room 6.  Details are on our notice board in room 6.

President's Message May 2018


A helping hand

Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. Babies, of course, need constant care. As we grow we pride ourselves on our competence and independence but still help is welcomed at times (including old ladies being helped across the street by boy scouts, even if they don’t want to go!)

There is an Arab saying to the following effect: “Do not thank me for the assistance or gift I give you, instead do a favour for 7 other people.” The size of the assistance is immaterial; it is expected to be in line with the resources of the giver and the need of the recipient. Thus it may be a pat on the back for commiseration, helping carry a parcel or a major undertaking on the assister’s behalf. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could all follow this proverb?

Members of U3A contribute to our organisation as members or past members of the committee, part of the set up crew, washer uppers and morning tea volunteers and in many other ways. This year we seem to have a small army of people helping with the anniversary celebrations in some way or another.

Many of our members also volunteer for charitable organisations or are on committees for other organisations. Of course many of us care for older or sick family members. We often assist our children to bring up our grandchildren and give them our support where possible.

Sometimes all the help needed is a sympathetic smile, a listening ear, a hug or offering the help we are able to give. We respect their refusal of help accepting that this may not be what is needed.

The good wishes of friends and acquaintances can be a good support. When I was ill last year our Committee did most of my work for months. But I was surprised by the boost that the good wishes of all of you made to my getting through the days.

I joined U3A for the lectures and activities and still that is the prime reason I attend, but I am proud to be a colleague of such caring and helpful people as we have in our membership.

Jocelyn Head

Honorary President of U3A Clarence

President's Message February 2018

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Welcome back to our Summer Term 2018

U3A Clarence has been providing quality lectures and other activities to Clarence residents and beyond since 1993.  This year we celebrate our 25th anniversary in October.

I wonder if the small group who initiated our organisation realised how successful it would be and that it would grow to well over 300 members. Truly from small things large things grow (to coin a phrase!).

On the theme of growing, it is apparently possible to grow new brain cell whatever age we are.  Learning something new or enjoying new activities is apparently all it takes.

This is just as well.  I seem to have lost quite a few as I can tell from the time I spend wandering from room to room looking for something I have just put down.

So while we are sitting in lectures, learning new routines in line dancing, scheming new strategies in Mah Jong or drawing a new scene we can perhaps, if we try really hard, feel our brains expanding.  I doubt it but it is an amusing thought.

Information about current activities and courses for this term can be found in the Newsletter on this website.  Once again our course programmer, Carol Rossendell and our volunteer Tutors have provided an exciting program. My only difficulty is that there is almost always more than one lecture or event, which I would like to attend, at the same time spot.  It requires much brain cell activity on my part to choose one.

You may just take one activity each term or three on each morning of Monday and Wednesday. It is entirely up to you depending, upon your interest and available time.

Another aspect of a healthy brain at any age is to have a good social circle. We join together at 10.30 am for a cup of tea or coffee in room 6 at the library where lectures are held. Here we can discus ideas raised in our lectures or just chat with old or new friends.  I look forward to seeing you there

I welcome both continuing and new members

Jocelyn Head
President U3A Clarence


President's Message September 2017

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Welcome back to our Spring Term 2017

We are starting our spring program. As well as our usual activities some members will be heading to Shene and others look forward to tours of TMAG.

At the end of the term we will be celebrating our Christmas Luncheon on Monday 27th November.

I often find it amusing that I can still be surprised by the variations in the weather and deceived by one warm day into thinking winter has finished. Saturday 2 September was a lovely warm and sunny day and we had morning tea sitting on a friend’s porch. The rest of the week brought me back to winter. As Charles Dickens said in Great Expectations: “spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade”.

Spring cleaning is best left until next year when it will again be considered. I have always avoided herculean efforts to clean the whole house in one burst.

Ah, but spring in the garden is a different matter! Daffodils, hyacinths, flowering rosemary and magnolias lift our spirits. Annuals planted adjoining the Clarence Council Chambers and the verges around the Hobart Roundabout give a lovely splash of colour. I appreciate them because my resident wallabies and rabbits just think I plant annuals as their spring greens.

We have been fortunate to be visited by over two dozen Black Mountain Yellow Tailed Cockatoos recently. We used to see them occasionally in twos or threes and only in the coldest winter weather. They are very partial to Banksia cones; they eat the seeds from the cones but also, for some reason, cut off the last couple of feet from the branches. Admittedly I intended to prune the Banksia this year but they have reduced an eight foot high shrub to a six foot straggly mess. The other tragedy is that they have eaten all the flower buds on the adjacent magnolia which previously bloomed every year since planted by my sister in 1977.

In addition the rosellas eat the buds on my flowering cherry. So we will have little in the way of spring blooms this year. It is just as well that I have a sense of humour.

We are lucky with our birds, not only these big cockatoos and rosellas, but also butcher birds, magpies, native hens, plovers, sulphur crested cockatoos, galahs and the charming native noisy miners. These are like a tribe of jealous fish wives constantly trying to ward off intruders and claim the garden for their own.

The harm they do to my plans for the garden is offset by the delight of their company.

Hoping you find much to enjoy in our program this term and, hopefully, some warm weather.

Jocelyn Head
President U3A Clarence


President's Message August 2017

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Update to Members - August 2017

The original concept of U3A was to extend the intellectual learning life of older individuals.  U3A Clarence does indeed provide intellectual stimulation with a varied program of lectures.

There are no defined age requirements but is usually for those 50 to 55 and older.  All are welcome regardless of interests and backgrounds.

Like other universities we also enjoy social activities, art and physical exercise sessions. Unlike universities for the young there are no exams.  Nor are there any competitive components, except perhaps in Mah-jong.  We get together to exercise our minds and bodies at entirely our own pace, just cooperation, enjoyment and mutual support.

Our varied activities cover lectures and discussion groups on geography, science, history, art and issues of topical interest.

For our physical wellbeing we have Tai Chi, line dancing and art and language courses.

As we enter spring and the days grow longer it is easier to take part in the activities of U3A Clarence.

Our autumn program is now available and is as varied as usual.  I am sure there is something of interest for both long term members and newcomers.

New members receive a warm and comfortable welcome.  You may choose to simply attend the sessions you are interested in.  But we hope you will join us for morning tea.

This term we look forward to a trip to Shene House for 5 October.  We will also be visiting the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) for a talk by their staff.  Finally we are looking forward to our end of year Christmas luncheon on 27 November.

So enrol in classes for stimulation and join us in meeting like-minded people in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Jocelyn Head


Update to Members first term 2017

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Update to Members first term 2017

Well first term is over and it’s true to say that it’s been challenging one for you new Committee. Unfortunately Jocelyn our President had a lengthy spell in hospital and on your behalf I wish her a speedy recovery. We also have had a number of resignations for various reasons .  A copy of the current Committee structure is attached here.

However we have a group of new enthusiastic Committee Members who together with some experienced members have met the challenges that 2017 has presented us with. Find out more about your committee members by checking out their bios on our website.

I hope you all enjoyed Term 1 We offered a mix of established programs and some new ones. I particularly enjoyed the Discussion Group sessions which were well facilitated by Carol Rossendell, We certainly covered some diverse subjects and I found it stimulating to hear fellow member’s views on different topics.

We welcomed a number of new members to U3A Clarence in first term and to those people we hope you not only enjoyed the Program but found us friendly and welcoming

The Program for Term two is out now and looks to be a very interesting mix to suit all tastes. It’s now over to you to make your selections and send in your enrolment.

In Term two we are planning a fun filled Trivia afternoon on Thurs July 20 to be held at the Howrah Recreation Centre (see attached flyer) Please come along and support this function, Even if you not a trivia expert you will enjoy the social side of things and of course the afternoon tea

Finally a thank you to my fellow committee members, to all our dedicated Tutors and class representatives, to the set up crews for all their early morning work, to the dedicated morning tea group and to you the members for your ongoing support.
Looking forward to seeing you in term 2

Chris Bishop
Vice President


January 2017

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Jane HallPresident's Message



Happy New Year to all our visitors to this site.   May 2017 bring joy and good health to all.

This will be my final message for our web site. In February I hand over the reins to a new President who will, I am certain, carry U3A Clarence onto newer and better heights.

As always I encourage you to peruse our program and if you are not already a member please give serious consideration to coming along and joining us. We offer something to feed the mind and the body and the social butterfly inside. I believe strongly that we are meeting the needs of almost everyone and our only criterion for joining is retirement or semi-retirement from the work force. There is no age limit, though most of our programs are aimed at the over 50s and our annual membership fee is very reasonable at $45 per annum.

Also, despite our title, there are no academic criteria to meet for joining nor are there any tests, assessments or exams. This is learning for the sake of learning! It is designed to be enjoyable and interactive.

Coming up we have an Enrolment session on February 15th between 10 and 12, you can register and pay your membership fee at the same time if you want.

Then on Wednesday February 22nd between 1.30 and 3.30 we are holding our A.G.M., offering afternoon tea and having a guest speaker.

This year I have invited Chris Downs, Cartoonist to come along and talk with us. I gave him a broad theme of "the development of a political cartoon". I am looking forward to hearing Chris.

I want to thank every member of U3A Clarence for the support I have had over the last three years as your President. I feel honoured to have filled the role and I believe I am leaving a strong organisation for the next President.

Kind Regards

Jane Hall

January 2017


November 2016

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Jane HallPresident's Message


This, my final term as President of U3A Clarence, has presented a very mixed bag of events.

Sadly, many of us joined the sick lists, either because of acute illness or because of surgery. I am discovering that the older we get the more replacement parts we seem to need, be they heart valves, blood vessels or joints. I am sincerely wishing all the best for future health for all those who have been ill this term.

As occasionally happens, we are losing a couple of highly respected and valued members as they move to live in warmer climes "overseas". They leave us at the end of our term, hopefully we won't lose touch with them.

As usually happens, we are gaining so many new and enthusiastic new members. This means we continue to be a large and happy 'family' of people all devoted to the idea of learning something new - whether it be intellectual or practical - and to making new friends, leading a fulfilling and full life in other words.

I look at our programs and the planning already underway for next year and I am reassured that we continue to offer something to meet the needs of a very broad range of people.

My thanks for the smooth running of our group must, as usual go to the very supportive Committee members, to our set up and clean up crews who prepare the rooms for classes and put them back when we are done, to our morning tea ladies who ensure a hot drink and a nibble is there for all to enjoy in a very sociable environment and to our tutors who continue to present very high standard classes.

Please look through our site, look at what we offer, follow the registration and enrolment instructions and come and join us next year. I guarantee you won't regret it.

Jane Hall




August 2016

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Jane HallPresident's Message

I sit here thinking about my message for the end of Term 2 and it dawns on me that I have written some sort of message for this spot several times over the past two and a half years!
I always wonder how I manage to find the words to express what the essence of U3A is, how I manage to express my admiration for all those wonderful people who help keep us functioning.
Perhaps the essence IS those wonderful people who give so freely to our organisation, people like our set-up and clean-up crews, our tutors, the people who organise morning tea and our tireless Committee members.
Perhaps the essence is the members themselves and the friendships and bonds they form. The caring for each other demonstrated in word and deed, the enthusiasm with which they attend classes.
Perhaps it is our ability to find such a wide range of topics and tutors to present them.
Perhaps it is a combination of all the above?
Whatever it is I am reassured that ours is a friendly and welcoming group of people who will work hard to make any new member feel like they belong from day one.
If you peruse our site, check our courses, like what you see then please feel free to come along for a visit, if you are still happy with what we offer then join us - I guarantee you won't regret doing so!
Jane Hall




May 2016

Jane HallPresident's Message

Well, another term is nearly over and it has all run to plan.

I really am impressed by the amount of time and energy is devoted by a few people to keep U3A running as smoothly as it does.

As always my thanks go to the Set-up Crews, the Morning Tea Managers, the Clean-up Crews, the Tutors and all the Committee Members who take on tasks such as Program Development, Registration and Enrolments and Social Activities.

By having such dedicated people we are able to truly meet the needs of our members.

This year I have again introduced something new and have added to the repertoire on this web site. This is a weekly Blog or bulletin/newsletter which is designed to keep anyone using our site informed on a fairly regular basis. Most of the changes I have introduced have been "digital" which fits with preparing U3A for the influx of Baby Boomers as they retire from work.

For anyone who looks at our web site as a non-member please feel free to look around, come along and sample a class or two before making the commitment to join. I feel confident we will have something you are interested in on offer.

Our winter term will soon be on us and so our numbers will be temporarily depleted as several members fly off to warmer climates! I must say I love our seasons (all of them) and I am quite happy staying put! Travel for me is simply reaching a destination in order to visit family interstate or overseas.

Please peruse our site, read some stories, look at some photographs, read our newsletters but above all, consider joining us in person.


Jane Hall



January 2016

Jane HallMay I start by wishing all of you a very happy and prosperous 2016.

It is hard to accept that yet another year has rushed by. Isn't it strange how much faster time passes as we get older?

I do like to think, though that a new year brings with it another 365 - or 366 this year - days to brighten someone else's day with a smile, a cheerful word, a simple gesture. I do try to live with that as a part of my philosophy.

For the visitor to this site we have past and upcoming programs, as well as samples of the writings from the writers and poets groups.

We recognise the need for us to maintain activity in all aspects of our lives and as such we offer courses which stimulate the inner artist, the singers among us, those who aspire to "Poets' corner", the light of foot, the game playing part of our natures as well as the unfulfilled scientist, historian or other intellectual selves.

Look around the site, check us out and then come along and join us.

We welcome visitors who just want to meet us and find out what we are all about so do come along one day and introduce yourself, ask to meet a committee member, ask questions, maybe sit in on a class just to get an idea of what we are all about. No obligation or cost attached to such a visit.

I look forward to seeing members old and new in March.

Jane Hall


November 2015

Jane HallMessage from the President

I am writing this at the close of our year for 2015.  Today we finished with our annual Christmas Luncheon. This is always a popular event enabling many members to come along and mix and mingle, meet others and
spend some time catching up and/or saying farewell before the Christmas season.

All in all it was the usual successful social gathering.  U3A Clarence offers friendship, physical, social and intellectual stimulation and the chance to share knowledge and skills with others. We welcome new members and offer a stimulating range of learning activities. For the visitor to this site we have past and upcoming programs, as well as samples of the writings from the writers and poets groups.

We recognise the need for us to maintain activity in all aspects of our lives and as such we offer courses which stimulate the inner artist, the singers among us, those who aspire to "Poets' corner", the light of foot, the game playing part of our natures as well as the unfulfilled scientist, historian or other intellectual selves.

Look around the site, check us out and then come along and join us in 2016. The courses for Term 1 will be online in the middle of January. Meanwhile may you enjoy the best of the Christmas Season and enjoy a happy New Year.

Jane Hall

August 2015

Jane Hall

In the current economic climate it is refreshing to see something which more than offers value for money!

U3A Clarence does just that.

As you peruse our site and look at the program you will see that we offer a large range of topics to cover a wide range of interests and all for the humble price of $45 a year for singles and $85 a year for couples.

We even reduce that to pro rata per term for anyone joining us mid year.

I am proud to be associated with such a friendly group of people who all either come along and enjoy what we offer or even contribute by offering courses, single talks or assistance with the day to day running of U3A.

We welcome new members (and returning members) to our organisation and will give you a friendly welcome when you come along. We also would be pleased to offer you a cuppa and a chat if you just want to sample us and see for yourself what a class is like.

For those who are interested we also arrange one or two "extra-curricular" outings a term, visits to museums, parks and the like, as well as our annual Christmas party.

We try to cater to the intellectual and physical needs of our members as well as providing a social venue where people can form friendships and gather for conversation and fun.

Please take the time to really look at the site, there is a lot here to enjoy and hopefully whet your appetite for what we offer. Then take the time to check us out in person and maybe join us.

I look forward to seeing you.


Jane Hall


May 2015

Jane Hall

Welcome to the U3A Clarence web site.

I encourage all visitors to browse thoroughly. Take your time, there is a lot to see and absorb. Once you have seen what we have on offer for you then you may consider joining us soon? You are free to attend one class,  six classes or any number in between. The cost is the same, an annual membership fee (pay by term if you prefer) and the cost of any materials you may need for selected classes.

We are lucky that we have so many tutors so willing to give us their time and share their expertise and knowledge so freely and willingly. Without this we would cease to function.

Our members enjoy the classes as well as the social times, such as the morning tea break and outings which are planned during the year. These do give the opportunity to not only gain new knowledge, but also to gain new friends.

The Committee of Management and the members of U3A Clarence offer a warm welcome to anyone wanting to join our ranks.

January 2015

Jane HallNow that Christmas has come and gone I want to wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

I want to thank all those people who helped make the Christmas Luncheon such a success. So many of you contributed in some way so I cannot attempt to mention names as I am bound to leave someone out.  Suffice it to say it was a great time, the food and venue were perfect as always and the entertainment was terrific.  Our first silent auction was well received and we may be able to repeat it in the future. All the money raised by the auction and the raffle went to the A.B.C. Giving Tree as most of the major local charities benefit from it.

I was saddened to learn of the death of one of our founding members, Jannette Fagan. I was unable to attend her funeral but I have had reports that it was well attended by U3A members and a touching eulogy was given by Pat Jeffery at the request of Jannette's family.

Our Course Information day is planned for Thursday February 5th at 2pm in room 6, and our A.G.M. is planned for Thursday February 26th at 10.30am, also in room 6. Details of our guest speaker for the AGM are elsewhere in this newsletter. Please bear in mind that the office bearers of the committee need to be elected/re-elected at the AGM. If you are interested in nominating please phone Joan Carr (6215 1142) for a nomination form. If there are no other nominations then the current office bearers are elected unopposed. These positions are: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and several committee members.

We are introducing electronic payments as an option for you to pay your membership; please look for the details in this newsletter. Possibly the most important things to note are that you must identify who the payment is coming from, and that we still need a paper copy of the Subscription Form with your details.

I think 2015 will be an exciting year with an interesting program on offer as usual, and social functions to look forward to. See you in 2015.

Jane Hall

November 2014

Jane HallOn reaching the end of Term 3 for 2014 I believe it has been a good year with many new members coming along and joining us. It has been a year of innovation which I hope will continue into the future. We now look forward to a long break until we resume classes in March. The dates for the year are to be found on this web site.

Our A.G.M. is scheduled for February 26th at 10.30am.

I encourage anyone visiting this site to have a look at what we offer and if you are not already a member, think about coming along and joining us. There is no pressure and we all come along to learn for the sake of learning, to make new friends and socialise. We have a wide range on offer from practical, hands on classes such as painting through the classics such as poetry and literature and on to the academic such as science.

For me it has been an exciting year and for that I need to thank all those concerned in the smooth running of our organisation - the Committee, the tutors and the members. It only remains to wish you all a very happy Christmas season and a prosperous new year. See you all in 2015.

Jane Hall


April 2014

Jane HallNow that we are working well into our first term together I want to welcome all members back for 2014.

I also want to encourage any non-members among the readers to come along and participate in our program. As you work your way round the website you will see that we offer a huge range of learning opportunities.

Please don’t let the word “university” scare you away, we don’t hold exams or assessments, we are simply keen to further our learning as we progress through life.

Our membership is wide and varied and we are open to anyone who is retired or semi-retired.

We are a totally voluntary organisation and I rely heavily on the committee of management to help us present a smooth operation which can be enjoyed by all who come along.

On May 15th at 2pm at the LINC we will be holding our information afternoon where the tutors talk about the course they are planning for next term, this enables you to refine your choices for term 2, a very worthwhile exercise.

Thank you one and all for placing your trust in me as your President, I will do my best to meet your needs and expectations.

Jane Hall


November 2013

Mickey BenefieldLooking back over the past 3 terms of 2013, I have to think That Was The Year That Was. The major highlight had to be the 20th Anniversary Party and the hugely successful panel discussion on The Value of Lifelong Learning. Congratulations to Rowena McKean and Margaret Rose, along with everyone that assisted in making that such an outstanding event.
There were innovations. We implemented the U3A Course Information day for terms two and three, which will be repeated next year and new access times were imposed by LINC and must be adhered to.
Much hard work was done by the Committee: Terry Mahoney, Sue Storr, Pat Jeffery, Graham Lindridge, Maureen Davoren, Joan Evershed, Keith Hoey and Lesley Thomson our Program Officer. New members Jan Greig, Jane Hall, and Helen Lawrence lost no time in making major contributions. I wouldn't have survived without the aid of John Coll.
We are also indebted to Frank Brown, John Hooper, John Olding, Colin Pyefinch, Launa Turner, Julie Bullen, Esma Woolley, Joan Carr, Peter Stevenson and Barry Turner for their 'non-committee' help, and for setting up each day (40 tables, 200+ chairs, 5 computers and morning tea). There are more names that deserve recognition, but not enough space.
Now for The Year That Will Be, 2014.

Classes will start on Wednesday, 12th March 2014, with a very full program of courses to choose from for Term 1.

Please attend the Annual General Meeting at 10.30 am on Thursday, February 27, 2014. Put it in your diary. We urge more of you to become involved in Committee Membership to ensure continuity and good leadership of our U3A into the future.

A few of the old hands will be happy to pass over the reins during the next twelve months.

Annual fees remain unchanged for 2014 and we will be relying more and more on Email to distribute newsletters and other notices of importance to those who have access. I am looking forward to seeing you at the Christmas Luncheon on 26th November.

If you are unable to attend, have a most enjoyable and safe time over the holiday break.

Mickey Benefiel,