Celebration of U3A’s 30th Anniversary and Launch of the Commemorative book, Forever Learning
Councillor Howard and Councillor Murphy; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure to join you in celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of U3A in Brisbane.
The arrival of the U3A concept in Australia in the mid-1980s pre-dates the current and welcome discussions on the best ways for Australians to remain active – in body and mind – from age 55 onwards. That’s at least one qualification I meet with ease!
In that respect, U3A is a trend-setter. This should be no surprise, because so many people who have themselves reached the ‘Third Age’ were involved in the creation of U3A Brisbane and the opportunities for continuing intellectual, physical, and social growth that it offers.
The Brisbane Branch of U3A has now been serving its community in this way for three decades.
One of the extraordinary aspects of this achievement is that an organisation with a membership approaching 4,000, offering 260 courses across 40 venues, is driven by volunteers, including the management committees and tutors who are the backbone of the organisation.
The range of activities that U3A Brisbane has offered over 30 years is mind-boggling – everything from Ancient Greek to Computer Classes, from overseas visits to synchronised swimming.
U3A has not only reached out to the over-55s, it has also tapped into the vast reservoir of knowledge and experience that this group represents.
I thank Ian Lipke and June Morris for their skill in telling this wonderful story in their book, so aptly titled Forever Learning.
On the surface, the book is a narrative about the establishment and growth of U3A in Brisbane.
But it is also a story of determination, grit, guts and hard work on the part of the organisation’s pioneers, and of all those who have followed them, in overcoming the many challenges involved.
It is a story, too, of joy, fun, friendship and gratitude, an embodiment of the cheekily defiant remark by Charles M Schultz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, that it’s only when you’re over the hill that you begin to pick up speed.
Today, on behalf of the people of Queensland, I extend my sincere thanks and congratulations to all the officer-holders, staff, tutors, supporters, sponsors, and participants who have made U3A Brisbane possible. I wish U3A many more decades of success.
With the greatest of pleasure, I now officially launch the U3A commemorative book, Forever Learning.