Hawthorn University of the Third Age

Game of mahjong at U3A Hawthorn
Game of mahjong at U3A Hawthorn

Established in 1984, Hawthorn played a major part in the establishment of U3A Network Victoria and in assisting other U3As to commence. For almost 20 years it operated under the auspices of Swinburne University from a shared terrace house in Hawthorn, then in 2004 moved to its current site in Glen Iris. Near Gardiners Creek, with the adjacent wetlands, it provides a delightful bushland setting.

The freshly renovated campus, generously provided by Boroondara Council, provides a quality learning environment to support the activities of the almost 1500 Third Age learners, many of whom attend classes and activities several times a week.

For an annual fee of $50 members can access almost 200 courses and activities. The emphasis is on year-long courses, supported by many short courses and single unit activities with invited guest speakers, musical presentations and other events. Courses include: Languages, Indoor/Outdoor Exercise, Music, Games, Craft, History, Law, Economics, Book Groups, Creative Writing, Drama, Film Appreciation, IT, Photography, Science, Philosophy and Current Affairs.

U3A Hawthorn is the only U3A in Australia with a full-size orchestra. It presents three concerts a year for members and also a short concert at a local primary school where some of the students get to conduct the orchestra. A Summer School operates during January. There are no subject fees charged, no examinations and as a result no qualifications are awarded! Learners work at their own pace supported by the Tutor and other class members.

In common with most other U3As, Hawthorn U3A has no paid staff. All Tutors/Leaders, Office Staff, Office Bearers and Committee of Management give generously of their time to ensure the organisation thrives. Thousands of hours of voluntary time go into the maintenance of operation and support areas and all members are encouraged to give some form of voluntary support each year. A spirit of cooperation, sharing of expertise and commitment to the provision of a highquality program enables the organisation to operate very effectively.

The year commences in February, ending the first week in December. Apart from classes, members enjoy socialising with people with similar interests and shared experiences. U3A Hawthorn’s website is easily navigated and provides comprehensive information for members, intending members and the general public.

On Saturday 5 October 2019 everyone is welcome to attend our Open Day, which is held in association with Seniors Week. Experience music items, displays of work, chat to members and Management Committee and enjoy refreshments. Otherwise call our office between 9:30am and 4pm to make an appointment to visit us.

On Sunday 6 October 2019, during Seniors Week, a Wind Octet from the orchestra will play at a concert at Deakin Edge, Federation Square at 12:30pm.

Come and join an organisation which fosters lifelong learning, healthy leisure activities and provides an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends in a supportive learning environment. U3A Hawthorn, 26 Sinclair Ave, Glen Iris. Ph. 9821 0282. Email: mail@u3ahawthorn.org.au

Following a public meeting in Melbourne in July 1984 to gauge public interest in a University of the Third Age, U3A began in Australia. The term “university” is used in the original and medieval sense of an association or community of teachers and scholars united in the pursuit of knowledge. Third Age refers to the life period of active retirement which follows the first age of childhood and formal education and the second age of working life, and which precedes the fourth age of dependence. The first U3A was established in Melbourne City, followed by another in Hawthorn; the first courses were offered at the start of 1985. During that year, U3As at Monash and Ringwood were inaugurated. There are now more than 100 U3As in Victoria with some 24 800 members and more than 100 Australia-wide, with a total national membership exceeding 40 000. U3As are established as autonomous groups, with their own administration and curriculum according to the needs and interests of each group. Per head of population, the Australian U3A movement has the greatest number of U3A groups in the world and continues to expand.