North Coast (Hamersley)

U3A North Coast Meetings are held each Friday at the Stirling Leisure Centre Hamersley, 20 Belvedere Road (off Beach Road Hamersley).   We are an active group of 200+ and welcome New Members.

Our main presentation starts at 1pm each Friday, with a program of interesting and informative speakers (and occasional live music) on a varied range of topics for those interested in both learning and staying informed, and is followed by a sumptuous afternoon tea within a happy social network.

Our Friday activities start at 11.30 am with a Music Appreciation presentation by a member on the 1st Friday each month, Book Club and Discussion Group (2nd Friday), Games (3rd Friday) and Poetry Group (4th Friday). Bring your own lunch and stay for the 1 pm presentation. A special event or outing is arranged when there is a fifth Friday in a month. 

Click for the detailed program

Activity
Scheduled
Time
Venue
Contact
Phone
Book Club
2nd Friday
11:30 AM
Stirling Leisure Centre
Anka
0450 100 801
Discussion Groups
2nd Friday
11:30 AM
Stirling Leisure Centre
Dee
0451 100 801
Games
3rd friday
11:30 AM
Stirling Leisure Centre
Dee
0451 100 801
Music Appreciation
1st Friday
12:30 PM
Stirling Leisure Centre
Dee
0451 100 801
Poetry
4th Friday
11:30 AM
Stirling Leisure Centre
John
0451 100 801

 3 May 24 – The Road to York – presented by Liz Parker

3 May 24 The Road to York presented by Liz Parker

North Coast member Liz Parker, until recently a 26-year resident of York, took us on a historical journey, explaining the trials and tribulations in building a viable road from Guildford to York. With insufficient arable land to support its new settlers, the road was critical to the early development of the Swan River Colony, with the Governor sending men to cross the Darling Escarpment in search of new farmland, leading in 1831 to the opening of the Avon Valley to settlers. The road was later to play an important role moving people, water, and materials to the WA Goldfields.

Liz outlined the different routes the road took in its early days; notable events during its construction; settlements, inns, campsites and waterholes, depots built, many still intact or visible ruins; the role played by convict labour; the tensions between the indigenous peoples, road builders, and settlers over access to land and water-courses, which led to the formation of an Indigenous Police Auxiliary to reduce tensions; the convict rebellion and storming of the York races; and the people important in the roads development; and those of folk-lore, such as the convict turned bushranger Moondyne Joe.

3 May 24 Music Appreciation – French Accordion Dances – presented by Joan Samuel

3 May 24 French Accordian Music presented by Joan Samuel

Joan played her favourite French Piano Accordion dance music, briefly explaining the music’s origins. An added highlight was the appearance of Bill Berry, an accordion player from his younger days, adding a presence to Joan’s music selections. Many thanks to both Joan and Bill for an entertaining presentation. Join us for our Music Appreciation presentations at 11 am on the first Friday of the month. Check our program for details.

19 April, 24 – The Technology of Time – presented by Bob Jacobs

Bob is thanked for his fascinating presentation by David

From earliest human civilisation, mankind has wanted to know the time, both day and night.  Bob’s presentation traced the history of time measurement from its earliest days; how through observation, curiosity, invention, and mathematics; the accuracy, reliability, and availability timekeeping evolved from ancient Egyptian shadow clocks, candles, water clocks, hour glasses, to clocks using a pendulum. Development of new technology, materials, and manufacturing techniques led to significant advances, notably with the marine chronometer in the 18th century, watches, time-pieces using quartz and digital technology, and more recently atomic clocks.  Bob finished his presentation asking the question whether timekeeping accuracy and reliability has reached the limit of human imagination?

12 Apr 24 – On Board Queen Mary 2, Last of the True Ocean Liners – presented by Nigel Ridgway

Nigel is thanked for his presentation by Colin.

North Coast Branch Chairman and avid sailor Nigel Ridgway, recently returned from a second voyage on the Queen Mary 2, explained his passion for this vessel; the only large trans-Atlantic liner remaining in service. Distinguished from recently built cruise liners by her classic design, including external promenade decks; he  shared photos of the vessel, explaining how her British heritage, ambience of her predecessor Quuen Mary, and first half of twentieth century trans-Atlantic liners has been captured, including use of photographs of famous passengers sailing on her predecessor, and art-works.

With Queen Mary 2 now in service over 20 years, in closing Nigel posed the question ‘will another true ocean liner to replace her’?

5 Apr 24 ‘The Tudor Inheritance – a Poisoned Chalice?’  – presented by Diane Tartt

Dee is thanked by Carolyn for another informative and interesting presentation.

Dee guided us through a tortuous time of the English royal succession following the death of Henry V111 only legitimate son and heir, Edward V11 at age 17; his nomination, likely influenced by powerful aristocratic families seeking even greater power, of Lady Jane Grey (aka Lady Jane Dudley), a Protestant, daughter of Henry V111 sister Mary Tudor, once Queen of France, and great-grand-daughter of Henry V11.  Henry V111 had declared both his daughters Mary, and Elizabeth, as illegitimate, as he sought a male heir from his many marriages.

Lady Jane Grey did not want to be Queen and ruled in 1553 for only nine days, before the Privy Council changed sides, recognised the Catholic Mary as Queen, and had Lady Jane Grey executed for treason. Called Bloody Mary for her religious persecution of Protestants, Mary married Philip 11, King of Catholic Spain, who embarked on financially disastrous wars in Europe. Queen Mary 1 died of natural causes in 1558 with no heir, and was succeeded by her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth 1, to the joy and relief of the population; the start of a golden age in English history.

22 Mar 24 – Convict Ancestor’s – presented by Bill Cutler

Bill is thanked for his presentation by Bill Berry

Bill recounted the lives of his three times great-grand-parents, carpenter Nathaniel Lucas, and maid Olivia Gascoigne, who arrived in Sydney Cove on the first fleet in 1788 as convicts.

Illustrated with photographs, he explained how he and his wife traced Nathanial and Olivia’s lives, travelling to the UK to where she worked, where her crime occurred, the trial courthouse, and cell she occupied below; and researched Nathaniel’s claimed wrongful conviction.

Tracing Nathanial and Olivia’s transfer in 1788 to Norfolk Island, where they married, had 13 children, and completed their sentences; they travelled to Norfolk Island to discover evidence of their 16 years tenure, including still standing structures constructed by Nathaniel, and identifying from archives a connection with island commandant, and later third Governor of Sydney colony, Philip Gidley King.

Moving next to Sydney’s Rocks area they located where they lived after returning to Sydney, many still used buildings Nathaniel was involved with as the colony’s Superintendent of Carpenters, and his grave next to St Luke’s Church in Liverpool, which he built in 1818.

Thank-you Bill for this fascinating first fleet family story and insight into early colonial life.

8 Mar 24 – The History of Jazz Part 2 – presented by The Melody Makers

A big turnout at North Coast enjoyed Part 2 of the History of Jazz from the Melody Masters trio: Brian Copping (reeds), John Healy (double bass and vocals), Tony Eardley (piano).

The U3A Film Crew was in attendance to record the vision and sound.

23 Feb 24 Changing Sea Levels and Climate Change with evidence from Rottnest – presented by Peter Alcock

Peter is thanked for his informative and thought-provoking presentation by Stella

Peter’s presentation brought together his knowledge as a geologist and Rottnest Island volunteer guide, tackling the complex topic of changing sea levels, within the broader subject of climate change. Evidence exists of numerous sea levels changes, both higher and lower, back to 500 million years ago, attributed to melting ice, tectonic plate movements, water temperature and surface and ground water distribution changes, tides, current, winds, meteor impacts; and Milankovich’s Planetary Climatology theory that our planet’s movement and gravitation impacts climate change; now proven from ice-core sample analysis, evidencing past temperatures and atmospheric composition.

Ice-core studies indicate peak temperature occurring in approximately 100,000 year-cycles. Peter said the data indicates we are now at a temperature peak, and that the next natural cycle is for cooling . He posed the question that the natural cycle is being disrupted since the 18th century introduction of steam and coal power.

Using sea level change data across the Perth Basin area, and photos of Rottnest shore-line geological structures, rock, and fossil formations; Peter demonstrated how sea level changes have changed and continue to change our coast-line. 

16 Feb24 – King Charles III and the Establishment – presented by Don Manning

Pauline thanks Don for his interesting and informative presentation

Don presented the fourth in his series on English Kings named Charles, previously explaining the turmoil of the reigns of Charles 1 and Charles 11, interceded by the England’s only republic led by Oliver Cromwell.

Moving to current times and Charles 111, Don outlined how the shadowy, elitist establishment, made up of wealthy aristocrats, large land owners, and hereditary lords; some families tracing their ancestry and position in society to Norman times; behind the scenes have influenced, managed, controlled, and often negatively impacted Charles life, from his early up-bringing, education, military service, and marriages. Events in his life, constant media attention, his promotion of unpopular long-held climate and environmental issues, now vindicated, have left him with a nuanced public image. However, behind the scenes he has challenged the Establishment’s influence and control, in a complex political situation where the role of the King and Royal family is largely ruled by precedent, and tradition; the Establishment as a power behind the throne; and as Don explained, a hereditary Constitutional Monarch in a country without a constitution.

9 Feb 24 – Establishing a Game Reserve in Africa – presented by David Howcroft

Bill Berry thanks David for his presentation

Another informative and entertaining presentation from David Howcroft who outlined how in 1993 he purchased a 1,200 acre cattle property north of Pretoria, South Africa; turning it into a eco-game reserve; with chalets for tourists, hikers and bird-watchers; providing a sanctuary for rhinos, giraffes, zebras, many species of antelopes, and a wide range of other animals, both large and small. Illustrated by an extensive album of photos, he explained the challenges in building infrastructure, the capture and transportation of wild animals, protecting their well-being, the inter-action between the family and monkeys, meerkats, an orphaned antelope, and surprisingly two rhinos, and his ever-present Jack Russell’s.      

2 Feb 24 Music Appreciation – The Making of a Musical – presented by Peter Flanigan

Pauline thanks Peter for his inciteful and entertaining presentation

Peter brought to our Music Appreciation morning a musical occasion with a difference. In 2020 while Covid raged, Peter wrote a book and lyrics for a musical he titled “The Name is James”, enlisting well known Perth music educator, musician, composer Rod Christian to write the music. Although the play has yet to be staged, the music was recorded, and we were privileged to listen to the songs, with Peter reading extracts of the dialogue, outlining the plays development process, and discussing with the group how the play could be staged.             

2 Feb, 24 Micro and Nano Plastics – presented by Graham Ezzy

Pauline thanks Graham for his topical and thought provoking presentation

Graham posed the question “Are plastics an invention of great value, or a curse for generations to come?” He commenced by reminding us of the serious health and environmental issues with asbestos first identified in 1897, which took almost four generations to be fully recognised and addressed.

Initially praised for being durable, plastic do not decompose naturally like organic matter, the polymers breaking down into smaller micro and nano particles, also releasing chemicals which may have been used to give the polymer additional functionality, but can be harmful. A 1 litre water bottle breaks-down on average into 240,000 particles. These particles pass into the environment and human, and other life forms, though physical wear from use, and disposal of plastic waste into the environment; by means of contact, inhalation, and ingestion; and is of increasing concern for both the natural environment, and our health. Graham concluded saying that as with asbestos, the cost of not recognising and addressing plastics pollution through more research, reduction in use or replacement, improved recycling, could be devasting for future generations.

1 Dec 23 Annual Quiz Afternoon

Dee Tartt and Bill Berry

North Coast members enjoyed our Annual Quiz afternoon. It proved a close contest with only 5 points separately all teams, and three tie-breakers needed to determine the winning team. Congratulations to the winning team.

A special thank you to Dee Tartt for organising this years’ Quiz and compiling the questions, Bill Berry for his sterling role as Quiz Master, maintaining the tempo and order of the afternoon, and Val Dekenah in assisting Dee in the adjudication of answers and score-keeping.

10 Nov 23 King Charles 11 Affairs of State & Heart – presented by Don Manning

Don Manning thanked by David Frankland

Known as the Merry Monarch, Charles 11 exiled in France led a lavish lifestyle, in the manner of the French court of his cousin.

Turmoil after Cromwell’s death saw him invited to return in 1660 as King to Puritan England; where he continued a lifestyle of disgraceful behavior, with many lovers, mistresses, and illegitimate children; the subject of virulent satire. Educated, intelligent, with interests in science, notably astronomy, time, and navigation, he sponsored in 1670 the Royal Society, and 1675 the Royal Observatory at Greenwich.

An arranged marriage to Catherine of Braganza, daughter of Portugal’s King, survived although she tolerated but not shared his lifestyle, showing him respect, gaining public popularity, and admiration; later, when wrongly implicated in a succession plot to install his Catholic brother King James of Scotland, she was defended by Charles.

It was not all fun and games, a childless marriage with no legitimate heir, plots around succession, religious friction with a nominally protestant King, Catholic Queen, and family, an unruly government, Dutch wars, plague, and great fire of London; he overcame by working with Parliament, unlike his father, sponsoring reform of Treasury, victory over the Dutch capturing New Amsterdam (renamed New York), expanding North American colonies, and a treaty with Portugal, bringing trade opportunities in Portuguese territories in India, North Africa, and Brazil.

3 Nov 23 – A Short History of the Romans – Peter Flanigan

North Coast member and regular presenter Peter Flanigan brought us ‘A Short History of the Romans’, an epic endeavour both historically and for a 75-minute presentation; dispelling the she-wolf myth, with Romulus after murdering his twin Remus, establishing in 753 BC a settlement in the Aventine Hills, in what is now Rome.

Using stirring words from Macaulay’s heroic poem of Horatio’s bridge defence against the Etruscans in 503 BC, Peter took us on a 1,000-year journey through Roman history, beginning with a dispute over taxation and replacement of Etruscan rule with a republic and Senate; creation of the world’s largest empire by military conquest and alliances; Julius Caesar’s defeat of the army of Pompey replacing the republic with dictatorships, family dynasties, emperors both competent, incompetent, and depraved; and ultimately the Emperor Constantine, embracing Christianity, his split into western and eastern empires; and finally the Visi-goths sacking of Rome in 455 AD, to end the western empire. Along this journey Peter explained how military conquests, slavery, infrastructure building, trade, and taxation fuelled the empires growth, however in the long term could not be sustained, leading to decline and its demise.

27 Oct 23 – The Unclothed Emperors – The Vredefort Impact Structure, Bushveld Complex, and Great Dyke of Southern Africa.

David Howcroft

We welcomed David Howcroft who has written a book on his sixty-five-year interest and research in search for the truth and proof of the origin of the Vredefort Meteorite Impact, the Bushveld Complex, and the Great Dyke geological structures; which has led him to believe that geo-scientists made a fundamental error in measurement of their age at more than 2,600 million years.

David explained his case in straight-forward terms, analyzing impact scenarios and geological outcomes from meteor impacts, illustrated by maps, diagrams, rock sample test results, and topographical photographs; to support the view that they are of a substantially younger age at 280 million years, formed simultaneously from a violent, meteorite impact, causing mass animal and plant extinction, the world’s largest mineral deposits, and continental drift, which is still ongoing.

Thank-you David for a thought-provoking presentation, well explained and documented, that kept our interest and attention for its entirety.

20 Oct 23 – The Incredible Indian Railways – Terry Harvey

Terry Harvey is thanked by John Buxallen

North Coast member and regular presenter Terry Harvey once again captured our interest, this time with ‘The Incredible Indian Railways’, from early developments in the 1840’s to present day; the design, engineering, geographic and other challenges, set-backs from natural disasters, 1857 Indian mutiny, 1947 partition, and safety. First established by the British East India Company, it was the British Colonial Government that drove railway development, linking major cities across the sub-continent for both military and commercial purposes, unifying both country and peoples, an important legacy from colonial rule, and still a unifying force today. However, India did not share the wealth generated from railway development, British industry profiting from manufacturing track infrastructure, locomotives, and rolling stock until independence. Today the railways are a major integrated economic institution employing 1.4 million; building, maintaining, operating the world’s fourth largest rail network. Thank-you Terry.

13 Oct 23 – Diana Tartt brought us Part 6 in her series Feisty Royal Women: The Tragedy of the Tudor Women.

Diana Tartt is thanked by David Laws for her presentation.

At the centre of turbulent political and dynastic struggles, intrigues of nobles, Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell, marriages to European royalty used by Henry V11 to strengthen the Tudors weak claim on the English throne; the religious reformation used by tyrant Henry V111 to legitimise re-marriages seeking a male heir to secure the Tudor dynasty; tragic aptly describes these women’s sacrifice and suffering.

Catherine of Aragon, first married to Henry V11’s son Arthur who died soon after, then to his younger brother Henry, shortly to become Henry V111; played a key role as Regent in his absence at war in France, defending the realm against Scotland’s James IV invasion; her marriage later annulled with daughter Mary the only survivor from six pregnancies. Henry V111 re-married five times, to the intelligent, sophisticated, ill-fated Anne Boleyn, mother of Elizabeth 1; Jane Seymour who died shortly after giving birth to his only legitimate son Edward V1; Anne of Cleeves; Catherine Howard; and lastly Katherine Parr who out-lived him.

U3A 50th Anniversary Concert

110 U3A Perth members and friends enjoyed the U3A 50th Anniversary Concert on 28 September. Welcomed by Peter Flanigan who outlined the history of U3A, they were then entertained by the New Orleans Heritage Jazz Band playing free flowing, pulsating, revivalist jazz style of New Orleans.

A special thanks to the Band (with North Coast Branch member Nigel Ridgway on drums), North Coast Branch members (Dee, Margo, Peter A, Graham, Peter M, John, and others) who gave their time to prepare and tidy the venue, man the welcome desk, kitchen duties, serve the refreshments, and Peter Flanigan for his opening address, helping make this another successful U3A Perth event.

6 Oct 23 – Harry Perkins Institute – presented by Judi Lane

Judi Lane is thanked for her inspirational presentation by Terry Harvey.

We welcomed Judi Lane, Community Education Manager of the internationally recognised Harry Perkins Institute, who gave us an inspirational presentation on their ground breaking collaborative medical research in Perth into cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and rare genetic disorders. Sadly, too many of us have lost family and friends to these diseases, after being told there were no more treatment options. Judi shared similar stories from her own and her families experience, explaining how the Harry Perkins Institute combines science, research, innovation, clinical experience, world class people, and facilities in targeting disease prevention, detection, and treatments for life threatening diseases for humanities benefit.

Judi explained how the community bridges gaps in their funding of the gift of science, which is both expensive, and long in duration to reach clinical outcomes, and explained how through our own generosity we can help.

22 Sep 23 – Shackleton’s “Endurance” Expedition 1914 – 1917, presented by Ken Baker

Ken Baker is thanked by Bill Berry who is holding a bottle of ‘Shackleton” whiskey, a replica of whiskey from a barrel recovered from the wreck of the Endurance in 2022.

Ken, a North Coast member, provided an enthralling insight into Shackleton’s 1914 to 1917 failed expedition to cross the Antarctic continent, passing through the South Pole. Much has been written of the endurance, determination, and courage of these 28-men who all returned safely; with Ken highlighting their battle with nature, illustrating it with daunting photos of the ice and expedition taken by Australian Frank Hurley, a crew member.

Ice-bound 60 miles from their expedition starting point, their battle with nature commenced as sea-ice moving horizontally and vertically, took them 1,300 miles in varied directions, crushing their vessel Endurance, forcing them to camp on the ice, to haul 3 life-boats 300 miles over ice, then onto ice-floes, before reaching warmer waters 700 miles north, and sailing to Elephant Island; from which Shackleton and 5 men famously sailed 300 miles through tempestuous seas to South Georgia to seek rescue for the crew.

15 Sep 23 The Voice – A Constitutional Law Viewpoint, from Dr Bertus de Villiers

Dr de Villiers is thanked by Roseanne Thomas

U3A North Coast Branch welcomed Dr Bertus de Villiers, Visiting Professor of the Law School of Curtin University, member of the State Administrative Tribunal of WA; who has widely travelled, lecturing, consulting, and publishing on a wide range of constitutional topics in various countries.

Dr de Villiers shared with the group a thoughtful presentation on the Voice from a Constitutional law viewpoint, better equipping us to make our personal decisions on the referendum question. Dr de Villiers concluded that regardless of the outcome of the referendum, the real work to close the gap for indigenous people remains ahead.

8 Sep 23 Elizabethan London – presented by Dee Tartt

Dee, brought us an interesting insight into changing life-styles in the London of Elizabeth 1, immense wealth for a few, mostly improving living standards for most, but some strange practices to our modern minds; reminding us that the process of change is no different today, likely only the speed at which it occurs.

The defeat of the Spanish armadas, improved ships, navigation, the exploits explorers and adventurers, notably Sir Walter Raleigh, the discovery of the Americas, East Indies spice trade; brought gold, silver, new products, plants, diseases, and wealth from trade to London.

Climate change, with ice-fairs on a frozen Thames, impacted food production, changed crops, farming practices; with forage crops enabling animal husbandry through winter months, improving people’s diet. Thank-you Dee for this presentation.

1 Sep 23 – Memoirs of a Meteorologist, presenter Steve West

Bill Jacobs (L) thanks Steve West for his interesting presentation and insight in weather forecasting.

North Coast member Steve West, a retired meteorologist, explained in layman’s terms how isobaric charts are prepared, a key element used in forecasting our weather, the impact of the earth’s rotation on our weather, El Nino and La Nina, the varied needs, and users of forecasts; recounting anecdotes from his 54 years in forecasting.

Steve recalled how the advent of weather satellites from the late 1960’s bringing greater frequency of data capture, and computer modelling delivering faster processing speeds and mathematical capacity; significantly improved forecasting. However, this led to centralisation within Australia of forecasting, the loss of career opportunities for meteorologists, and the camaraderie he enjoyed as a Perth based meteorologist.

25 Aug 23 – Art with a Purpose presented by David Hounsome

David took us on a journey through Art, from Renaissance to post-modernism, Raphael, Hans Holbein to Picasso, Warhol, Christo, and Banksy. With communication as its social agenda, Art has often challenged the boundaries between social messaging and propaganda; used in the past by churches to promote faith, record important events, wars, natural occurrences, and through portraiture immortalize wealth and status.

The advent of photography in the second half of the 19th century supplanted many of Arts traditional roles, with Art evolving to become what-ever an artist chooses (three white squares, wrapped building, soup can), communicating the artists message, often intended to shock, sometimes difficult to interpret, leaving the message open to the viewers interpretation, at times placing the Art at risk of domination by the message.

Thank-you David for this fascinating insight in the world of Art with a Purpose.

18 Aug 23 – Oliver Cromwell and his Parliament

Don Manning

North coast member Don Manning brought us the second part of his English Civil War series on Oliver Cromwell, one of the most divisive figures and periods in English history. Don posed the question did King Charles 1 conduct warrant his execution, explained Cromwell’s rise to supreme military and political power, asking whether Cromwell deserved vilification for his dictatorial rule, mirroring many of the complaints made against Charles 1, and how a constitutional monarchy and Westminster parliamentary system evolved from this turmoil.

As Lord Protector Cromwell lived and acted as monarch other than in name; bad tempered, brutal, destructive, and puritanical. Rubber-stamped by a corrupt Parliament without elections, fermenting both political and religious strife, and much removed from his promised utopia, Cromwell’ rule had a lasting impact on English governance. Thankyou Don for another informative and thought provoking presentation.          

11 August 23 – Homelessness in WA

North Coast Chairman Nigel Ridgway and Program Co-Ordinator Dee Tartt with the first week’s collection of donated socks.

There was a terrific response from Branch members to Dr Ken Mullens suggestion of donation of socks for the homeless, in answer to a question at his presentation on 11 August of how we individually or as group we can help the homeless. Thank you to all members for your generous contributions.

11 August 23 – Homelessness in WA presented by Dr Ken Mullin

Dr Ken Mullin is thanked by David Frankland

In a change from past presentations on science topics, Dr Ken Mullin, a member of Rotary, dimensioned the growing homelessness problem in WA placing front-line service providers under stress. Driven by underlying community social problems, exacerbated by cost-of-living pressures, shortage of affordable rental accommodation; homelessness impacts the health and well-being of those affected, further increasing demand on service providers.

Ken outlined policy and assistance responses from all levels of Government; the lobbying and service delivery contributions from community organisations, including Rotary. There is no one solution, however Ken emphasised not enough is being done in prevention. An increase in public housing, with the alignment of support services needed to support the varied health and well-being needs of residents, is one concept Rotary has joined in lobbying for, with two WA Government projects approved for Perth and Mandurah. As a community we still need to do more.

4 Aug 23   T E Lawrence, the Man Behind the Legend

Nigel Ridgway is thanked by Vicki Cross

Our North Coast Branch Chairman Nigel Ridgway gave us an inciteful presentation on T E Lawrence.

Lawrence, was a complex man, modest despite his fame as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ in the WW1 Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire. A scholar, poet, writer, archaeologist, soldier, although with low regard for rank and protocol; his leadership, initiative, courage, will-power; a fluent Arab speaker with an affinity for the Arab people, culture, and customs, desire for statehood, and friendship with Prince Feisel; underpinned his military achievements. Captured and badly treated by the Turks he likely suffered PTSD.

Critical of British and French Middle Eastern colonial ambitions, becoming increasingly dis-illusioned with treaties and peace agreements, he wrote prophetically that creation of a Jewish State ‘would need to be done by force of arms and maintained by force of arms, amid an over-whelming hostile population.’

Post-war he became a recluse, suffering depression, rejecting honours, scarred by what he felt as betrayal of the Arab cause, dying tragically in a motor-cycle accident whilst likely saving others.

28 Jul 23 Five-minute Talks by Members

Our members were invited to bare their hearts in a five-minute talk, which brought us an eclectic mix of subjects; family stories ranging from the memorable and touching life-time events, to an amazing 19th Century close encounter with Jack the Ripper; interesting work and life experiences, places visited, and humorous travel experiences; tales from the pages of history or recounted from historic places visited; a newly released movie; and our ‘if no-other topic’ fossils; with 18 speakers too many to mention individually.

Thank you to all those who took up the challenge and made it another well received, interesting as well as entertaining, ‘Five-minute Talks by Members’.

21 Jul 23 Nuclear Energy presented by Ian Stann

Ian Stann (L) is thanked by Terry Harvey, who worked in the 1960’s in a UK nuclear power plant.

North Coast Branch member Ian Stann, whose CV includes nuclear engineering, undertook the daunting task of explaining the physics of nuclear energy produced using enriched uranium; positively charged protons, sub-atomic neutrally charged neutrons within the nucleus of the atom, negatively charged electrons spinning freely around a nucleus, fusion, and fission; harnessed in nuclear power plants to produce energy, like our sun. 

Ian highlighted limitations with known solar and wind generation technology; its intermittency, resource intensity, land mass requirements, relative short life span; making it unlikely with present technology that they can fully replace fossil fuels for base and intermediate load power generation; and that nuclear, despite past safety failings, military mis-use concerns, long construction lead-times, high initial capital costs, and waste management issues, should be considered as a renewable energy option. 

14 Jul 23 Catallinas on the Swan

Dr Kevin Smythe is thanked by Peter Flanagan for his presentation

Military historian and former air force officer Dr Kevin Smythe brought us the fascinating story of Catalina flying boats operated between 1942 and 1943 by the US Navy, and until 1945 by Qantas, from bases on the Swan River; bringing back memories for those present who remembered seeing Catalina’s on the Swan.

In the perilous early days of the Pacific war, a Japanese threat from our north, and an east-coat focused defence; WA and Perth relied on distance, and Catalina’s to maintain an air defence screen to detect and disrupt enemy activity, train air-crews, and critically break a Japanese blockade of the air route to India, interrupted by the fall in 1942 of Singapore. 

Qantas established in 1943 Australia’s only war-time commercial air-service, its Indian Ocean Service using Catalina’s and the Swan River, making 271 non-stop flights each carrying 3 paying passengers and mail, skirting enemy occupied territory, 5,600 kms to Ceylon in 28 to 32.5 hours.

30Jun 23 – Winterfest

North Coast Branch members and guests enjoyed our annual celebration of winter, an afternoon of fun, food, and good music from The New Orleans Heritage Jazz Band, a seven-piece band playing the free flowing, pulsating, revivalist jazz style heard in New Orleans venues.

All U3A members and guests can enjoy The New Orleans Heritage Jazz Band at the U3A Perth celebration concert marking the 50th birthday of U3A, first started in Toulouse in 1973, on Thursday, 28 September, at St Johns Church Hall, Aberdeen Street, Perth. Watch for more information in the coming months. North Coast Branch will be hosting this event.

23 Jun 23 – Convict Transportation to Tasmania

Jan West thanks Denise Beer for her interesting, enjoyable, and informative presentation.

U3A Swan Hills member Denise Beer presented “Convict Transportation to Tasmania,” recounting that over an eighty-year period from 1788, 162,000 convicts were transported to Australia, with around 45% sent to Van Diemen’s Land, a sad but important time in this country’s history, when forced migration of convicts was used to extend and retain Britain’s sphere of influence. 

Denise took us on a journey to the early Tasmanian penal and probation settlements, providing an insight into what was it like to be a convict, and how they attained self-sufficiency needed to survive these remote locations.

16 Jun 23 – King Charles I and Cromwell’s Parliament

Don Manning outlined events which defined relationships between English monarchs and population, and gave rise to our sometimes maligned, and often under-appreciated Westminster Parliamentary system.

The Stuart’s (King James 1 and son Charles 1), was one of the most turbulent periods with money, religion, and belligerence of the Stuarts, fuelling ill-will and disputation, with Parliament bargaining concessions on taxation, legal rights, and civil order, in return for release of funds for royal expenditure. Charles 1 attempts to under-mine Parliament’s authority, the conduct of his French born Queen, and harsher economic times, led to civil war, and the rise of a lowly ranked MP, Oliver Cromwell who organised and led to victory a Parliamentary army. Undecided on the King’s role, unable to reach a negotiated settlement; Parliament charged Charles 1 with treason, abolished the monarchy, had him tried, convicted, and executed; the monarchy remaining vacant for 11 years, until after Cromwell’s death. 

Rod Christian’s ULURU SUITE for Orchestra and Chorus

Rod Christian is thanked by Peter Flanagan for bringing us his music, and insight into his journey leading to this work.

Internationally acclaimed composer Rod Christian brought us a memorable musical experience. Accompanied by stunning visuals from Kata Tjuta National Park, he explained his experiences leading to this composition, his choice of instruments; how his orchestral prelude pays tribute to its beauty and spirit, from its early beginnings to the present, bringing atmosphere and life to the spectacular sunrises, sunsets, bird, animal life, at-times relentless harshness, heat, storms, and remoteness. In his choral section, paying tribute to the Indigenous Anangu people, custodians of this sacred place and their song lines from over 20,000 years; the voices capture both the beauty and spiritual connections, their dream time legends, using words from the Anangu language.

4 Aug 23   T E Lawrence, the Man Behind the Legend

Nigel Ridgway is thanked by Vicki Cross

Our North Coast Branch Chairman Nigel Ridgway gave us an inciteful presentation on T E Lawrence.

Lawrence, was a complex man, modest despite his fame as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ in the WW1 Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire. A scholar, poet, writer, archaeologist, soldier, although with low regard for rank and protocol; his leadership, initiative, courage, will-power; a fluent Arab speaker with an affinity for the Arab people, culture, and customs, desire for statehood, and friendship with Prince Feisel; underpinned his military achievements. Captured and badly treated by the Turks he likely suffered PTSD.

Critical of British and French Middle Eastern colonial ambitions, becoming increasingly dis-illusioned with treaties and peace agreements, he wrote prophetically that creation of a Jewish State ‘would need to be done by force of arms and maintained by force of arms, amid an over-whelming hostile population.’

Post-war he became a recluse, suffering depression, rejecting honours, scarred by what he felt as betrayal of the Arab cause, dying tragically in a motor-cycle accident whilst likely saving others.

28 Jul 23 Five-minute Talks by Members

Our members were invited to bare their hearts in a five-minute talk, which brought us an eclectic mix of subjects; family stories ranging from the memorable and touching life-time events, to an amazing 19th Century close encounter with Jack the Ripper; interesting work and life experiences, places visited, and humorous travel experiences; tales from the pages of history or recounted from historic places visited; a newly released movie; and our ‘if no-other topic’ fossils; with 18 speakers too many to mention individually.

Thank you to all those who took up the challenge and made it another well received, interesting as well as entertaining, ‘Five-minute Talks by Members’.

21 Jul 23 Nuclear Energy presented by Ian Stann

Ian Stann (L) is thanked by Terry Harvey, who worked in the 1960’s in a UK nuclear power plant.

North Coast Branch member Ian Stann, whose CV includes nuclear engineering, undertook the daunting task of explaining the physics of nuclear energy produced using enriched uranium; positively charged protons, sub-atomic neutrally charged neutrons within the nucleus of the atom, negatively charged electrons spinning freely around a nucleus, fusion, and fission; harnessed in nuclear power plants to produce energy, like our sun. 

Ian highlighted limitations with known solar and wind generation technology; its intermittency, resource intensity, land mass requirements, relative short life span; making it unlikely with present technology that they can fully replace fossil fuels for base and intermediate load power generation; and that nuclear, despite past safety failings, military mis-use concerns, long construction lead-times, high initial capital costs, and waste management issues, should be considered as a renewable energy option. 

14 Jul 23 Catallinas on the Swan

Dr Kevin Smythe is thanked by Peter Flanagan for his presentation

Military historian and former air force officer Dr Kevin Smythe brought us the fascinating story of Catalina flying boats operated between 1942 and 1943 by the US Navy, and until 1945 by Qantas, from bases on the Swan River; bringing back memories for those present who remembered seeing Catalina’s on the Swan.

In the perilous early days of the Pacific war, a Japanese threat from our north, and an east-coat focused defence; WA and Perth relied on distance, and Catalina’s to maintain an air defence screen to detect and disrupt enemy activity, train air-crews, and critically break a Japanese blockade of the air route to India, interrupted by the fall in 1942 of Singapore. 

Qantas established in 1943 Australia’s only war-time commercial air-service, its Indian Ocean Service using Catalina’s and the Swan River, making 271 non-stop flights each carrying 3 paying passengers and mail, skirting enemy occupied territory, 5,600 kms to Ceylon in 28 to 32.5 hours.

30Jun 23 – Winterfest

North Coast Branch members and guests enjoyed our annual celebration of winter, an afternoon of fun, food, and good music from The New Orleans Heritage Jazz Band, a seven-piece band playing the free flowing, pulsating, revivalist jazz style heard in New Orleans venues.

All U3A members and guests can enjoy The New Orleans Heritage Jazz Band at the U3A Perth celebration concert marking the 50th birthday of U3A, first started in Toulouse in 1973, on Thursday, 28 September, at St Johns Church Hall, Aberdeen Street, Perth. Watch for more information in the coming months. North Coast Branch will be hosting this event.

23 Jun 23 – Convict Transportation to Tasmania

Jan West thanks Denise Beer for her interesting, enjoyable, and informative presentation.

U3A Swan Hills member Denise Beer presented “Convict Transportation to Tasmania,” recounting that over an eighty-year period from 1788, 162,000 convicts were transported to Australia, with around 45% sent to Van Diemen’s Land, a sad but important time in this country’s history, when forced migration of convicts was used to extend and retain Britain’s sphere of influence. 

Denise took us on a journey to the early Tasmanian penal and probation settlements, providing an insight into what was it like to be a convict, and how they attained self-sufficiency needed to survive these remote locations.

16 Jun 23 – King Charles I and Cromwell’s Parliament

Don Manning outlined events which defined relationships between English monarchs and population, and gave rise to our sometimes maligned, and often under-appreciated Westminster Parliamentary system.

The Stuart’s (King James 1 and son Charles 1), was one of the most turbulent periods with money, religion, and belligerence of the Stuarts, fuelling ill-will and disputation, with Parliament bargaining concessions on taxation, legal rights, and civil order, in return for release of funds for royal expenditure. Charles 1 attempts to under-mine Parliament’s authority, the conduct of his French born Queen, and harsher economic times, led to civil war, and the rise of a lowly ranked MP, Oliver Cromwell who organised and led to victory a Parliamentary army. Undecided on the King’s role, unable to reach a negotiated settlement; Parliament charged Charles 1 with treason, abolished the monarchy, had him tried, convicted, and executed; the monarchy remaining vacant for 11 years, until after Cromwell’s death. 

Rod Christian’s ULURU SUITE for Orchestra and Chorus

Rod Christian is thanked by Peter Flanagan for bringing us his music, and insight into his journey leading to this work.

Internationally acclaimed composer Rod Christian brought us a memorable musical experience. Accompanied by stunning visuals from Kata Tjuta National Park, he explained his experiences leading to this composition, his choice of instruments; how his orchestral prelude pays tribute to its beauty and spirit, from its early beginnings to the present, bringing atmosphere and life to the spectacular sunrises, sunsets, bird, animal life, at-times relentless harshness, heat, storms, and remoteness. In his choral section, paying tribute to the Indigenous Anangu people, custodians of this sacred place and their song lines from over 20,000 years; the voices capture both the beauty and spiritual connections, their dream time legends, using words from the Anangu language.

Be Stroke Safe – Carolyn Prunster from Stroke Foundation WA

We all have seen the devastation to people’s lives when they suffer from a stroke.  Carolyn Prunster from Stroke Foundation WA gave a talk on Stroke prevention, explaining how they happen, who is at risk, what are the warning signs, and most importantly steps to take to minimise the risk of stroke.

Recommended stroke minimisation steps include regular health checks, a healthy diet, staying active, moderate alcohol consumption, and no smoking.

Carolyn stressed the importance of seeking immediate medical treatment by calling 000, even if you suspect seeing symptoms or believe they may have passed, mentioning stroke to the operator. Time is critical for stroke patients in minimising damage to the brain.

Human Impact on the Planet” presented by Dr Ken Mullin

Ken presented a disturbing and thought-provoking explanation of how in less than 200 years rapid growth in population, consumption, and resultant agricultural and industrial intensity; have accelerated climate change including global warming; lost or damaged large tracts of habitat impacting animal, marine, insect species with many at or near extinction; reduced bio-diversity essential for eco-system health and made pandemics more likely. Humanities future is at risk from collapse of our eco-systems and irreparable damage to the planet’s life support systems. He concluded that it needs the combined efforts of individuals, communities, and governments, working towards a sustainable future, focused on health and well-being of humans and the environment, to avert a disaster. We need to raise our voices.

Peco’s Jane Doe – The Mystery of the Drowned Woman

On 21 April, 100 members and visitors welcomed back forensic toxicologist Professor Bob Mead for another of his engaging presentations.

Recounting the story of young woman found drowned in a Texas motel swimming pool in 1966, her companion who had disappeared, both having booked in under false names, their identities remained a mystery. Bob explained how fifty-four years later a family match for the young woman was made using advances in DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy. Her name is now known, but not the man’s. Her family has some degree of conclusion. But has justice been served, the circumstances leading to her death and any criminal context remaining unknown?

12 May 23 The History of Jazz

The Melody Masters Jazz Trio took one hundred members and guests on an enjoyable journey illustrating The History of Jazz from New Orleans to the Jazz Age in Chicago, playing music from the Early Swing Era. 

Narrated by Brian Copping, who interspersed interesting historical facts with humour, and illustrating each genre with music from renowned artists including Scott Joplin, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, and Duke Ellington, amongst others. Our thanks to Brian (clarinet, saxophone, and flute), John Healy (double bass, and vocals), and Tony Eardley (piano) for a presentation that was different, both entertaining and informative. We look forward to a future return visit from the Trio to listen to their tribute to the great Louis Armstrong.