May 262021

Rhonda McPhee reports in on our Biggest Morning Tea event held on 26th May: "A huge thank you to everyone who attended the Biggest Morning Tea. Thank you as well to those unable to attend but who left donations at the office. We have raised around $350 (the final figure is yet to be finalised). A special thank you to the helpers who assisted with setting up, serving food and then cleaning up at the end."

Apr 302021

As you may or may not know, Eltham Football Club has a women’s team. On Friday, 30th April they played Diamond Creek under lights and a number of us went to watch. The total crowd was around 200. It was a complete shellacking, with Eltham down 0-48 at halftime before going on to lose 0-86. Eltham are now mid-table, with Diamond Creek still unbeaten.

Both sides played in very similar red and black/dark blue strips, with the main difference being the colour of the shorts (black for Eltham and red for Diamond Creek). It is interesting that, in the photo, all 7 of the players near the ball but not in the congestion are from the Diamond Creek side.

Apr 292021

Over 3 performances during April, 26 of our members took advantage of the half price ticket offer for U3A members to watch the thriller, I’ll Be Back Before Midnight. People came in groups of up to 6, bringing their own food and drink.

Apr 022021

As you know, the U3A now shares premises at Eltham Central Pavilion with Eltham Football Club, whose senior team is commonly known as the Panthers. The Panthers currently play in Division 2 of the Northern Football Netball League.

On Good Friday, 2nd April, a crowd of around 3,000, including a double digit number of U3A members, watched the Panthers beat St Marys, Greensborough 122 (17.20) to 76 (10.16) in the opening game of the season at Eltham Central Park. It was actually a relatively comfortable win, with Eltham leading throughout. Our best player was arguably Brent Macaffer, formerly of Collingwood, who played in the midfield but also scored 3 goals. The game was played according to AFL rules, so the players had to adapt to the recently introduced ‘standing on the mark’ rule which, at AFL level at least, looks like it is noticeably opening up the game.

To this observer’s untrained eye, the game looked as athletic as the AFL but with more of an emphasis on kicking rather than handballing. Somewhat surprisingly, Eltham effectively play in a Essendon strip and St Marys play in a Port Adelaide strip. Does anyone want to do some research into the question: who copied whom?

Mar 242021

On 24th March at Eltham Guide Hall, various tutors and others attended a presentation on how to use CPR and defibrillators by Raquel from health provider Bolton Clarke.

If you would like to read Bolton Clarke’s presentation, email us and we will send you a copy.

The reason for the session was that we have recently installed a defibrillator at the Guide Hall.

Feb 272020

On Thursday, 20th February, and again on Thursday, 27th February, a number of our members (25 in total) took advantage of the half price ticket offer for U3A members to watch the play, The Sum of Us.

Jan 302020
On 30th January at Old Eltham Courthouse, an interested group of members attended an introductory course on how to use a defibrillator and perform CPR. Gail Clayton writes: “Health provider Bolton Clarke representative Raquel gave an excellent talk and demo and asked for group participation. After seeing a short video of ‘how not to do it’ by Mr Bean (see right), we learnt the correct method. Hopefully we never need to employ these life-saving methods, but if an incident should occur then some members should be able to step in and assist.
Dec 042019

The Christmas party at Eltham Bowling Club on 4th December was a sellout (135 people).

Thanks to Lesley Wing Jan for organising, and to Debra Forbes, Gail Clayton, Gayle Considine, Ian Coulter, Ken Wing Jan, Pam Kemeys, Ros Camera and Sue Power for helping out.

In the middle of the event, 6 of our members got up onto the stage and sang the following "homage to our tutors and all who help run our U3A" (melody courtesy of Bob Dylan)

How many tutors does it take to successfully run our U3A?
How many classes to pursue, without running out of venues?
How many members can we inspire to help them find their thing?

CHORUS: The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

From Mah-jong to Table tennis, Mind Games & Art
To Latin, History & Craft,
Just some of the classes our tutors provide,
Without them we would be kaput, without them we would be kaput!

CHORUS: The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

From Guy's tireless drive, to Dianne's organising skills,
We couldn't run our classes at all,
And Lesley's publicity drive to keep us inspired
To grow with new members who've retired.

CHORUS: The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Let's not forget all the volunteers, who selflessly keep our boat afloat,
Whether working in the Office, kitchen or catering,
Manning stalls or helping with admin,
Your efforts are selfless and much appreciated your efforts are appreciated

Oct 202019

Many of you will know that the 2019 mudbrick tour took place during October and was centred on St Andrews. What you won’t know unless you actually went on the tour is that the star of the show was the house of one of our members, Catherine Chambers.


Oct 072019

Around 30 of us were lucky enough to be given a guided tour of Montsalvat by Vincent Galante. This was an event for our members only. To quote Lesley Wing Jan: “This was a wonderful experience – even for those who thought they knew all there is to know about Montsalvat. Vincent provided fascinating insights into lives of the founders, the history and construction of the buildings and the features of the gardens.” Thanks, Vincent!


Oct 012019

Judy Racz, who is in our Hurstbridge Art class, has an painting exhibition from early October to early November at Bridges Restaurant.

Judy is also available for commissions of portraits, pets or landscapes in pastel or oil. Contact Judy by phone (0468 462 901).

May 232019

A number of us gathered in the Old Eltham Courthouse for a morning tea that was organised by Dianne Parslow to raise funds for the Cancer Council. It was part of Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea initiative, during which thousands of organisations and individuals ran morning tea functions, all with the goal of gathering together over a cuppa and raising money to help beat the disease that affects so many people.

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is Cancer Council’s most popular fundraising event. Last year $12 million was raised to fund research, prevention and support services for those affected by cancer. Our event raised $308. Thanks to those who attended the event, who made donations to the cause, who provided the food, and who set up and packed up the venue.

Oct 192018

Synchrotron, Monash and food – all good things in life (by Pam Jenkins).

On Friday, 19th October, 21 intrepid adventurers travelled to the far reaches of Melbourne, well … Clayton, to inspect the Melbourne Synchrotron and the state of the art facilities at Monash University.

The day started with a little adventure for Rob, our wonderful bus driver, who had been supplied with 4 numbers of a 5-digit code to gain access to the bus. Luckily that problem was quickly resolved, and we were able to get away on time.

After signing in at the Synchrotron, there was no time for coffee as our presenter, Zoran Vasic, was there right on time to start our presentation. We gathered around a model of the Synchrotron where he gave us an explanation of what it is, what it does, and how it useful.

Simply put, the Synchrotron is a very large machine that speeds up electrons to almost the speed of light. As these electrons are deflected through magnetic fields, they create extremely bright light, one million times brighter than the sun. The various properties of the light are tuned to enable specific experiments to be performed utilising particular parts of the light spectrum. For example, when we were growing up we were told that most of the nutrients in our fruit and vegetables are held just under the skin; at the Synchrotron, we were shown a huge poster of a grain of barley graphically demonstrating that Mum and Dad were right … so we ordered whole meal baguettes for lunch.

We learned how scientists studying medicine, agriculture, mineral exploration, archaeology, animal conservation and art are among the many fields that have found that utilising the light source of the Synchrotron has sped up their research by weeks, months or even years.

After an enjoyable lunch at the Taste Baguette at Monash, Karen Coulston introduced us to her friend Professor Andrea Robinson. Andrea guided us through the newer areas of Monash University. Learning isn’t the same as it was when I went to Uni (and that was only 20 years ago). Students are now clustered around large desk/workstations with interactive white boards projecting lecture notes, questions, diagrams and explanations for all to see overhead in the centre of the room and all around the walls. If you can’t make it to a lecture, you can find it online either in real time or some other time … and you can pause and replay! Outside the lecture halls, there is built-in sound attenuation so that even when crowded you don’t have to shout above an echoing hubbub of voices. The halls are beautifully designed with curved hanging brick work and a stairway that looks like it is going straight up to the gods. There are many alcoves for socialising and collaborative learning. A far cry from the ordinary library of my day.

All in all, an awe inspiring day out.

Dec 062017

by Debra Forbes.

This year, instead of having a thank you event for the tutors alone, our fundraising sub-committee thought it might be more fun and inclusive if we (the committee of Nillumbik U3A) ran a fundraising event that would embrace as many of our members as possible. To that end, Joy Barham and Lou Empson developed the idea of a Christmas Breakup Party of barefoot bowls, BBQ dinner and music which would thank our tutors, offer a Christmas breakup party for all, and raise some much-needed funds, all at the same time.

The barefoot bowls (you could wear your socks if you wished) started at 5pm and was overseen by a number of the Eltham Bowling Club members who guided the newbies on the green around the rules and practises of lawn bowls.

As the bowling concluded, the guests ambled to the club rooms and found themselves amongst many friends already mingling in the affable atmosphere of other U3A members. We had around 100 happy and ready-for-fun-and-entertainment participants.

The musical entertainment was supplied by Blue Tango, a local jazz duo from Research. They did a terrific job of blending their music into the background so that we all could enjoy both conversation and music whilst reconnecting with many U3A friends not seen for a while.

Dinner was a BBQ feast of chicken sticks, meat patties and sausages with baked potatoes and freshly made salads, plus a large selection of homemade desserts. The evening was presented by our Acting President, Guy Palmer. Guy has a calm manner and wit which he used very nicely on the podium.

We couldn’t have a Nillumbik U3A if it wasn’t for our tutors; they are the reason we exist and the very essence of our Association. We are blessed with both the calibre and quantity that we have. Guy thanked them for all their wonderful work done throughout the year. He then presented gifts to each of them. The gifts were all wrapped beautifully, all different sizes, no names on them and no idea what they contained – so the tutors got to choose their favourite shape: rectangle ones, round ones or square ones.

Guy also thanked our amazing office staff volunteers, again without whom our U3A would not exist. They are the very backbone of our association. They too were given a choice of rectangle, round or square gifts.

Next were the volunteers who assisted Joy and Lou to make this event the success that it was. These treasures of our association include Daryl McStravick, Debra Forbes, Fidel Panzera, Frank Camera, Joan McStravick, Joy Barham, June Crichton, Jude Panzera, Lou Empson, Pat Wallace and Ros Camera.

Lastly came the immense raffle: Joy & Lou had managed to secure a huge number of donations from local traders so the raffle winners had a great variety of items to choose from (they were not wrapped, so it was first in best dressed). A big thank you to these donors, namely: Bolton Street Fruit Market, Bunnings, Coles, Colin’s Place, Dekoda Store, Eltham Bookshop, Eltham Hotel, Irresistible Jewellery & Accessories, John & June Crichton, Lou Empson, McDonald’s, Old Evropa, Pavilion Menswear, Pierross, Priceline Pharmacy, Prosciutto Bros. Craft Bar, Samarkand Gallery, Skaterz Roller Skate & Blade Rink, Stephens Meats, Thompsons Pharmacy, Tip Top Butchers, and Woolworths. We encourage everyone to support these businesses as they have supported us.

From the outside, it looked seamless and without fault. On the inside, however, I happen to know that there was mild panic when the vegetarian meal offering could not be found and a race to buy replacement veggie burgers was made. Also, the water to the dish washer was not working and great fear started to develop that we would have to hand wash all that crockery and cutlery into the wee hours of the morning. But to the rescue, our superman of the moment, Fidel Panzera, put on his cape, found the problem, and got the dishwasher going again, much to the relief of everyone in the kitchen.

The volunteers were just terrific pitching in and giving their all. But it is pictures that tell a thousand words, so let us look at some photos from the evening. Thank you to all our tutors, our Office staff, the volunteers who helped on the night and, finally, to everyone who came. It was a truly a terrific event.




Feb 262017

On 26th February, 1917, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band walked into the Victor Studios in New York and recorded the very first recognised jazz recording of Livery Stable Blues. Exactly one hundred years later to the day, in the Barn Gallery at Montsalvat, the Syncopators, in front of a packed audience of 200 people, launched their new album The Pearls. The event was the brainchild of the originator and producer of the jazz festivals held at Montsalvat from 1988 through to 1995, Mal Harrop.

When car-parking problems arose at Montsalvat, Mal took the festival into the city and named it the Marvellous Melbourne Jazz Festival. The Melbourne International Jazz Festival, which continues to this day, owes its beginnings to those earlier festivals run by Mal, as does the Wangaratta festival. In welcoming the audience to the Syncopators concert, Mal’s co-tutor in the Jazz Appreciation class, John Crichton, spoke of Mal’s legacy and his desire to bring live jazz back into the north east of Melbourne.

Oct 192016

A thank you party for the valued volunteers of our U3A was held at the Diamond Creek Senior Citizens Centre. Some excellent food, plus wines from our President’s cellar, were enjoyed by all.