About U3A Port Phillip

Who is U3A

The University of the Third Age is an international movement operating in some 30 countries, all states in Australia, and in most councils in Victoria. Its aims are the education and stimulation of mainly retired members of the community—those in their third 'age' of life. It is commonly referred to as U3A.

There is no universally accepted model for the U3A. Its original conception in France as an extramural university activity was significantly modified in the United Kingdom where it was recognized that most people of retirement age have something to contribute and the emphasis has been on sharing, without formal links to traditional universities.
Many English-speaking countries have followed this geragogic model, whereas continental European countries have mostly followed the French model.

A British U3A website says about "The Third Age" membership eligibility: "The 'third age' is defined by a time in your life (not necessarily chronological) where you have the opportunity to undertake learning for its own sake. There is no minimum age, but a focus on people who are no longer in full-time employment or raising a family." [Wikipedia]

While membership of U3A doesn’t technically have an age restriction, the organisation was set up, and is predominantly run, for the benefit of those in their third age of life, usually retired or semi-retired, but still with an active interest in learning, teaching, new experiences and meeting like-minded people of a similar age, with many new and long lasting friendships formed from these meetings.

While we are delighted to receive new membership enquiries, we feel those of a younger demographic would perhaps not reap the benefits of the courses we have on offer, especially since they are intended for, run by and targeted to members of this older demographic.

How is U3A Port Phillip run

U3A Port Phillip (U3APP) a member of U3A Network Victoria is a not-for-profit organisation, entirely staffed by volunteers. We have well over a hundred volunteers. All our tutors are also volunteers and give their time for free.

It's your U3A, and we are always ready to welcome volunteers to help U3APP manage, expand and improve its courses and events (see Volunteers and Tutors). Indeed we expect that every member will contribute as a volunteer at some time.

In any one year, about a quarter of our membership is involved in some volunteer capacity. This shows how rewarding our volunteers find the task of keeping U3APP running and making it as efficient, successful and friendly as possible. See the Governance page for details of who manages U3APP, and how.

U3APP is strongly supported by the City of Port Phillip, who own, manage and maintain the venues we use for our courses and events. Without their support, we could not offer the wide range of courses and events that we currently provide at such a low cost to members.

We occasionally apply for grant funding for special events from the City of Port Phillip. We can also apply for project funding from State and Federal Governments via U3A Network Victoria, if we have projects that match their current funding criteria.
U3APP also gains some benefit from discounts on computer software that are available to not-for-profit organisations. An example is discounted use of AppSheet which we use for electronic class rolls.

Why are we here

As we age, we all want and need to keep our brains and bodies active by learning new skills, exercising, and refreshing and improving existing knowledge. We benefit from being part of a community that is sharing these learning activities.

If you're retired or semi-retired and live in or around the City of Port Phillip, you can join U3APP. Our regular classes provide all kinds of opportunities to learn new skills, keep fit, and broaden your knowledge. Our very low annual membership fee gives you access to all our classes, and to a range of one-off events.

U3APP is also a very friendly and supportive community, providing opportunities for you to make new friends, and to give back to the community by becoming a volunteer.

When can you access U3APP

Our courses are held during the day, Monday to Friday, with occasional Saturday events.

For more details refer to our Contact Us page which details our Office hours and other contact information.

What does U3APP offer

U3APP offers over 80 continuing courses ranging from Art to Yoga, as well as shorter courses and one-off events, all free to members for a modest annual membership fee. All our courses are taught or presented by volunteers. This means the range of courses is partly dictated by the availability of people to teach, as well as by the demands of our membership.

Our courses include:

  • Languages: courses in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Chinese Mandarin.
  • Exercise: courses include Yoga, Feldenkrais, Strength and Interval Training
  • Health: Meditation and other courses about staying well mentally and physically
  • Art: Life Drawing, Colouring, Watercolours
  • Books and Writing: Book Groups and Writers Groups
  • Music: Choir and several ensemble groups
  • Films: several film groups
  • Computer skills
  • Lectures and Talks: Science, Philosophy, History, Literature, etc

Once you become a financial member of U3APP, you can enroll in as many courses as you wish for no extra charge (except for occasional charges for course notes, special venue hire, the cost of excursions etc). There are some limits set from time to time on the number of courses of the same type for popular courses such as languages and exercise courses - details are in our Enrollment Policies. There are no academic entry requirements nor any assessments or examinations.

We are always looking for new tutors and new ideas for courses. So if you have an interest or passion you'd like to share with others, please get in touch with our Course Coordination team.

Where are the courses conducted

The U3APP Office and most courses are held at the Mary Kehoe Community Centre (MKC), 224 Danks Street, Albert Park. Some courses are held at other community venues within the City of Port Phillip. A number of courses are also held online, using Zoom.

MKC is the heart of U3APP. In this spacious Edwardian house, we have our Office, three classrooms and a Hall which are in more or less constant use by our members during weekdays.

Other community centre's used by U3APP include:

  • South Melbourne Community Centre
  • Sol Green Community Centre
  • Cora Graves Community Centre
  • Betty Day Community Centre
  • Middle Park Community Centre

Our "Out and About" excursions can take you to a range of places in and around Melbourne, from the Royal Botanical Gardens to Bendigo Art Gallery.

Our Course Guides provide the information you need about where courses are held, with Google maps in each course description to help you find venues that may not be familiar to you.

So, come and Join Us at U3A Port Phillip.


How to Enrol

On-line: after bookings have opened

On-line enrolments are preferred as this significantly reduces the amount of back-office work for our volunteers.

  • Login to the U3APP.org.au website.
  • Go to the Courses & Enrolling page.
  • Scroll down to find the course that you are interested in.
  • Does the course have spaces available?
    • Click on the course name to go to the booking page.
    • Click on “Book for this course or event”.
    • You will receive a confirmation email.  Please check your Junk/Spam folders as these automatically-generated emails often finish up there.
  • OR is the course shown as FULL?
    • Click on WAITLIST.

Paper Enrolment Form: before bookings open for First Semester

  • Obtain a paper Enrolment Form either from the Office or by printing an online copy available here.
  • Complete the paper Enrolment Form and submit it to the Office.

The start date for acceptance of paper Enrolment Forms for first semester is published on the U3APP website and in the e-Bulletin. Enrolment Forms received before this date are treated as though they had been received on the start date (ie there is no advantage to be gained by submitting early). On the start date and thereafter, paper Enrolment Forms are numbered in order of receipt.  Paper Enrolment forms are processed by U3APP volunteers on the same day as on-line bookings.

If your enrolment is successful, you will receive a confirmation email.  Please check your Junk/Spam folders as these automatically-generated emails often finish up there.

If your enrolment is unsuccessful,  you will receive an email telling you that you have been waitlisted.

Via the Office: after bookings have opened

  • Contact the office in person, or by email or phone.