. Burnley Gardens Out & About

Thanks to the generosity and organisation of Leesa Abbinga, 15 members met on Tuesday 15 November for a tour of Burnley Gardens.  Despite a little early drizzle, our first Out & About excursion for almost two years was a great success.  Leesa was assisted by three other volunteers from the Friends of Burnley Gardens who explained the history of the gardens and some of the changes that have taken place since it was established by the Horticultural Society of Victoria in 1861.

Founded on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people many of the oldest trees in the garden pre-date European colonisation. These and a number of later plantings are heritage listed and, like the enormous Queensland Kauri, are truly a sight to behold.

The gardens are now managed by the University of Melbourne and are still used for their original purpose – the research, and teaching of environmental and ornamental horticulture.  Leesa and the other guides were students here but did not have to wear the ‘boater’ hats which appear to have been the latest in men’s fashion in a class photo from the late 1890s when women were first admitted to the college.

The Orchard Gates shown here with some of our U3A members and guide, Kirsten Binns Smith, were donated by the Friends of Burnley Garden in 2013 to mark the 150th anniversary of the official opening of the gardens. The Friends welcome new members and will be selling plants they have propagated during the Gardens’ Open Day on 4 December.

. Dates for your Diary


TERM 4: Monday 4 October - Friday 10 December

Friday 3 December - Renew Membership by this date in order to vote at the Annual General Meeting
Saturday 4 December - Annual General Meeting
Saturday 4 December - U3APP Christmas Celebration - 1:00 pm for a 1:30 pm start - Port Melbourne Town Hall
Thursday 9 December - Vaccination Day Mary Kehoe Centre - no F2F Classes.  Check with your Tutor as your Class may run via Zoom
Friday 10 December - Term 4 ends
Sunday 12 December - Renew Membership by this date in order to enrol in 2022 Courses
(*** Membership renewals can't be made during the week 13-17 December inclusive)
Monday 13 December - Friday 17 December - 2022 Enrolment Week


. The Role of Seaweed in Mitigating Climate Change

Robyn Walters, of the newly formed Climate Champions group, writes this introduction for their topic of the month, written by David Sonenberg, The Role of Seaweed in Mitigating Climate Change.

"Thanks to our enterprising tutor, Hannah Len, the Climate Change U3APP Class has created a follow-on group called Climate Champions.  We connect to continue investigating, sharing ideas and being proactive about Climate awareness. Hannah stimulated us to educate ourselves about topics we had not known about before such as:-

  • Carbon Capture
  • Green Hydrogen
  • Climate aware farming practices
  • Activities in our area
  • The role of clouds
  • The usefulness of kelp.

When we gather, there are lots of questions raised. Maybe you'll have some too."

The Role of Seaweed in Mitigating Climate Change


Seaweed and moo noos (Cattle)

Did you know – methane emissions from livestock make up about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Did you know – that a cow produces on average as much gas emissions as one car.

Did you know – that CSIRO in Australia claims that methane stays in the atmosphere for about nine years, a far shorter period than carbon dioxide, however methane's global warming potential is “86 times higher than carbon dioxide when averaged over 20 years….”.

Did you know – the CSIRO has developed a seaweed product that reduces greenhouse gases produced by cattle and has won a $1M international prize for doing so.

Did you know – that this seaweed product slashes the amount of greenhouse gases cattle ‘burp’ and ‘fart’ (mainly burping) into the atmosphere.

It is claimed that when this product is added to cattle feed, the product, which contains Australian “super seaweed” Asparagopsis, virtually eliminates methane from the animals bodily emissions. Also it is claimed that the potential for the product to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas footprint, if commercialised, was massive.

Watch this space for developments in the cattle industry.

Some other seaweed benefits

We are all familiar with the role forests play when it comes to providing a sustainable source of food, energy and raw materials, and locking away CO2 emissions. But perhaps we are less knowledgeable about the potential of forests of seaweed growing in the oceans.

Did you know – seaweed plays a crucial role in the ocean’s ability to absorb greenhouse gases and is grown around the world.

Did you know – seaweed is better at absorbing CO2 than trees are.

Did you know – seaweed is considered a high valued source of protein for humans and livestock.

A type of seaweed known as kelp, is being developed for its nutritional value and its ability to absorb and knock away huge quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2). Seaweed, in the oceans, helps to de-acidify the water and absorb CO2 more effectively than trees. It also improves water quality by extracting harmful nutrients such as nitrogen from the sea.

Seaweed / Kelp - what’s the difference?

Seaweed is a plant growing in the sea, especially marine algae; unlike land plants, it does not have roots, stems, leaves and flowers; and may be green, brown or red; it grows on the seashore, in salt-marshes, in brackish water or submerged in the ocean.

Kelp is any large, brown, cold water seaweed of the family Laminariaceae, used as a food and in various manufacturing processes, a bed or mass of such seaweeds.

David Sonenberg, Climate Champion

Artwork - Colin Sheppard, local artist - instagram @doitbabyfactory

. COVID-19 Vaccination Information – Victorian Government

The Victorian Department of Health has provided this update about COVID-19 Vaccinations, including how to book an appointment and the type of vaccination you are eligible for:

There are more places than ever before to get your COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccines are safe and effective

The vaccines are free

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine reduces your risk of getting sick with COVID-19 and protects you against becoming very sick if you do get COVID-19. It helps to protect your friends, family and community.

If most people are vaccinated, the virus can’t spread as easily. This also protects people who can’t get vaccinated.

How to book an appointment

You can book at a participating doctor’s clinic or pharmacy. Find your nearest GP clinic using the Eligibility Checker.

Eligible people in Victoria can  book their vaccination online at one of over 50 vaccination centres. Bookings can also be made by calling the Coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398.

You need two separate doses (injections) of the vaccine to give you the best protection against vaccination COVID-19. The first dose of the vaccine will give you significant protection against COVID19 while you await your second dose. Once you receive the second dose, you will have the highest level of protection against COVID-19. Including protection against the Delta variant.

  • If you get the AstraZeneca vaccine, you should get two injections 12 weeks apart.
  • If you get the Pfizer vaccine, you should get two injections 6 weeks apart.

Vaccines are administered following the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI):

  • The   Pfizer vaccine is offered to people aged under 60 years.
  • The   AstraZeneca vaccine is offered to people aged 60 years and over.

You can read more about the vaccines, including risks and possible side effects of the vaccines at health.gov.au.

The best person to talk to if you have concerns about your health and getting the COVID-19 vaccine is your doctor or health practitioner.

During the COVID-19 vaccine rollout you will need to maintain COVIDSafe behaviours, to keep yourself and your friends, family and loved ones safe.

Further Information and links:

The health.gov.au and coronavirus.vic.gov.au sites both provide up to date information on the vaccines, eligibility and how to book. This information is also available in languages other than English, easy read and Auslan formats.

To stay up to date on the latest news click here to subscribe to updates from the Victorian Department of Health on the COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

. Funeral notice – Air Vice Marshal Alan Raymond Reed AO

Air Vice Marshal Alan Reed (AO)


Alan Reed was born in Albany Western Australia in December 1933.  He grew up in East Fremantle and attended Fremantle Boys High School.  He was interviewed for his first job as an Accountants Clerk by Sir Charles Court and he worked with Hendry, Rae and Court until he was called up for national service training in the RAAF in June 1952.

Having "become airborne" for the first time in a Dakota (DC3) he decided that a flying career was more exciting and suited him better than auditing and getting purple ink on his fingers and he applied for pilot training in the RAAF. Alan was selected for No 13 Pilots Course which began training at Archerfield in Queensland on Tiger Moths in May 1953 and he was one of the thirteen (out of 26 who started) who was awarded his wings in July 1954.

As a brand new Sergeant Pilot, Alan was posted to the maritime role flying long nose Lincoln aircraft with No 10 Squadron in Townsville. Whilst there he was commissioned, assessed as "above average" and made Captain of his own crew.  In 1958, jets called and after a jet conversion on Vampires, he began a long and very satisfying period flying the beautiful "lady of the sky" the Canberra bomber firstly in No 1 Squadron at Amberley.

Highlights included becoming with his navigator, the first A category crew in the Wing and participating in several overseas deployments including flying one of three Canberras around the world to participate in the Nigerian Independence celebrations in October 1960. He was then selected for an exchange tour on Canberras in the Royal Air Force but shortly before planned departure (and marriage to his Scottish sweetheart Aileen) the posting was cancelled and he returned to Amberley and later to Malaya still flying Canberras.

A tour as a flight commander at the RAAF Academy followed and after completing Staff College in 1966, he was promoted to squadron leader and selected for the first pick up of the F111. During refresher training, he was advised that he had been selected for exchange with the US Air Force to fly the then top fighter aircraft in the world, the Phantom RF4C. He was very lucky as the F111 was delayed for several years. At that time, the Phantom held most aviation records including, altitude, speed and time to altitude. It was a major leap from a Canberra and on arriving at Shaw Air Force Base, beginning training on the Phantom and realizing that his job was to train US pilots and navigators to fight in Vietnam, he decided that he needed to get some combat experience himself to give him experience in reconnaissance and credibility in his job.

He approached the senior USAF officer at Shaw as well as the Australian Embassy in Washington and put in process, gaining approval from both governments to do an assignment flying Phantoms in Vietnam. After several months, approval was finally granted and he was assigned to the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Tan Son Nhut base (Saigon) to fly for six months temporary duty as the only Australian pilot in the entire wing of five squadrons. As the USAF could not order him as a foreign national to Vietnam, they issued "Invitational Orders" with the Secretary of the Air Force inviting him to proceed on operational duty to Vietnam. He thus claims to be one of the few people to be "invited to attend a war!" The USAF was not going to let him go to a war zone unless he was well prepared and he completed the USAF Survival Course which included snow survival, the Sea Survival course and the Jungle Survival course in the Philippines before arriving for his tour of operational duty in Vietnam.

What followed was excellent experience flying low level reconnaissance missions in all of South Vietnam and as the RAAF had advised USAF that the only constraint on him was not to fly into Cambodia, the USAF assigned him to "out country" missions including North Vietnam and Laos. After returning to Shaw with this excellent experience, he quickly became a training flight commander and had an enjoyable and rewarding time as an instructor. For his service with the USAF in Vietnam, he was awarded the US Forces Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster.

On return to Australia, he paid his dues as Staff Officer for the F111 followed by command of No 6 Squadron which by then was equipped with Phantoms to fill the gap left by the delayed F111l. He was selected as a student on Joint Service Staff College and this was followed by a tour as an instructor at the College. A tour in charge of flying training in the RAAF followed promotion to group captain and then selection as the senior officer flying the Flll at Amberley was the real and very satisfying end of his operational flying of high performance aircraft.

On completion of this marvellous tour, he was promoted to Air Commodore and posted as Commandant of the RAAF Academy at Point Cook. A most enjoyable tour as Air Attache in Washington came on completion of this assignment. After three years in Washington, his final posting on promotion to Air Vice Marshal was as Air Officer Commanding Support Command in Melbourne.

Alan was appointed as an Officer in the Order of Australia in 1989. He retired from the RAAF in November 1990 and established his own consultancy business. Alan considers he had a wonderful career flying the most advanced aircraft of their time. He believes the RAAF is a vastly different service to the one he joined nearly 60 years ago and he had the best of it. Having started his career on Tiger Moths he got a big kick out of flying his restored Tiger which he recently donated to the Temora Air Museum. His philosophy was that if you don't have a F111, a Tiger Moth is the next best thing.

Alan was married to Aileen Purvis. They had recently celebrated 60 years of marriage. There are two sons and five gorgeous grand daughters.

As he said, life is good.


. Things to do in Lockdown – Online Jigsaws

Online Jigsaws - by Janet Campbell

During Melbourne’s lockdowns, many of us have discovered (or rediscovered) the joy of jigsaw puzzles. They provide a range of benefits during these stressful and frustrating times. I find them to be quite meditative and offer much needed stress relief.

However, whilst our Port Melbourne Facebook group participants regularly posted about jigsaws during our first lockdown in 2020 (seems so long ago!), and the local newsagent offered a variety for sale, I hadn’t considered them for myself. I live in an apartment and don’t really have the space to have a jigsaw underway for hours or even days.

But that first lockdown seemed to drag on and on (little did we know then!), so I was intrigued when I saw a Facebook post about online jigsaws. I found there to be a wealth of these websites. However, some required subscriptions, some didn’t offer many functional options, and some were a bit “clunky” in design.

Then I discovered Jigsaw Explorer www.jigsawexplorer.com It’s a wonderful website and has provided me with many hours of entertainment. You can select puzzle images from a vast range of themes, e.g. Animals (birds, cats, insects, reptiles etc); Nature (beaches, seasons, farms, landscapes and more); Art includes paintings, costumes and murals; Holidays offer Christmas, Halloween and Valentine’s selections. That’s just a few. Plus, you can use your own images i.e., your own photos or images “borrowed” temporarily from all over the internet. Other ways to customise your experience are to select your preferred challenge level (number of pieces) or invite other people to play the puzzle with you over the internet by sharing a game link.

As we embark on yet another lockdown, perhaps online jigsaws can offer you some much needed entertainment.

. Vale Alan Reed

Alan Reed, an amazing bloke came late into my life at the MSAC Gym.  Strangely we chatted in the change rooms and it soon came out that he was not only a RAAF pilot but a retired Air Vice Marshall, the second highest rank in our Air Force.  Alan was born in 1933 in Western Australia, of humble but determined parents. As I was a few months younger and had done Nasho in the Navy and he in the force we seemed to hit it off.  Alan aspired to air crew but reached the rank of corporal.  Air crew proved too elusive in that six months.

After discharge from NASHO, Alan, who in civil life had been doing accountancy, which he now found dull, applied for and was accepted in an intake of hopeful pilots.  He had found his forte.  Pilot training soon saw him as a natural.  Graduating as a pilot he had the rank of sergeant then flight sergeant and, as chance would have it, all pilots were to be given commissioned rank, which saw Alan now a pilot officer.  Flying bombers became second nature for him with service in the USA.

As he says in his biography, Invited to a War, he “met the girl of his dreams” and married Aileen, with whom he had two sons, Gus and Cameron.  His family and the RAAF were his life.  His first time in the USA had him so enamoured with his craft as a pilot that he volunteered to serve with the United States Air Force in Vietnam where he saw real action.

On return to Australia, Canberra bombers dominated his service life.  This saw a return to the USA as Australia’s Air Attaché and promotion to Group Captain.  Following this appointment it was Head Quarters Support Command Melbourne and eventual promotion to Air Vice Marshal.

What an amazing career for a man as humble, yet dedicated to both career and family as Alan was.  How lucky I was to have met such a man, albeit in our 80’s during time spent together at U3A Port Phillip.

Chocks away and clear skies ahead for a great fellow.

by Colin Macleod, Tutor U3A Port Phillip

. U3APP Committee appoints Marketing Manager

The U3APP Committee of Management has appointed Committee Member, Libby Smith to the role of U3APP Marketing Manager, for the promotion of U3APP.

The Committee of Management maintains that for the U3APP to prosper we need to promote our organisation and activities in the community in such a way as to inform our  Members of our activities and events and to attract new Members and Tutors.  It is also important that we promote the health and social benefits we offer to retired and semi-retired people in the Port Phillip area to ensure the ongoing support and goodwill of the Port Phillip Council.

Above all we  want U3APP to be widely recognised as a vibrant organisation of volunteers which offers a diverse range of enjoyable and affordable learning and participation opportunities for older people.

Pam Caven, CoM, Working Group

. Message from U3APP President – 18 July 2021

Graham Gosling - U3APP President

Welcome to Term 3 of the 2021 academic year at U3A Port Phillip.  We have much to celebrate in the successes we have had negotiating the COVID-19 minefield with its constantly evolving environment and resultant government restrictions.

Our groups responsible for shepherding us to this point have accomplished what initially seemed an impossible task: to restore U3APP to a semblance of normalcy, i.e., to stabilise and expand our curriculum and social atmosphere while ensuring a safe environment in which to operate.

Our present stability has resulted from the concerted efforts of our ‘behind-the-scenes’ groups of dedicated volunteers:  the COVID-19 Working Group which devised the strategic plan for recovery and guided implementation of that plan, The IT Team which operated the buttons and levers to enable delivery of the plan, the Enrolment Team which ensured Class rolls and Waitlists were actioned, Office Volunteers who kept the everyday aspects of the organisation running smoothly from remote locations, Course Coordinators who navigated the monumental task of scheduling all the Courses  and our dedicated and talented cadre of Tutors, who delivered Courses, all of whom showed remarkable resilience and flexibility.

Some of our Tutors deliver their Courses Face-2-Face in classrooms as was done prior to COVID, although most courses are delivered using Zoom as the delivery platform, and a few still rely on communication by e-mail. Surprisingly as well as pleasingly, U3APP has experienced an increase in Membership during our times of trial, putting even more stress on our Tutorial resources.

So, on behalf of the Committee of Management, I express my gratitude to those dedicated and resourceful individuals who delivered this ‘miracle’.  If you would like to be a part of this group, we are always in need of people to help, especially individuals willing to become Tutors.  Just raise your hand and someone will be there to help you into the Tutorial Team.

Thanks again.

Graham Gosling, President - U3A Port Phillip

18 July 2021


. How do things get done at U3A Port Phillip?

U3A Port Phillip is run totally by Volunteers.  Have you ever wondered what do they do behind the scenes?

In this article, we take you into the amazing world of how your Courses are scheduled.

To schedule a Course, we need two things: a Tutor to present a Course and a place to run the Course, either physical or virtual.

For Courses that run all year, Tutors propose the Course they wish to run in October/November of the preceding year.  For Courses that run for a specific period such as one or two Terms, Tutors propose their Course approximately one month in advance.

In their proposals, Tutors also request a place to run their Course, for example:

  • Online
  • A City of Port Phillip venue, such as Mary Kehoe Hall, South Melbourne Community Centre Hall 1, Sol Green Community Centre Hall, Middle Park Community Centre Hall
  • If a Tutor is organising the venue in which the Course will run, the Tutor advises the location such as a private home or a bowling club or a park

For Online Courses, the U3APP IT group purchases the appropriate number of Zoom accounts to enable multiple concurrent Online Courses each day, including suitable gaps between Courses using the same account.

For City of Port Phillip venues, U3APP must apply to CoPP on an annual basis to hire specific rooms for specific dates over the financial year July to June.  In 2021, applications for room hire are submitted during a 2 week time period at the start of May.  After the application period closes, CoPP evaluates the applications, determines the successful applicants and advises the results in June.  Due to the reduction of venues available for hire and capacity limits imposed by COVID requirements, CoPP cannot guarantee that requested days, times and venues will be available.

Once we know the Courses which Tutors wish to give and the venues we can use, then the Course Coordination team, in particular Ann Gibson, can start scheduling.  Face to face Courses requirements, such as a particular venue, a particular day and time, a particular room size, are matched against the specific rooms available.   COVID requirements impose additional restrictions on scheduling face to face Courses, such as longer gaps between Courses in the same room and staggered start times between courses in different rooms in the same venue.  To achieve a workable Course Schedule requires cooperative consultations and a team effort between the Tutors and Course Coordination.  In practice, the fluidity of available face to face rooms caused by COVID restrictions has necessitated continuous consultations since October 2020.