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U3A Network Queensland 2023 State Conference Rockhampton
U3A Network Qld President Rhonda Weston AM, Conference co-ordinator Henry Cope,
Rockhampton pres
ident Cheryl Wickes with Professor Francois Vellas
HOME - CQToday Report 17th May 2023 - Meet&Greet
Photos from U3AQld Conference Social - A PDF presentaton of the ART Competition
U3A Rockhampton and District extends its heartfelt gratitude to all the volunteers who contributed to the resounding success of this milestone conference. Their dedication and hard work ensured that the event was a truly memorable celebration of 50 years of U3A, and a glimpse into the bright future that awaits all members.

U3A Rockhampton and District also offers sincere thanks to supporters and sponsors including Gambling Community Benefit Fund, Rockhampton Regional Council and Central Queensland University. Without this essential support, the Conference would not have been possible.


A sparkling start to the 2023 U3A Network Queensland Conference was held at RMOA (Rockhampton
Museum of Art
on Monday, 8th May, opened by Rockhampton Mayor Tony Williams.

U3A Network Queensland president,
Rhonda Weston AM
, Rockhampton Mayor Tony
, and U3A Rockhampton president, Cheryl Wickes
, greeted delegates to the conference.

International visitor, Professor Francois Vellas,
President of the international U3A body (IAUTA),
his wife
, and special guests arrived at the Art
Gallery aboard Capricorn Carriages, to enjoy the Meet
and Greet event. U3A (University of the Third Age), was formed 50 years ago by Professor Vellas’ father,
Professor Pierre Vellas
in France, and quickly spread throughout the world.

Being the 50th year of U3A brought an extra dimension to
this year’s Network Queensland Conference, and when Rockhampton was asked to host the 2023 event, the organizing committee planned a celebration that will long
be remembered.

Delicious catering by Hummingbird Café, and excellent entertainment by the Capricorn Carriages,
made for an exciting start to the Conference hosted by
U3A Rockhampton and District.

The U3A Network Queensland Conference continued throughout the week at Central Queensland University
with a fabulous line-up of guest speakers who kept
delegates inspired and entertained throughout.

On Tuesday morning delegates were welcomed by Chancellor Mr Graeme Innes AM, and the
international history of U3A was explored by
Professor Vellas, and Professor Maria Chester
(via video link)

Then the history of the arrival of U3A in Australia
was detailed by co-founder of the first branch in
Victoria in 1984, Mr Cliff Picton
. Mr Jim Hales then described the formation of Network Queensland on
the Sunshine Coast in 2009.
These trips down memory lane, were followed by MC Mr Grant Cassidy OAM introducing an inspired program of speakers discussing such relevant topics as ‘Where medical research is taking us’ by Clare Blake of the Berghofer Institute, ‘Future Technologies and the Third Age’ by Assoc. Professor Michael Cowling, and ‘Our Future in Energy’ with Dr Anthony Lynham, interspersed with light entertainment from local bush poet Bob Pacey.

On Wednesday, the conference continued with speakers addressing such issues relevant to seniors in our community as ‘Age Friendly Communities’ by Colin Maddocks, ‘Becoming Digitally Savy’ with Keir Tierney, ‘Spare Parts for the Human Body’ by organ donation specialist Josephine Reoch, and ’Can you teach an old dog new tricks’ with Dr Amanda Rebar Associate Professor CQU, to name just a few.

Delicious catering by ‘Creative Cater’ of Yeppoon was a hit with all delegates as was a performance by the colourful U3A Rockhampton Ukulele Group.

Both conference dinners were held at Rockhampton Leagues Club to the delight of delegates, with a special cake created by Councillor Drew Wickerson. The cake was decorated with pictures of Professor Francois Vellas and his father, Professor Pierre Vellas, a feature greatly appreciated by the international visitors.

‘There are so many great features of the conference, and so many people to be thanked for their support,’ said U3A Rockhampton and District president, Cheryl Wickes.

Our organizing committee has done an amazing job to put on a spectacular Network Queensland conference under the leadership of our Henry Cope.’
Delegates from throughout Queensland and all our members who attended were in awe of the professionalism and pure enjoyment of the event! Social media has been running hot with congratulations from U3A groups around the world. We have put Rockhampton firmly on the map…’ she said.

You retire from work… not from life! U3A is an adult education movement which provides a wide range of activities providing lifelong learning for seniors. There are more than 200 U3As in Australia… and each state has its own Network organisation.