About U3A

About U3A

U3A functions with the philosophy of "learning for the joy of learning" with the close cooperation and participation of its members.

There is no academic requirement for membership of U3A, and there is no distinction in status between tutors and students. Most tutors come from within the membership. They tap great reservoirs of learning and experience amongst members who by tutoring classes, pass on their knowledge for the benefit of all.

Our tutors are people who have skills, experience and insights into a range of subjects. A tutor in one class is likely to be a student in another one.

In addition to the educational aspects, U3A provides the platform for comprehensive physical and social programs. Activities include exercise and keep-fit classes, and concerts. Subject to availability members can join as many classes and activities as they wish.

Occasional visitors to classes may be welcome, but you should ask the tutor first. Please note that membership of another U3A does not automatically entitle visitors to attend our classes.

Membership is open to all persons aged 18 and over.

Our Constitution is available under "Documents" in the menu on the left of this page.

History of U3A

University of the Third Age (U3A) is an international organisation, embodying the principles of life-long education and the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, in an atmosphere of mutual learning and teaching. Each U3A is a learning community, organised by and for people who can best be described as being active in retirement - the so-called Third Age of their lives. 

The term "University" is used in the original and medieval sense of an association or community of teachers and scholars, united in the pursuit of knowledge. Third Age refers to the life period of active retirement, which follows the first age of childhood and formal education and the second age of working life, and which precedes the fourth age of dependence. 

The concept of U3A was developed in Toulouse, France in 1972, to bring older people into contact with academic programmes at the University. It spread rapidly throughout Europe, and the first Australian U3A was opened in Melbourne in 1984. U3A Bundaberg Inc. was established in 1988. There are now over 100 U3A organisations in Australia with a total national membership exceeding 40,000 that have embraced principles of self-help and self-determination, structuring programmes and courses to meet the wishes of members and drawing on resources available within the membership as far as possible. 

All U3A branches are voluntary, self-help organisations. Each U3A is autonomous and democratic, with a management committee voted in by the membership. We have no employees, all workers including tutors are volunteers, who willingly devote their time to serve our members.