About Us


What is U3A?


U3A is the acronym for “University of the Third Age”.  It is a worldwide organization which began in France in 1972 when legislation was passed that required universities to provide more community education.  In 1973 a highly-rated gerontology course was provided by Toulouse University for local retired people, a course which led to the formation of what was to be the first U3A.  The idea quickly spread throughout Europe but when it got to England a change was made to the French model.  The French model had strong ties to the universities whereas in the British model the ties to universities disappeared and it was determined that the members themselves would determine course structures and would run everything themselves.  That British model was introduced into Australia in 1984 (Melbourne).


The term “university” is still used but only in the original sense of the word.  That is ‘a coming together of like-minded people with a common interest in learning’.


What is Third Age?


Childhood is our first age.  The second age is that of career and parental responsibility.  What follows thus becomes our third age or the age of active retirement.


About Shellharbour City U3A Inc
Shellharbour City is a part of this international movement that encourages retired people to take part in lifelong learning activities for pleasure.  Strictly speaking there is no minimum age and there is certainly no maximum.  There is certainly no requirement for prior qualifications.


Our U3A allows people to study in a relaxed environment.  There are no prior qualifications, no exams and no degrees awarded …. so no stress!  There is no pressure to join any of the courses planned throughout the year.


Our members are always willing to share their knowledge with others by acting as course leaders or tutors, or by assisting with administration.  Quite often members are leaders in some classes and learners in others.


We produce a newsletter each term containing our programme including who guest speakers are for each Tuesday afternoon, and a list of our social calendar and courses available.