Tutor Introductions

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This new section on our website is to introduce you to our tutors and let you know a little bit about them, their interests and the course/s that they offer. By reading about them, you might be inspired to become a tutor yourself!

Leigh Baker

Len Baker

Stephen Carisbrooke

Keith Hallett

Peter Johnson

Tony Mew

Paul Reid

John Taubman

Peter Johnson – President of U3A

A few years back, I left suburban life and my job as a banker to retire in Kyneton with my wife Linda. I moved into the Macedon Ranges from Watsonia North in 2013.

I’m the new president of Kyneton U3A and I’ve been on the committee for the last two years.

I’m also the secretary and treasurer of the Campaspe River and Land Management Group in Kyneton. We work closely with Kyneton Secondary College.

I’m a member of the Kyneton Town Square Reference Group. As the president of U3A, I will be ensuring that our voice is heard within the planning for the new community hub at the Kyneton Primary School site.

It’s important to get involved in the community, and to make sure that you help the community to the best possible outcomes for whatever’s required.

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Leigh Baker

Leigh is the leader of Lunch Club where members go to
various locations in Kyneton and surrounding areas.

Leigh and her husband, Len, escaped from Richmond to beautiful Kyneton 11.5 years ago.  After spending her working years in varied pursuits, trying to find her  ideal occupation, Leigh wonders if anyone would have paid her to solve puzzles.  Her studies mostly involved the maths, science and art of cartography and photography, but she is interested really, in learning about everything except celebrities, the stock market and sport.

She has travelled widely over the years and enjoyed cross-country skiing and bush-walking when she was fitter. 

In retirement, her major interest has been in U3A. Frustration with the lack of suitable plays for the U3A drama group led her to write for them. Two of her plays have been performed at the One-Act Plays Festival and elsewhere.  With limited mobility, she can still enjoy visits with her son and family, doing puzzles, playing croquet, eating out, reading, listening to music and travelling with  Len.

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Paul Reid

Courses that Paul led this year are: First Nations History – Macedon Ranges and Paul Reid’s History Tour of Kyneton.

Paul Reid is a retired teacher, union organiser and business manager. More recently he co-authored Discover Historic Kyneton, an award-winning guide to the historic treasures of Kyneton, and has conducted walks and talks about Kyneton’s history. Currently, Paul is leading a U3A group investigating the history of the First Nations in the Macedon Ranges. Paul has previously run courses for U3A on United States Government and Politics (usually during election years) and may do so again.”

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Keith Hallett

Keith presented a course in Australian History in 2021

Keith is a retired history teacher, working at a time  when people learned about our history. He  has written several books, some text books, some general. At present he is writing a history of Australian railways from  the point of  view of exploring Australian identity. Away from the class room, his historical interest has  focused on Australian  values and identity.

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Len Baker

Len runs the Computer Workshop and Music where you share Vinyl, CDs, DVDs, internet links (YouTube, Spotify etc) and enjoy some mainly classical music of all sorts and eras.

Born and raised in NW London Len left school at 16 but managed to get into the computer industry as an operator in the mid-sixties. A year later he became a programmer and spent the next forty-odd years in the industry. Early experience included an early on-line system for stock-brokers and helping write a disk operating system for a mini-computer. Len came out to Australia on a working holiday in the mid-seventies, spent time in the Pilbara then arrived in Melbourne, got the offer to help write an on-line booking system for Flag Inns, long before the internet, and decided to emigrate. Super Sally was successfully released (you might remember the adverts), then came involvement in the telecommunications industry for many years. Len was lucky enough to meet Leigh in the early eighties and has enjoyed bush-walking, attending music concerts, traveling in Australia and abroad, raising a son and enjoying his family, playing games, keeping up-to-date with science, and many other interests with her ever since. Relocating to Kyneton after retirement was a great move with involvement with many Kyneton U3A activities and also the Kyneton Croquet Club. Running the Computer Workshop has been great for keeping reasonably up-to-date with IT developments and listening to good music is always a delight.

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John Taubman – Course Co-ordinator

John comes to U3A Kyneton after a 50-year career in the Australian Navy and as a Defence Contractor.  He has held volunteer roles in the NSW Rural Fire Service, the CFA, the RSL and other voluntary organisations.

He and Roni (Secretary, U3A Kyneton) have lived in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, England, Scotland and Honolulu, leaving their children, in various parts of the globe.  They now are delighted to call Kyneton home.  Their elder son says, ‘don’t ask me where I am from – I don’t know’ and he has lived in the US for over 25 years.  The younger son has similar opinions and lives in WA.

John coordinates the over 70 courses that U3A Kyneton facilitates each year.  He is a committee member of U3A Kyneton and also U3A Network – Victoria and contributes in strategic proposals.  He also manages the U3A Kyneton course database – U-MAS.

As the family have moved around the world, John has found that the best way to assimilate into a new location is to join and contribute to the community.

John regularly presents and commentates on Defence and US political issues.

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Tony Mew

Tony is the leader for the Birdwatching Course : Held monthly on the 4th Thursday of the month, 9:00am – 12:30pm.
Tony Mew: I was lucky enough to enjoy a stimulating and satisfying career as an engineer in the telecommunications industry before my retirement in 2016. Prior to retirement, my partner Louise and I built a new, off grid house at Bullarto South on 6.7 hectares. Our property backs onto the Wombat State Forest. It’s in a beautiful area, there are lots of great towns within easy distance, and the Bullarto community is very welcoming. When I retired we sold our family home in Ivanhoe and now spend most of our time at Bullarto South.
Having grown up on a dairy farm in northern Victoria, I am thoroughly enjoying my return to country life. I spend my time reading, bushwalking with some Bullarto locals, birdwatching (of course!), working on various projects around our property and watching Australian Rules football and Test cricket. I am also the gardener’s assistant (Louise being a keen gardener)!
I enjoy being the Tutor of the Birdwatching group. It has meant I’ve been able to enjoy the company of a lovely group of people whilst we teach each other to identify the beautiful birds of our region. A bonus has been that in seeking good birdwatching locations, we have discovered and enjoyed visiting lots of beautiful places that I would otherwise not have known about.

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Stephen Carisbrooke

I grew up in Sydney. My father was a primary school teacher who had served in the British Navy in World War 2. Part of his duties involved operating the (then secret) advanced radar and he demonstrated it to King George VI when he was on a tour of inspection. My father had many interesting stories about history and politics.

I went to a State Primary School and High School and I won a scholarship to study Law at Sydney University. I was opposed to the Vietnam war and joined in many demonstrations but was always careful not to get arrested in case it affected my chances of admission as a solicitor. It was a huge thrill when Gough Whitlam, the newly-elected Prime Minister, attended my graduation ceremony as guest of honour and I have a photo of him with me and my mother.

After my parents separated, I moved to Melbourne and obtained a job at Royal Insurance as the legal officer. After a few months, I saw an ad in the Law Institute Journal for solicitors at the Crown Law Department and I immediately applied and was successful. Initially I worked for the Attorney-General in the policy area, working on new legislation, answering correspondence and drafting second-reading speeches for the Minister when he was introducing legislation in Parliament. It didn’t take me long to find out that he didn’t want any humour in them, just plain facts.

A vacancy occurred in the Criminal Law Branch (later the Office of Public Prosecutions) which I applied for and received. This was what I always wanted to do, and I served there for nearly 30 years, retiring as the acting Solicitor for Public Prosecutions.

There was still some life in the old boy. My then wife, who was employed by a real estate developer, knew I was interested in China and got me a spot as Overseas Relations Manager for the Sanctuary Lakes Estate at Point Cook. They were probably the happiest years of my life, I became reasonably proficient in Cantonese, I travelled around China, did television and radio appearances, spoke at sales seminars.

After having lived in the Macedon Ranges (Woodend and Mount Macedon) for nearly 20 years, a change in domestic circumstances made me look for a home in Kyneton, where I have lived for the past three years. I like Kyneton, especially as it doesn’t feel like an outer suburb of Melbourne.

My main areas of interest are modern world history since 1900.

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