This section on our website is to introduce you to your 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!
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 am the tutor for the Movie afternoon and now the Social Golf.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
John Taubman – Course Co-ordinator and Vice-President
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.
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.
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.
The course will commence with the arrival of the peoples of South Africa, where they came from, why they
were there and when they arrived. This is important to understand the makeup of what became known as Coloured,
Bantu, Indian and Afrikaner and English whites. The course will progress with the development of the country and its
British colonies and Boer republics leading to the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910. Various racial
policies during this time will be discussed. The main body of the course will focus on the apartheid years leading to
the election of Nelson Mandela in1994 and my experiences and insights during my life living there until my departure
in late 1996.
I majored in Accountancy, Economics and Finance and trained as a Chartered Accountant in South Africa. After qualifying, I worked for major accounting firms EY and Deloitte and for private companies as an accountant.
In 1996, I emigrated to New Zealand and changed to specialising in business computerisation for medium sized companies in 2001. In 2005, Sydney beckoned and the following year I met Gwen. After we married in 2011, we moved to Melbourne to be close to relatives and grandchildren. Kyneton became our home in 2019 just before the dreaded Covid reared its head.
From my teenage years, I became aware of the nature of the unjust system of government operating in the country of my birth. I tried to gain as much information as was possible at the time and later became involved in liberal politics. Through our political contacts, I gained more insight and knowledge about the underlying human suffering Apartheid was causing.
During the past few years, through my reading and further research, it has become possible to fill in missing pieces and reinforce my recollections and understanding of what took place in South Africa.
Helga Ohlmus leads the U3A riding group on a Tuesday
I came to Kyneton in 2019 from Mitcham, Melbourne to join my daughter, SIL and two grandchildren, who live a few streets away.
Its been fabulous living in Kyneton and riding has helped me meet new people and make new friendships.
After never owning a bike before, I started cycling at the age of fifty two. I’m now in my mid seventies and am passionate about cycling, heading out three times a week, which includes the U3A Tuesday group.
I’m not a fast rider – my motivation is to enjoy exploring the Macedon Ranges at a manageable pace and stopping for a coffee along the way.
I still belong to my Melbourne, Whitehorse Cycling Group and have completed several trips across regional Victoria ,Australia and Overseas, including Vietnam, Europe and SouthEast Asia.
I look forward to meeting you and sharing some great rides together.