Public Lecture Series

This series of lectures covers a variety of topics presented by invited speakers who are experts in their field.

They are open to the public and members are encouraged to bring along a friend. The talks are held on the fourth Monday of the month in the U3A Hall between 2.00pm-4.00pm.  You do not have to enrol to attend these lectures. However, members are requested to enrol through MyU3A to provide an idea of numbers.

A gold coin donation to contribute to a gift for the speaker would be appreciated.


Semester 1

25 February - Gerard Mansour - "Dialogue with the Commissioner for Senior Victorians"
Commissioner Gerard Mansour will outline the issues he has found facing seniors, the initiatives being undertaken to address these and how we actively participate in determining our futures. The Commissioner is very keen that this time becomes a dialogue – he wants to hear from Banyule seniors about our concerns to further inform his work. Members of the public are welcome – particularly those from other seniors’ organizations.


25 March - Alex Prygodicz - "The Great Melbourne Telescope"
Erected at the Melbourne Observatory in 1869 it became renowned for being the largest steerable telescope in the world. It firmly placed the colony of Victoria, in the boom decades following the goldrush, on the world stage as a centre of learning, not just economic wealth. Alex Prygodicz, physicist and Astronomical Society of Victoria member, discusses the Great Melbourne Telescope’s many ‘scientific roles’ not only in mapping the southern skies but also in magnetic surveying, meteorology and seismology; the subsequent move to Mt Stromlo; survival during the 2003 Canberra bushfires; return to Melbourne for massive restoration and reinstatement in its original Botanical Gardens building


27 May - A highly experienced and current forensic scientist - "CSI: Fact or Fiction?"
Behind the scenes at the Victorian Police Forensic Sciences Division. Forensic technology available to assist police has expanded dramatically over the last decades. Does it match the images from popular crime programs? This presentation by a current forensic scientist working in Victoria Police offers us a sound glimpse into the work performed by Forensic Scientists and Crime Scene Officers in the Forensic Services Department of Victoria Police. It covers the major evidence types performed initially at the crime scene and then within the laboratory, such as the use of DNA, fingerprints and ballistic examinations.


24 June -  Paul Falassone - "Marvellous Smellbourne to (2nd) Most Liveable City" 
The history of Melbourne’s Sewerage System is fascinating. Imagine yourself as an early settler arriving in Port Phillip Bay and smelling Melbourne before actually arriving onshore. The first 60 years of Melbourne’s colonization with its rapid population growth meant only ad hoc attempts were made to dispose of human waste, apart from the ‘night cart’, until a mammoth single engineering feat was undertaken to develop Melbourne’s first sewerage system in the 1890s. Post WWII, further population increase meant a second system was needed. How’s our infrastructure holding up now? 



Semester 2

22 July - Lyndal Ritchie - "For the Love of a Dog . . . Pet Therapy"
Lort Smith, the largest not-for-profit organisation in Australia is known for its animal hospital, care for abandoned animals and animal advocacy. For over 25 years, Lort Smith has provided pet therapy, where dedicated volunteers, together with their own specially assessed dogs regularly visit hospitals and residential care centres. U3A Banyule member, Lyndal Ritchie, is one such volunteer. Lyndal will outline the Pet Therapy program and speak of her personal experience volunteering at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre.


26 August - Dr Mammad Aidani - "Living in Exile "
Dr. Mammad Aidani left Iran after the 1979 February Revolution. Mammad has lived in exile ever since. An acclaimed poet and playwright, Mammad is also a distinguished academic, researching the diaspora of Middle Eastern people, particularly fellow Iranians, who experienced violence and torture under oppressive regimes. Mammad will discuss censorship, isolation, and the need to critically address its significance both existentially and ethically in our times. Mammad wrote “Oppressed men and women always fight and wait for that bright future on the horizon.”


23 September - Loretta Smith - "A Spanner in the Works "
Loretta Smith is the author of 'A Spanner in the Works: The extraordinary story of Australia's first all-girl garage.' Loretta will talk about this newly-released biography that tells the never-before-told story of entrepreneur and pioneer, Alice Anderson, who established the first motor service in Australia run entirely by women. With her business acumen she grew her business from a fledgling touring service to an all-women motor garage. She was the embodiment of the 1920's modern woman.




2018 Public Lecture topics  [.pdf, 1page]