The Origins of Moorabool U3A
Written by Eric Daws
Moorabool U3A started in 2008 with the formation and creation of a university of the Third Age in the Shire of Moorabool. Its inception started with a newspaper article, which led to the work of the Steering Committee in preparing the original Statement of Purpose, Rules and Position descriptions through to the registration, recruitment of members and commencement of activities/classes culminating with the active participation of all its members in a cooperative sharing of knowledge. The first public meeting was held on the 7th October 2008, in the Shire of Moorabool’s Quamby Room, attended by representatives from U3A Network Victoria, a Shire of Moorabool representative and the interested public.
In early October 2008, an article in a local newspaper advised its readers that there would be two public meetings to establish whether there was a need for a University of the Third Age to be formed in Bacchus Marsh and its surrounds. There was a further article about the meeting the following week and at the second public meeting, on the 14th October, also held in the Quamby Room, when a Steering Committee of nine interested people was formed, being Convenor, Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and five additional members. Together and by sub-committee, working long hours, they formulated the Statement of Purpose, and Rules for the U3A, spending time to also setup the position descriptions for the Executive and support positions for the management committee. It was also necessary to obtain a post office box, a bank account, register with the taxation office for a tax file number and ABN.
The Steering Committee met in the Quamby Room at intervals of two weeks, and at times weekly, to carry out the extensive work needed to accomplish the establishment of the new U3A. The Steering Committee voted to call their association Moorabool U3A (University of the Third Age) to broaden its influence across the Shire. Finally, everything was ready for their application to be submitted to U3A Network Victoria. On the 9th March 2009 the group’s application for membership to U3A Network Victoria was officially accepted and Moorabool U3A was off and running.
The first thing to attract members was to hold an Information Day at a public venue. After researching a number of locations, it was decided to approach the Bacchus Marsh Village Shopping Centre to use their giant chess board beneath the central clock for a demonstration game, and to setup a table nearby so as information packs could be distributed. After an extensive advertising campaign, by inserting notices in many of the local shop windows the Information day was held on 17th April. With the chess demonstration, many shoppers stopped to watch and they learnt about our U3A. After the initial information day Moorabool U3A was approached by Bacchus Marsh Village Shopping Centre and we have continued to hold these chess demonstrations and information days initially on the 2nd Saturday each month.
2012: Changing Our Name to Bacchus Marsh U3A
The Case For Change:
The original choice of Moorabool U3A had the excellent intention of being inclusive, being there for our shire rather than just for the town of Bacchus Marsh.
That intention won’t change.
Unfortunately Moorabool is not immediately recognisable as a locator for Bacchus Marsh. Indeed, people confuse Moorabool with Mooroolbark. Or they associate it with Moorabool Street in Geelong.
State wide, just about everyone seems to recognise Bacchus Marsh and to know where it is.
It is the opinion of our parent body U3A Network Victoria that town names work much better than shire names.
The Case Against Change:
The inclusive nature inherent in the name Moorabool U3A was an important feature.
Outsiders needing to know the whereabouts of our U3A through its name is irrelevant.
The proposal to change our name was carried with only one dissenting vote.