The first University of the Third Age was established at the University of Toulouse, France in 1972. The aim was to improve the quality of life for older people, by keeping them in touch with an ever-changing world. Australia’s first U3A commenced in Melbourne in 1984.
There are 232 known U3A campuses throughout Australia and over 100 in Victoria. The U3A movement is well established in the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe.
U3A Ferntree Gully (U3A Knox, since May 2002) was established in 1993. An election was held and a committee formed. Our first office was in a second hand caravan at Coonara House in Willow Road.
Our first classes were Language, Literature, Current Affairs, Public Speaking and Australian History.Classes were held at Coonara House, various clubhouses, Ferntree Gully Technical College and members’ homes.
In 1996 Knox Council offered us the kindergarten in Park Boulevard at a peppercorn rent. After much renovation this has been our home ever since and as membership grew new classrooms were added.
In November, 2015 we had 1289 members and provided more than 140 activities and courses utilising the Parkhills building plus 10 other venues and several private homes.