- About Us
- Courses & Enrolments
- Choir & Music
- Florey Daytime Lectures
- Thursday Forums
- Let's Do Groups
- Travel Opportunities
- Tutors & Tutoring
- Contact Us
Eleanor Blyth, Office staffer. Member since 2010
Taken in a little town called Melle in France, in June 2011 - weather was bit cold!!
I arrived in Adelaide in 1964 (age 14) on board SS Iberia. It was a long way from Fife in Scotland. From Adelaide we were sent to Whyalla for two years – that was definitely another PLANET!
In 1971 (age 21) I went to work for Ansett Airlines as a ‘hostie’ . . . yes, I was one of Reginald Ansett’s ‘trolley dollies’. In those days you had to ‘retire’ from the job once you reached the ripe old age of 35, if you hadn’t already left to get married. Me, I lasted three years and as a mature 24-year-old headed off to do the ritual rite of passage, travelling O/S, and finishing this trip with two months in Israel, including six weeks on a kibbutz.
After returning to Melbourne and having met the future ‘man about the house’, we moved to Paris on a posting for three years. Was that wonderful? Yes and No. Beautiful city but don’t just look up all the time or you may well experience the aroma of something that is definitely not French parfum . . . although the prevalence of crotte de chien (dog poo) has certainly much improved since then.
The next highlight was to spend ten years in Canberra, three of them at Government House in the Comptroller’s Cottage (Andrew was Military Secretary to the GG). I managed to keep myself amused by enrolling at the Australian National University – it took seven years but I eventually graduated. I had by then joined the Australian Public Service and when we moved back to Melbourne I stayed with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF - not a lot of excitement there).
From DAFF I moved to the Bureau of Meteorology where I managed the annual $18m charge imposed by the Bureau on the airline industry. I think counting money comes naturally to a Scot. I wish golf also came so naturally.
Last year it was time to retire and think about what to do next. And I thought about my friend Terri whom I met in 1976. We lived next door to each other. She lived alone and was always happy for anyone to drop in for a cup of tea and a chat – even after she married at the age of 50 she still welcomed you, no matter what she was doing. Following her retirement Terri joined U3A Heidelberg and quickly became a volunteer, enlisting and coordinating tutors, a demanding task. She had a great ‘can do’ attitude to everything and such a positive outlook on life.
Unfortunately Terri died in 2009 at the ripe young age of 63. I retired one year ago (2010), and not having my friend Terri around to spend time with, I decided the best way to honour her memory was also to volunteer at U3A, so I joined U3A Melbourne City and became an office staffer. Next year I hope to actually attend a class or two!
U3A is a great little community of all sorts of people who want to be engaged with life-after-work, and it all happens thanks to a dedicated band of volunteers. Some of our volunteers give a tremendous amount of their time and energy to the organisation and I hope the rest of our members realize and appreciate that. It’s much easier to complain than to do, so if you’re feeling a little critical of your U3A, don’t just whinge, find a solution and become a contributor so that we can all make improvements. Just like Terri did.
Eleanor Blyth, August 2011