Western Suburbs

Western Suburbs branch meets every second Monday at The Grove Public Library (River Room), corner of Stirling H/way and Leake St Peppermint Grove (opposite Cottesloe Centro). It is easily accessible by public transport, either by bus along Stirling Highway, or by train to Cottesloe station and a short walk down Napoleon Street. First presentation at 1:00 PM, we break for afternoon tea at 2:00 PM with second presentation from 2:30 PM.

Click for the detailed program

Come Play Canasta
Every Friday
2:00 PM
Wembley Community Centre
0439 955 157
Round Table Discussion
1st and 3rd Monday
10:00 AM
Wembley Community Centre
0419 192 036
Spanish Conversation (Advanced)
1st and 3rd Thursday
9:30 AM
Drabble House, Nedlands
0409 553 871

Members of the Western Suburbs branch may access the Western Suburbs system by clicking on the button below. The system is only available to Western Suburbs members and any questions about its use are to be directed to the Western Suburbs member who has been designated as the system administrator.  Please do not contact the U3A (UWA) office with queries.

The Wonderful World of Fungi – Kay Rae

On 18 July at short notice, Kay Rae spoke enthusiastically about The Wonderful World of Fungi and their Importance to our Environment. Fungi are spore-producing organisms that feed on organic matter and include mushrooms,toadstools and micro-organisms such as mildews, moulds and yeasts. They have vital symbiotic relationships with plants and occur in a wide range of natural environments.We see the various colours and shapes of fruiting bodies above ground and on decomposing vegetable matter, while micorrhizae hairs in the soil underneath enhance the uptake of nutrients and water by the roots of host plants. Fungi, flora and fauna are interrelated in a healthy ecosystem. Fungi are important for the production of cheeses and yeasts for beers and sourdough breads. Some fungi can cause disease, eg introduced Phytophera cinnamomi has resulted in widespread devastation of Banksia and Jarrah forests of the Southwest. Kay referred to Fungimap ( www.fungimap.org.au ), whereby people can register the location of fungi species. Only about 5-10% of fungi species in Australia have been identified and named. Kay interested us how her young primary school pupils enjoyed observing fungi in local remnant urban bush and also via a microscope in her classroom.

Egypt and the Nile – Gabor Bedo

On 4 July Gabor gave us another of his excellent talks, this time on Egypt and the Nile.   With less than 10mm of rain per year, Egypt has been, is and will be dependent on the Nile river.  It is vital for the country’s yearly deposit of silt, fish, fresh water and for irrigation and transport.   Most of the water comes from the Blue Nile in Ethiopia.

At the crossroads of North Africa and west Asia. Egypt has always been an important strategic point. 

The building of the High Aswan dam has interfered with the annual floods.  Silt used to regularly flow down and cover the valley thus enriching the soil for agriculture.  Today with flood water controlled, a lot of expensive artificial fertilisers are necessary. 

In ancient times, Thebes was the capital of Upper Egypt, while Memphis was the capital of Lower Egypt.   Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great and became a major Mediterranean port.  The present capital, Cairo, was established by the invading Arabs in the 2nd century AD. Alexandria is noted for its Great Library and Museum, one of the first in the ancient world. It was a centre for scholars and researchers.  It was dedicated to the Greek Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts and from which we get the word museum.  Many famous people studied there including Euclid, the Greek  mathematician, often referred to as the ‘founder of geometry’.

One of the last great thinkers of ancient Alexandria, was Hypatia, female philosopher, astronomer and mathematician.  She was dramatically murdered at the hands of Christian fanatics who objected to her Neoplatonic teaching. 

Athens: The Golden Age of Tyranny – Stuart Farley

Grove Library’s children’s librarian Stewart Farley gave an animated account of Athens: The Golden Age of Tyranny. The ‘golden age’ of Ancient Athens is noted for its creative architecture, sculpture, drama, philosophy and version of democracy. However, all the Greek city-states effectively financed that glory, and Athens’ dominating naval fleet of triremes, via the Delian League treasury. As Athens became increasingly authoritarian, various city-states tried to leave the Delian League, but were crushed by Athens’ navy. Stewart stated Athens progressively ‘descended into madness’. Athenian democracy was only available to its ‘citizens’, namely, free Athenian men; the slaves and women had no such rights. It was also volatile compared with conservative but stable governance by rival Sparta. As Athens became more powerful it imposed its coinage, weights and measures and also established colonies. A failed 415BCE invasion of Syracuse, with enormous loss of men and virtually all its fleet of triremes, led to Athens in 404BCE submitting to an effective siege by Sparta that ended the Peloponnesian wars.

Deep Sea Creatures – Christine O’Brien

On 15 August Christine O’Brien  fascinated us with her photos, gleaned from google, of the myriad deep-sea creatures we know so little about.  It is only in the last 50 years scientists have been able to dive into the depths

of the oceans to view these incredible creatures.  Incredibly we know more about the moon than we do of our own oceans.  We marvelled at photos of 52 of these wonderfully diverse and colourful creatures of the deep, including the frilled shark, first seen in 2004 with its 300 teeth, giant sea spider, the oldest arthropod, the blob fish, voted the ugliest, the oarfish, first recorded in July 2022, and the snail fish which lives 8 km under the surface of the sea.

The Romani and Irish Travellers – Terry Harvey

Terry Harvey has been a regular presenter and at our meeting on 24 October his topic was The Romani and Irish Travellers.  It proved to be fascinating

as Terry told us much about this cultural group.  They originated in Northern India about 1500 years ago and moved through Europe to England and Scandinavia.  They are still a people without a country – but those who are descended from Romani are found in every country. They have often been viewed with suspicion.  In the 1850s they were sold as slaves.  Britain and Switzerland hanged them.  Other countries enforced sterilisation.  In England Queen Charlotte agreed to them camping in the New Forest but Victoria rescinded this order.  Between 200,000 and I million were killed by Nazis 1935 -1945.  Valued as seasonal farm workers industrialisation affected them and still today discrimination continues in Europe.  Charlie Chaplin and Bill Clinton both claim Romani blood.  James Squire was the first in Australia. He arrived as a convict in 1788.  He was the first to grow hops and became the first brewer in the colony.

Vivien Stuart and Alison Forbes

“Acacia House” by Vivien Stuart

Vivien Stuart introduced her book ‘Acacia House’. It is a novel based on her own experience as a palliative care nurse and her belief palliative care is misunderstood and needs to be discussed openly. Death is as much a part of life as birth and should be spoken about just as freely. Vivien believes attitudinal change can come about through books and movies. She chose three narrators to tell her story. Her aim was for it to be character driven while introducing a gentle wash of what is ethical palliative care. Vivien spoke about how she had come up with the backgrounds of her three narrators and the process of putting a book together. As well as being about good palliative care, it was about how to write a book.

Western suburbs meets an echidna at Kansans wildlife sanctuary

Please click on image to view gallery

Embroidery as Political Activism

Prudence Ford of the Embroidery Guild spoke to us about embroidery as a means of political activism.


Canasta for learners is played at 1pm every second Friday at the Wembley Community Centre.

Judith Amey is the contact person 0414767877