Tutors at U3A

Life Members

Below are some profiles of our recent tutors at U3A Adelaide. They come from a variety of backgrounds with experience gained from employment, life skills or academia.
No matter what their background, all of our tutors come with a love and knowledge of their subject area and a desire to share it with others - for which 'we others' are forever grateful.

If you know of anyone who has skills they would be willing to share, please get them to contact U3A.

Seamus Baker 2018
Doctoring the Mind

Andrew Bear

 Andrew Bear is a graduate of Melbourne and Monash Universities and spent three years as a post graduate student at the University of Birmingham. His main career was as Senior Lecturer in English at Flinders University, but he also taught at Monash and Adelaide Universities  and at the then Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

 He has no qualifications in French and never, even in his wildest dreams, imagined himself as a teacher of French.

 By the end of his working career Andrew had gradually learned to speak what he called ‘good tourist French,’ and after retirement decided to make learning French properly a priority. In this he has been more successful than he expected, although he remains realistically modest about his true francophone ability. It has been his good fortune, and to the great benefit of his French, to have been able to spend considerable time in France in recent years.

 The move from enthusiastic U3A student of French under John Davies, Tony Coomb and Esther Mazel to teaching beginners’ French himself was by accident, not design. There was a vacancy and no one better-qualified volunteered to fill it. Enough students find it worth their while to attend his classes, and while this lasts he is happy to continue.

 So far, he seems to know more than they do, but he fears that one day, someone will ask a question that is altogether out of his range. That will be when he hands over! Meanwhile, he enjoys the new challenge of teaching French, and is in awe of the intelligence, friendliness and seriousness of U3A students.

French Breakthrough (3)


Angelo Caon

I am a microbiologist who works in diagnostic microbiology laboratories. I've worked in a number of places but my longest, continuous workplace was in the laboratory at Lyell McEwin Hospital. Over the last 7 years I've spent a lot of time overseas working to help develop microbiology services in Cambodia, Myanmar and Bhutan. In may of 2017 I completed a 12 month placement as an Australian volunteer through the AVID program in the diagnostic laboratory at the main referral hospital in Thimphu, Bhutan.

Bhutan, Monks and Monarchy


Valda Casucci

I was born in Australia of Italian parents and studied Italian in Perugia, Italy.  It was there I met my Italian husband and I lived in Italy for 18 months.  In Australia, I taught at St Mary's College for many years.

I cannot remember when I began my connection with U3A Adelaide but I think it was about 2004.  It was Paula Hennig that suggested I offer a course in Italian and the rest is history.

I love the Italian language; I love teaching and I love people.

Italian Continuing to Wander (3)


Tony Coombe

Tertiary Academic Qualifications:-

Diplôme d’Etudes de Civilisation française- Sorbonne, Université de Paris, France
Honours Bachelor Degree in French language and Literature- University of Adelaide, SA
Doctorat d’Université- Université d’Aix-Marseille, France

Previous Teaching experience:-

Secondary school teaching to Year 12 at: Scotch College, Mitcham, SA; Adelaide High School; Sacred Heart College; Marbury School, Aldgate, SA.
Lecturer in French Massey University, NZ; Lecturer in French University of New England, NSW
Tutor in French at University of SA; Tutor at University of 3rd Age, Adelaide Inc. (10 years ).
Class and private tutor in English to French personnel at le Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, Cadarache (Bouches-du-Rhône), France

I have lived in France for a total or nearly 4 years and my only daughter was born at Aix-en-Provence, France

French Pot Pourri (4)


Matt Cottrell

Matt has been in the Telecommunications and IT world for over 35 years. 

He has worked in Construction and Maintenance as well as having an input into the design process.  Matt has also been involved in the roll out of the mobile network and optical fibre installations in both country and metropolitan areas.

He has a strong involvement in various sporting and not-for-profit organisations.


The Digital Revolution


Gerald Dunne

Gravity Waves: Why the Fuss?


Barry Fitzpatrick  

Surgical Insights: Bangladesh



John Geraghty

John was born in England in 1940 migrated to Australia in 1956. He obtained his teaching qualification from Armidale Technical College. He graduated BSc from Newcastle University in 1967 with majors in Pure and Applied Mathematics and Physics.

John is now retired, having taught Mathematics and Physics and also tutoring in Applied Mathematics at the University of New England in NSW.

He has presented courses at U3A in Bowral NSW (home of Don Bradman).

                                                                                    Mathematics in Western Society



Olga Gostin

Of Russian-Belgian parentage, I did my undergraduate studies in Social Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.  Having obtained a scholarship to the Australian National University, I researched resettlement and cash cropping among the Kuni of Papua. For the past 40 years I have been associated with Australia’s first program dedicated specifically to facilitate tertiary education for Indigenous Australians. I am now adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of South Australia.

Aboriginal Australia

Pat Greet

Having travelled around France from an early age, my enthusiasm for the country led me to live and work there for 12 years. Although no formal qualifications in the language, I also applied my French for more than 5 years whilst working in an International Organisation in The Netherlands. 

The city of romance played its role, as it was in Paris that I met my future husband from South Australia. 

The class is very informal and we chat about everything from current affairs, to areas in France, and of course – food and wine.  Aimed at inspiring everyone to participate and have the courage to speak, a reasonable command of the language is suggested.

French Let's Talk (4)
(with Howard Duchene)


Helena Jenkinson

Spanish Connections

Peter Martin

Peter's training was in the ecological sciences. This led to a career with CSIRO and Cooperative Research Centres in Adelaide and Canberra as a science journalist and communications manager.  He remains active in various conservation and scientific groups and is currently President of the SA-NT Branch of SPA.  He will give several of the six lectures.


A Sustainable SA 

(with James Ward, Jane O'Sullivan, Philip Lawn & Andrew Kitto)


Sharon Mosler

Dr Sharon Mosler has tutored in Australian migrant history, among other history subjects, at the University of Adelaide from 2006 - 2012.
While undertaking a PhD in history at the University of Adelaide, Sharon tutored in several subjects, including Australian and European history, and the history of food and drink.  She also tutored in a history of architecture subject in 1989.  Her book, Heritage Politics in Adelaide, was published after many years as an heritage activist. Sharon has lectured at U3A since 2014.

History of Architecture to 1900

Jeff Nicholas

In 1995, Jeff retired from academic life at Flinders University, where he was Senior Lecturer in Health and Physical Education. He is now involved in historical research and public speaking on the origins of the 'Province of South Australia'.  His biographical history, Behind the Streets of Adelaide, was launched in 2016 in Adelaide and London.

From 1999-202, Jeff was the President of the Pioneers Association of South Australia and took a leading role in the Association's publication entitled A Pioneer History of South Australia (2001)


The South Australian Dream


Trevor Peart

I first visited West Terrace Cemetery many years ago while researching biographical information for entry in a history competition. That visit opened up a panorama of South Australia, its people and their stories. With more than 150,000 burials, West Terrace Cemetery hosts a vast array of those stories, all of which combine to weave the rich fabric of our society.

Over the years, I have delivered talks to numerous groups and societies, including U3A, and have been a tour guide for both commercial and non-profit sectors. When I was fortunate enough to take early retirement in 2002, I was able to devote more time to my interests in social history, especially South Australian history (with an emphasis on historical crime).

Lifelong learning has always been my passion and, besides history, I enjoy bush dancing, scale modelling and most things involving technology. My current learning project is programming Arduino microprocessors


Behind the Walls


Shila Phopo  

Society in Remote Papua

The following websites are for your information



Efstathios P'saltis

Efstathios learnt Greek from his migrant parents and through immersion in the local Greek community. He studied Modern Greek at Charles University in Prague and, in the process, became fluent in Czech and learnt Russian.  He also has a Dip. Ed and a B.A. (2016) from the University of Adelaide.  He has maintained his oral fluency through participating in Greek community activities and his writing skills by translating and writing poetry.

He was involved in teaching Greek in ethnic schools run by the Greek Orthodox Community of S.A. Inc, where he created learning materials and guided teachers. He was the inaugural lecturer of Modern Greek at the then Adelaide C.A.E; taught Greek and was a Greek Language Adviser in public schools: taught Greek at the University of Adelaide Continuing Education; has taught ESL (including a year in Prague).

Efstathios loves teaching the Greek language. It always presents challenges and so he prepares his own materials and has a flexible methodology. He is acquainted with teaching and learning as an older person.

Greek Language and Culture (1)

Shaun Ruxton
Underwater Macro Photography

Dr. Janet Scarfe

Janet has returned to historical research after a public service career. Her current research involves members of the Australian Army Nursing Service in WW1 and WW2. She has published nearly 50 biographical essays on WW1 nurses for the East Melbourne Historical Society (emhs.org.au), and is also working on the diaries and albums of a South Australian WW2 nurse, Dorothy (Puss) Campbell. She was co-editor and contributor to Preachers Prophets & Heretics: Anglican Women’s Ministry (UNSW Press, 2012), essays marking 20 years since the ordination of women controversy in the Anglican Church in 1992. She was actively engaged in that controversy. She is an Adjunct Research Associate, History Department, Monash University.


South Australian Women in WW2


Gabrielle Scherrer

My life in music has been very varied; I was teaching violin in my teens, but started my official studies after leaving school. I studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London in the performer’s course and completed my violin teaching certificate as well. My first position was with the BBC Scottish Orchestra, which was daunting and a huge learning curve! 

My parents then emigrated to Australia and I decided to see something of Europe. I played in a German Symphony Orchestra and then in Basel, where I met my husband, Walter. I did return to England to do a Dip Ed for classroom music teaching but then went back to Basel to get married.

In 1990 we decided to emigrate for various reasons and I got a job in Albany WA teaching all the strings in all the public schools in 3 days and teaching classroom music for 2 days a week to 450 Primary School kids! There were also 2 Youth Orchestras and a school choir to conduct!  Enough said!! Luckily I could give up the classroom teaching after 7 years.

I moved to Adelaide in 2008 and have continued my varied activities including non music ones and I am enjoying the opportunities here, especially at U3A! I have often come across adults who play and sing without being able to read music. They manage extremely well and it is possible. But being able to read gives you more independence and opens up more repertoire – as does word reading – and it is possible to learn it later in life! So that is why I am offering this course “Reading Music through Singing and Percussion”.  I hope to see you there.

Reading Music for Beginners


Irene Schmidt
German Let's Talk (3)


Valerie Sitters

Valerie has immersed herself in the literature of the polar regions for over 40 years and delighted in sharing that love with innumerable groups.
She has given talks about Antarctica to historical societies, the ANARE Club and the Australian Meteorological Association and RIAus most recently. She was formerly employed at the State Library of SA and in the Royal Geographical Society of SA Library.

Botanizing Australia

The Northwest Passage

Trevor Steele

Trevor Steele was born in Queensland, but has lived in several parts of Australia and spent many years in foreign countries of Europe, in Brazil, India, Hong Kong and the former Soviet Union. He is now retired and living in Adelaide with his Slovak wife.


Hitler's Last Victims
Journalist Heroes


Tony Stimson

Remembering the Boer War

Patricia Sumerling

Elephants and Egotists

Mike Wohltmann  

Enemy Aliens