What is U3A?

Each U3A is a community organisation which promotes healthy ageing by sharing educational, creative, leisure activities provided by their own members. We ask for no qualification for membership and we award no degrees or diplomas.

U3A Network - Qld Inc.

U3A Network - Queensland was established in 2009 to be the State wide voice for the U3A movement in Queensland. We became incorporated on 6th August 2009 (IA37380). View our Constitution by clicking on the link. constitution.pdf

The Network represents 34 U3A groups throughout the State, including U3A Online.

The aims of the Network are to:

  • Represent U3A in Queensland and negotiate with other bodies on behalf of the U3A movement within the State to obtain benefits for all U3As, 
  • establish and maintain contact with each other,
  • provide support in reaching common goals,
  • share resources,
  • foster new U3A groups,
  • improve the status of U3A within the wider community. 

U3A Queensland promotional video

What does U3A stand for?

U3A is "University of the Third Age". 

The term “University” is used in the original sense of the word - of an association or community of teachers and scholars, united in the pursuit of knowledge.

"Third Age" refers to the life period of active retirement, which follows the first age of childhood and formal education and the second age of working life, and which precedes the fourth age of dependence.

History of U3A

The U3A movement had its beginnings in Toulouse, France in 1972.  A successful summer school run by the University for retired people, led to the very first Université du Troisième Age. The concept quickly spread throughout France and to other European countries and North America.  The French model centres around universities, relying heavily on their facilities and tuition although there are no exams and costs are kept to a minimum.

The first Australian U3A was established in Melbourne in 1984 and quickly caught on in other communities in Australia. In Queensland the first U3As to be formed were in Sunshine Coast and Brisbane in 1986.

Australia follows the British model which had been established two years earlier in Cambridge. Rather than relying on traditional universities to provide courses and tutors, members themselves volunteer their skills, knowledge and life experiences to provide classes for members.

So, U3As in Australia are autonomous, managed by the members themselves and the only restriction to the curriculum is the expertise available within the community.

National and State bodies

The newly formed U3A Australian Alliance will foster closer cooperation between U3As across Australia, coordinating where necessary a national standpoint on issues of mutual interest.

At State level U3A groups have formed Networks which provide many benefits to their constituents. Networks have been established in Victoria (in 1988) NSW (1995) SA (2006) Qld (2009) and WA in 2012.

Further details of networks are available on their websites - go to our LINKS Page.


Copyright - U3A Network NSW

Thank you to U3A Network NSW for allowing us to publish a link to their video.  As they own the copyright, you must request their permission to use or change the video in any way.