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Never too old to learn new things

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Villa Maria Aged Care in Fortitude Valley (Brisbane) has a resident student. Bill is 102 years old and currently studying at the U3A in Brisbane - proving that one is never too old to learn new things.

U3A is the University of the Third Age, which is the age of active retirement, coming after the age of youth and work and home-making. Bill has always had an active interest in learning and was a bright child.

“At school they used to call me ‘Webster’ as I had a vast vocabulary when I was younger,” says Bill. Bill completed his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at Sydney University. At the end of the second world war, he was a General Practitioner and then practised as a Psychiatrist from 1951 to 1996. Later in his career, he specialised in medico-legal work.

Bill loves studying at U3A, a worldwide self-help organisation promoting learning for personal enjoyment and wellbeing.

“U3A is a volunteer organisation which provides leisure and educational courses to local seniors,” says Bill. “We have over 4,000 active members in Brisbane, and there are more than 290 courses offered each term, including languages, history, biology, psychology, computer studies, and more, all at a low cost. Some of the courses are $5 which cover the cost of electricity,” he adds.

So far Bill has completed courses in philosophy where he studied the Western European philosophers, Socrates and Plato, macro-economics and current affairs. Initially, he attended face to face classes. Following two accidents including a broken pelvis and then injury to his hip, he has chosen to study the lecture notes on-line.

Bill is a busy man and is also currently writing a book, You’re Mad and I’m Not which is about the psychology of north Queensland and his story at the same time.

“We are all subject to ‘madness’. We all have delusions,” says Bill. He started the book many years ago and is keen to finish it. Bill enjoys living at Villa Maria Centre.

“The Home is very well run, and the staff are helpful. I enjoy reading interesting books and playing chess. I am far more interested in trying and doing new things,” he says.

To find out more about Villa Maria visit

Pictured is Bill with Beth Kitoli, Residential Manager, Villa Maria