Fascinating life: “It still amuses me that a Nobel prize winner, on many occasions, stayed in my daughter’s bedroom while she was away” – Deborah Hamilton.
U3A Batemans Bay organises a range of activities for the over 50’s. They include language classes, fitness groups, book groups and art, craft and lifestyle courses.
It has more than 550 members, from all walks of life, who love to keep learning, enjoy companionship and have fun. Each month we will highlight one of those members.
Deborah HamiltonWhat made you the person you are?
I was born in Canberra, the daughter of an Australian diplomat.
My childhood in New York, London, Fiji and some dreamlike years in Kenya left me with a somewhat disordered education.
I was a shy child and found the frequent changes difficult and isolating.
By the time I was in my late teens, my father had returned to Canberra to work in the Defence Department.
My early employment variously included training and working as a horticulturalist, for the trade union movement, for the Liberal Party in the ACT as well as a wonderful year at Australia House in London.
Returning to Australia, I moved to Sydney, married and had a son and a daughter.
While bringing up the children I was renovating houses.
I have renovated 14 houses and lived in most of them.
In Sydney I started working as a political lobbyist, which required much travelling interstate.
Through lobbying I met my second husband, a Labor senator from Tasmania.
This was during the fascinating years of the Hawke and Keating governments.
It was an enthralling life, but somewhat more “public” than I really cared for.
It all took its toll and eventually we separated.
The early 90s saw me volunteering to work in the cause of the liberation of East Timor (now Timor L’Este).
I organised meetings, events, press and itinerary for the Timorese leader Jose Ramos Horta.
My political and lobbying background were useful and gave me some entrée to parliament.
I guess one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life was the eventual independence of Timor from Indonesia.
At age 49, I completed a graduate diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of Canberra.
Thereafter, as a volunteer, I taught English to migrant and refugee groups as well as to the staff and family of the new Timorese Embassy.
Ross Thomas, my partner since 2002, coincidently worked for my father in the Defence Department, thus allowing him to suggest, on occasion, that he is used to being bossed around by Hamiltons.
What brought you to the Bay area?
The children and I spent many wonderful holidays at my parents’ beach house in Rosedale.
On my retirement, three years ago, Ross and I decided to move here, purchasing a lovely home near the water, but in the bush, in Lilli Pilli.
Do you have an anecdote?
Jose Ramos Horta, on his many trips to Canberra, stayed in my house.
In 1996 Jose received the Nobel Peace Prize.
It still amuses me that a Nobel prize winner, on many occasions, stayed in my daughter’s bedroom surrounded by teddys and doll’s houses, while she was away at school.
What is your involvement with U3A?
My partner Ross is on the U3A Committee and I assist him with the organisation of the popular Saturday Talks.
These talks are wide ranging and are given by people with knowledge in specialist areas.
Registration for 2017 membership and courses is in Batemans Bay on January 19, 2017 and Moruya on January 20, 2017.
For more information about U3A visit the website: bbay.u3anet.org419论坛 or phone 8250 5262.
If you require transport to any of the venues, please phone Community Transport on 44741040 to check eligibility for this service.
The University of the Third Age (U3A) is an international organisation, embodying the principles of life-long education and the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, in an atmosphere of mutual learning and teaching.
Each U3A is a learning community, organised by and for people who can best be described as being active in retirement – the so-called Third Age of their lives.
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