Executive Director's Note

WEA Sydney: 100 years of success in adult education

How is the success of an educational institution measured?

Is it through enrolment statistics, or through the number of years that classes have been presented? Is it by polling students and getting their responses to questions on the value and content of their courses? Or are there more fundamental elements behind the evaluation of success, such as the following of a vision or mission, or the knowledge of having helped thousands of students to develop their potential in myriad ways?

WEA Sydney’s story is one of success against all of these criteria, and it reaches a magnificent milestone in 2013, when the association celebrates its centenary! The charter ushering in the Workers’ Educational Association was signed in November 1913 at the Trades Hall building, just down from WEA Sydney’s current purpose-built building at 72 Bathurst Street. Immediately WEA classes sprung up around Australia, and 100 years later there are still WEAs located in Wollongong, Newcastle and Adelaide, in addition to the WEA in Sydney.

It is a proud legacy of both education and cultural contribution, and WEA Sydney intends to present exciting activities throughout 2013 as part of its celebrations. Look through this Summer term course brochure, and you’ll spot some of our coming centenary highlights. These include our Centenary Summer holiday sizzlers (courses in January to get your brain working after the Christmas / New Year break), or Centenary courses held in conjunction with other important events (International Women’s Day, Harmony Day), or anniversaries (welcome to WEA, Mr Darcy, as Pride and Prejudice turns 200!).

And we’re hosting an Open Day on Saturday 16 March to introduce WEA Sydney and its course range to those who are new to lifelong learning. A special history timeline brochure featuring WEA Sydney’s history will be available in January, and we have also produced a CD featuring the voices of several people deeply associated with WEA Sydney’s work over the last two decades. Both of these items are free – call the office for your copy!

So don’t let WEA Sydney’s Centenary pass you by – 100 years of success in adult education is worth celebrating, and we invite you to join with us in doing exactly that.


Michael Newton

Executive Director


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