When Bernadette McCabe joined Beaudesert U3A about three and a half years ago, it was to revisit learning French.
“I specifically joined U3A because of French – it was actually my worst subject at school, so I wanted to go back and have another go,” she said.
“It’s just a fun group, not a lot of pressure, just going back over things you’ve forgotten or there are people who’ve started completely from scratch. I’ve learned a lot and what I like is the French language movies.”
Bernadette is retired now after a career as a policy advisor and researcher, ministerial writer for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Assistant Director for National Quality Assurance Programming and at the Queensland Human Rights Commission (formerly Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland) and Department of Defence.
“Veterans’ Affairs had a strong interest in France because of Villers-Bretonneux and Gallipoli but they have been doing a lot of commemorative work there and my old boss is now the director of Villers-Bretonneux,” she said.
“I was always a bit interested in French history and culture, and I’ve never been to France so that’s a bucket list item.”
Between her U3A membership and being part of the Scenic Rim Writers Group, Bernadette has plenty to keep her occupied.
Scenic Rim Writers Group, which meets on the first Tuesday of the month at The Centre, is known for publishing local books including Mystery, Murder & Mayhem, to which Bernadette contributed the introduction and two stories.
Up to 2024, the group is particularly focused on publishing short stories of the Scenic Rim, written with a historical aspect within a timeframe of 150 years.
Bernadette is a member of the Professional Historian Association Queensland (MPHA), holds a Major in Literature and History and Honours – First Class. Her areas of study included Adoption in Queensland under the 1935 Act and Gender.
Bernadette also has post graduate qualifications in Public Sector Management and Veterans and Administrative Law.
She received an honourable mention from Women Writers Queensland when her article titled ‘Life’s tea leaves’, written in a memoir style, was Highly Commended.