Mac Group History

SHMUG Apple Under the umbrella of the Southern Highlands Computer Users Group, an Apple Users Group was started in 2014 by Margaret Weatherall, as there was no support for members using Apple computers. She soon had a following, attracting quite a few SHCUG members who did use Apple computers.

At first Margaret organised monthly meetings with demonstrations of Apple software programs conducted by Geoff Hinde, an Apple technician from Burradoo. These demonstrations, held in SHCUG’s Education Centre at Harbison Burradoo were great and members learned a lot. After a few years Geoff was no longer available and so the monthly meetings changed to a weekly get-together for a more “hands on” approach to learning.

SHCUG bought the group an eMac G4 and together with two donated fruity coloured iMacs G3s, there was sufficient equipment, set up between the PC desktops in unit 5, to conduct the weekly “How to” sessions. New comers to the group were taken under the wings of the more knowledgeable ones and shown how to go about the things they wanted to do and/or learn.

One day a visitor, by the name of Anthony Fouracre, dropped in. He needed help with Adobe Photoshop but no one from the group was able to help. Despite this, he joined the group. Anthony was a great teacher and his passion and enthusiasm for all things Apple soon infected other members. He wasn’t only showing them how to use the software programs installed on their Apple computers but also to appreciate the shape of the device and to get to know the components inside it.

Anthony had the ability to encourage members to look beyond the basic computer skills and to make them curious as to what computers were capable of doing and to try it. After many years of giving help to the Apple group, Anthony’s work meant he could no longer participate in the weekly meetings. The knowledge members did learn from him during those years is by no means forgotten.

In 2007, Margaret passed the baton of the Apple group on to Richard Spear and Martina Oprey. Later that year SHCUG allocated the end room of unit 6 to the group and purchased a new iMac for them. Another iMac was added in 2009. A bookcase was bought in 2011 and filled with donated manuals (PC and Apple) for members to borrow. An iPad 2 was purchased in 2014. What more could the group wish for.

Over the years the group has seen a number of its regular members ‘fade away’ through illness and advancing age. Occasionally some visit, whilst others keep in touch via email. Newcomers fill the empty places.

Time “never takes a lunch break” (a Friesian saying) and neither does Information Technology, which evolves all the time. In order to stay relevant in what the group can offer Apple users and how they assist the members, adjustments are frequently made. iPhones, iPods and iPads are now included besides laptops that members can bring along and get assistance with. Members with an iMac desktop, when they visit, have the use of the club’s iMacs. The Apple group is fortunate in having members within the group with advanced skills in iOS (iPhone, iPod and iPad) and OSX platforms (Snow-leopard to Mojave), who do assist those in need of help, as one does in a ‘self-help’ group.

The Apple group sessions have never been exclusively about “friendly hands-on helping sessions”. Acquired knowledge about software programs is shared and demonstrated, besides talk about the latest developments of Apple and its products. In short, the Apple group just loves to share all they know about all things Apple.

If the above is the kind of group you have been looking for but did not know existed, come along and join us.