The class camp was full of challenges, obstacles, games, bush no 1. & 2’s. and wet clothes. We camped in the beautiful Wollemi National Park, surrounded by a meandering river, bushlands and cliffs.
On Tuesday we met the local character Newnes Hotel owner and walked to the ruins and paddled in the river, settled into camp lifestyle.
On Wednesday, awaking early to the dawn Kookaburra chorus, we splashed through the river, climbed up to an old railway track, traversed a steep and rocky route to the Glow Worm tunnel, entered the dark and dangerous tunnel and emerged safe and excited! The whole walk was 9km (WOW!!) and with lots of breaks and snacks took 6 hours – the children were incredible walkers and very supportive of each other. Best of all we were back with plenty to time to splash and bob in the river. Children were asleep VERY quickly and woke after the morning bird song!
Thursday we decided on just a little adventure; to follow the river upstream – and yes we did get a bit more wet. Back at camp – we celebrated Quidam’s birthday, packed up camp and set off back home, wildly weary, full of good tucker and very happy.
This week Class 5 and 6 travelled around Canberra.
The first day they visited the War Memorial followed by National Museum of Australia exhibitions and K-Space.
Tuesday was a visit to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders TENT EMBASSY.
Then they headed to Old Parliament House MOAD Education – Franklin River Debate A.
At Parliament House they were taken for a Tour of both houses and building followed by a seat in the Senate: commencement of sitting then House of Reps QUESTION TIME.
Wednesday they discovered Questacon before heading home.
We would like to Acknowledge of the funding and support of the Australian Government through the PACER contribution for this Canberra visit.
How can a few lines capture the beauty of what was happening in this place? Wednesday to Thursday, the whole school camped at Euroka clearing. Some of us even saw the Gurrangatch. What an amazing camp this was – Chris Tobin took us through the great wisdom and relevance of Aboriginal culture for all Australians, Leanne Tobin led us in indigenous games, Peter Williams and the Waradah Dancers had us all on our feet dancing Emu and Kangaroo, Katy Squires showed us a sweet weaving technique and Wayne Cornish told a story about the black swan that has meanings on many levels for young and older.
On my way to camp, I was aware of what was unfolding in Brussels. A strange feeling heading to sunshine, good company, rich learning and beauty – knowing it is not the experience of so many in the world. Yet once there, I realized again, there is a solidarity in the awareness itself, and there is the also the contribution – being part of shaping this community as inclusive, fair, generous and compassionate. It is not the whole solution but it is a SEED and there is power and nourishment in that !
A massive THANK YOU to all who contributed to this camp. It was a big undertaking. Preparation, transport, support at the camp, pack away and clean up, as well as the many activities on the days that were so enjoyable for the children and all that participated. Toward the end, as the busloads of children drove away, you could feel nature moving in again to reclaim the space where we had been so active….Kindlehill is a tiny part of the story of that place now… Thank you to country, generous host.
As a culmination to the three week ‘Everything is Unknown – Exploration and Indigenous Encounter’ lesson, Class 4/5 set out on a road trip to trace the path of some of the explorers.
First stop was Brucedale farm, which has been in the Suttor family for nearly 200 years. David Suttor told us of his great, great….grandfather: learning the Wiradjuri language; and his friendship with warrior, Windradyne, which endured through the period of martial law and warfare. We stopped at Canowindra’s ‘Age of Fishes Museum’. A road builder’s discovery of strange patterns on a rock led to one of the world’s great mass extinction fossil sites.
We followed George Evans’ path to the Lachlan River. Like Evans and John Oxley, we were turned back by water. In our case, the dirt roads west of Cobar had been closed, blocking our access to the shearer’s quarters and the Ngiyampaa rock art. So all of our detailed plans for the week went out the window. Like Oxley, we changed course, across the fertile river plains of the Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers, to the Castlereigh, following it to its source in the Warrumbungle Ranges.
By this stage, we had endured wet boots, clothes and sleeping bags, and the rain was ever present. At the campground, groups of children set out to explore, returning with reports of discoveries of places and creatures, which they had named. As the exploration ambitions were getting beyond a cooee call, three groups set out with adult support to explore mountains and plains. All returned with boasts of monumental feats, and no lives were lost.
Then we set off to find Pandora’s Pass, Allan Cunningham’s original route to the rich volcanic alluvium of the Liverpool Plains. Even the local tourist centre couldn’t tell us where it was. A chance encounter at the wonderful geological collection at Coonabarabran’s Crystal Kingdom confirmed our guesses, and we climbed the Liverpool Ranges on an ever diminishing road until we stood before the panorama of the Liverpool Plains at the very spot that Cunningham stood.
Gold fever was calling us, and we headed to Sleepy Sofala. We sought alternative accommodation after a great downpour at the end of the day. Staying at the Sofala Hall resulted in some unexpected encounters with local historians, and local hospitality. We stood in the street working out where Russell Drysdale stood when he painted. The next day, we (successfully) panned for gold, and went underground at Hill End. And then we headed home, full of stories of mud, charcoal, campfires, rain, feats of endurance and hardship, and of discoveries.
Class 2-3 ventured to Dunns Swamp in March to enjoy the last of the summer warmth. The days started early with a big breakfast, followed by plenty of swimming, bushwalks, stories, and a little down time each day to relax with a book or a drawing. The children form stronger friendships on camp, learn to care for their own equipment, and become stronger and more independent.