Well, we are all in our rooms after another magnificent day. They say the weather can be nasty in our nation's capital, but we have not had one bad day all camp. Today we had sunshine with a top of 14C, as good as it gets for a school camp. We started the day at the Mint, where an informative and enthusiastic tour guide had the kids eager to start up their very own coin collections. We saw the three robots that work in the mint in operation today, helping to make our coins that last for an average of 30 years. For a look at the process, see this YouTube video,http://youtu.be/nwAO76iAGJo. After the mint, we made our way over to New Parliament House for an in-depth look at the inner workings of the House of Representatives. The students got to role play the passing of a parliamentary Bill, and as you can see from the photos, they really got into character! Following this experience, we toured both Houses of Parliament, where Ellie finally got to find out if the Senate really did have red exit signs (she has asked every tour guide in Canberra...). Our last stop for the camp was the Australian War Memorial, which is always a special place to visit. Here we toured the various galleries, learning about the horrors of war and its far-reaching impacts on our history. At the Last Post Ceremony, our school captains participated in the wreath-laying ceremony, which hopefully a couple of parents managed to see live-streamed. Tomorrow morning we are on the bus to Canberra airport at 5:10am, hopefully landing in Emerald at 11:15am. See you then!
Our penultimate day in Canberra was a very busy one. We started at the AIS, and the kids were let loose in Sportex, their high-tech laboratory for kids. Here, the children tested their reaction speed, vertical leap and throwing and catching skills. We were then off to tour the facilities, and got to see a couple of huge human beings (volleyball players) working out in the high tech gym. We also viewed a men's gymnastics training session, where the gents were practising a variety of skills and apparatuses. Afterwards we visited the CSIRO discovery centre, which looks at the way applied research and technology has positively impacted our lives. A fun fact, things like WiFi, Aeroguard and polymer bank notes were invented by CSIRO. Lunch was at Old Parliament House, where we dined in the rose gardens, along with 300 other school students. Old Parliament House is always a great opportunity for our students to explore the democratic society that we live in and enjoy. We toured the old senate, where we travelled back in time to meet our very first Australian born GG, Sir Isaac Isaacs (Fletcher Milner). Afterwards at the AEC centre, the students participated in an election, learning all about the full preferential voting system that is used in our federal elections. For the record, Mr Apple won the most popular lunchbox fruit election. After a nice roast dinner the kids were let loose in iPlay, where we played laser tag, went bowling and had a go at all the arcade games. A very big day indeed. Tomorrow, we look forward to another full day, visiting the Mint, Parliament House and the War memorial. If you are interested, visit https://www.awm.gov.au/live/ at 4:50pm to watch the live wreath laying ceremony. Our school captains will lay a wreath on behalf of our school community, which is a very special thing. Only 2 more sleeps until we return home...
What a day! We got up very early; a 5:30amwake up to make the 6am breakfast call. We then started our 3 hour trip to the Perisher Valley, which took us through some very unique country, mountainous and rocky with a scattering of Merino sheep and Hereford cattle. Truly high country. Arriving at the unofficial capital of the Snowy Mountains, Cooma, we picked up our ski gear and made the winding trek into Kosciusko National Park, home of the Perisher Valley. At the beginning of the day we were a bit apprehensive about the weather forecast, but when we arrived we were treated to a gentle snowfall for the entire day. Fresh powder!! The kids had a ball, tobogganing down the hill and had a huge snowball fight that lasted well over an hour. Then Mr Roach issued the kids with a challenge, build a snowman at least 2m tall and they would receive a tasty reward. The children all worked feverishly as a team, collecting and shaping the fresh powder into usable snow blocks to make a towering frosty! (check out a short video of the snow building efforts: http://youtu.be/yusWSH-WU64). It wasn't a traditional looking snowman, but it was definitely over 2m, so they won their reward. All in all, it was an amazing day, make great by the constant gentle snowfall and the good behaviour of the kids. At present, we are waiting for dinner and the children are tidying their bungalows. Tomorrow is another big day, so it will be early to bed tonight. Until then......
Camp 'hump day' was a big one. We started with a hearty breakfast and then took a quick bus ride up to Mt Ainslie to take in the view of Canberra. Then it was off to the Canberra discovery exhibition centre, to learn more about the development of the capital. Master planned by Walter and Marion Burley Griffin, Canberra is a well-laid out and purpose built capital that met all the criteria that a newly federated county required. The children, and Mr Roach, also got to build their very own capital monuments! After morning tea, we headed to the national museum, built on the site of the old Canberra hospital (you may remember the 1997 implosion of the old hospital building that went horribly wrong and claimed the life of a young girl.) Here we saw Phar Lap's heart amongst many other important items. We cruised over to the national film and sound archives and afterwards went to one of the highlights of the trip, Questacon. Here the kids had a ball, involved in a variety of experiments and loony activities; including a rocket show with the mad rocket scientist, Dr Blashtov. Tomorrow we have a very early start, as we are off to the Perisher valley to go tobogganing. With a top of -1, we are in for a very cold day.
Day 3 was our last day in Sydney, and what a beautiful day it was! We checked out of the YHA and loaded the bus, heading around the city and out to Mrs Macquarie's chair, where we got some excellent photos with the harbour bridge and the opera house in the background. Mrs Mac's chair was actually cut into the sandstone for Governor Lachlan Macquarie's lonely wife, so she could watch the ships come into the harbour, carrying letters and news from England. A tour of Mary MacKillop Place is always a highlight of our trip and the guided tour of St Mary's museum and chapel was really special. Below you can see the students paying their respects at the tomb of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. This tomb is actually the 3rd resting place for Mary, who has been dug up and moved twice since her passing in 1909. A new activity this year was the visit to the national maritime museum, where the children got the chance to board a decommissioned gunner (HMAS Vampire) and submarine (HMAS Onslow). The HMAS Onslow has a St Joseph's connection, with Hannah Charles' father serving onboard for a period of time. after a good look around the museum, we departed Sydney for Canberra at 3:20pm, arriving at 6:30pm. At present, the students have had dinner and have settled into their bungalows for their first night in the nation's capital. A busy day awaits them tomorrow!
With day 2 nearly finished (story later), a blog post to recap the day is appropriate. We started with a quick bus tour with our driver Aaron, seeing some of the sights on both sides of the harbour bridge. Then we were off to Luna Park, where the kids were let loose. Armed with an unlimited ride wrist band, the kids tried their hand at most rides; some of the bravest being Lucy, Chloe, Michael and Fletcher. Everyone managed to keep their breakfast, which is always a good sign!!! Taronga Zoo was our after lunch activity, and the students had a great time crisscrossing their way across the expansive grounds. Some of the students scored a free ride on the train and gondola. We have seen some impressive sights thus far, but one that may not be topped was watching 'Grug', the maker Asian elephant, show his skills kicking a footy out of his trunk! JT would've been proud. A quick ferry ride back to the city and we were back at our accommodation, which is really handy. After dinner, we made our way over to Macquarie ice rink for some iceskating; which was entertaining and adventurous to say the least. More on that later. Cheers!
Hey everyone! We arrived safely in Sydney after some smooth flying weather, managing to only use a couple of 'v bags' on the descent into Sydney. After meeting our bus driver for the camp, Aaron, we headed over to the Sydney aquarium, which was really interesting. Campbell was beside himself when he saw the Penguins and after dragging him away we all managed to check out the other marine animals on exhibit, along with half of Sydney. Halee said that she would take Clermont any day!!! Haha! Afterwards, we checked into our Sydney accommodation,YHA on the Rocks, which is safe and clean. It is actually built over some old ruins that can be viewed under the new building, which gives the students a glimpse of life in the days of the first settlement. Really interesting! In the evening, we had a quick bite to eat at Circular Quay, then walked around the Opera House and took in the view of the bridge and Luna Park. The kids enjoyed watching the very aggressive seagulls, who have perfected the art of stealing burgers out of unsuspecting people's hands!!! At present, all the kids are showered and in their rooms, ready for a big day tomorrow, seeing the sights of Sydney town.
Our last full day in Canberra was another jam packed affair, which kicked off with a guided tour of the High Court of Australia. A few of the students may have been motivated to study Law when they found out that the top barristers earn upwards of $15000 per day! We then walked across to the National Gallery, which houses some of the most valuable artwork in the world, including Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles, worth a reported $100 million!! Some of the kids may attempt a copy in the backyard, as if you have a look at it, it is certainly no Mona Lisa.. Old Parliament House was full of great information about civics; we even had Xavier dress up as former Governor General, Sir Isaac Isaacs! We then hurried over to Questacon to explore the many experiments. It definitely was a highlight of the trip and the kids spent up big in the gift shop. They enjoyed their last meal at the Carotel, as you can see by the picture and all have had a wonderful time. They have packed their bags and are ready for a very early morning in preparation for the 0625 flight to Brisbane. Parents, I will blog if the flight into Emerald is delayed. If all goes to schedule, we will land in Emerald at 1105. Regards, Wes
Day 6 saw us visit four of Canberra's attractions. We started at the CSIRO, and worked in their education centre for nearly 2 hours. We had to pull the kids away as they really loved doing all the hands-on experiments. Next was the electoral education centre, where we learnt about our preferential voting system and even participated in a vote to find out our favourite fruit, which was banana. After that, we quickly scooted over the bridge to the National Museum, home to such things as Phar Lap's heart and a canon from Captain Cook's Endeavour. There was so much there to see that we could have spent the day, but had to leave to get to our guided tour of the mint. The students spent up big on collectible coins and even had the chance to strike their own $1 coin, so parents, be on the lookout for these special coins and make sure they don't buy an ice cream with them!!! We got to see the robots that assist in the coin making process and viewed some if our rarest coins. Some of the kids are planning a look through some of their back sheds to try to find some 'holey dollars' or the legendary 1930 penny. Tomorrow is our last full day in Canberra and we have yet another jam packed schedule planned. Regards, Wes.
Just a quick update on today's events, due to the early bedtime in readiness for the ski fields tomorrow. Here are some pics from the War Memorial, the AIS and bowling. Cheers, Wes