Stage 3 – Canberra
Developing Independence on the Road
The Canberra excursion is almost a rite of passage for Australian children, and rightly so, it is an experience like no other. So it was with great excitement that Stage 3 arrived early to school on Wednesday 17 March and boarded buses bound for our Nation’s Capital.
On our first day we visited Parliament House. Apart from being a most impressive building, this is the epicentre of our government. The boys were really excited to enter and visit both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Here we also discovered more about the process of government and how bills were passed during a role play session with our own mock debate. However, the great ‘wow’ moment was seeing Arthur Boyd’s Great Hall Tapestry, the second largest tapestry in the world; its quintessentially Australian landscape reminds us about the majesty of the bush, the importance of our natural heritage and what our future generations have to protect.
Our visit to the Australian War Memorial was both informative and moving. The children experienced life on a submarine and the unimaginable conditions suffered in the trenches of WWI. They also sat in a helicopter that had served during the Vietnam war and learned more about the humanitarian efforts that our armed forces undertake around the world. In other areas of the museum the children discovered the heroic efforts that our service men and women did to protect our country and the freedom of others. All this culminated in the Last Post ceremony where two of our school leaders laid a wreath in memory of a fallen serviceman.
The boys were very excited to visit both Questacon and the CSIRO. Questacon was great fun with so many hands-on activities encouraging the boys to think more about the scientific world around us. Of course there was also the free fall jump which pushed many to venture out of their comfort zone. Continuing the scientific theme, CSIRO was wonderful. The boys learned about discoveries which have occurred accidentally but that have now become a part of our day-to-day lives – imagine life without WiFi boys! We were also shown 3D printed bones including a titanium joint that is specific to the patient and significantly reduces recovery time.
The days on camp are long, there is so much to see and absorb and so our trip to the Australian Institute of Sport was much anticipated. Here the boys, guided by young athletes at the top of their sport, played a variety of action packed games. After two hours tearing around the gyms and courts of the AIS, the boys were ready for a good night’s sleep.
The Canberra excursion is a wonderful education experience. However, the benefits are far greater than just learning about our system of government or scientific discoveries. The boys are a long way from home over the three days and there are times when this sinks in. Yet it is then that friends step up and help. The care shown by the boys for each other was amazing and helps to build resilience and allow boys to take safe risks. Listening to the talk on the long bus trip back about the things they had seen and the fun they had makes this camp a real highlight for me and one, I am sure, the boys will remember for a long time.
Pascal Czerwenka, Sam Watson, Simon Edwards and Phil Trethewey – Stage 3 Teachers