RAFT RACING: The students competing in rafts they built.
RAFT RACING: The students competing in rafts they built. Contributed

St Therese students learn the lessons of the bush

YEAR 6 students at St Therese Catholic Primary School have gained more than happy memories on their camping trip to Barcaldine.

On Monday, October 17, the year level set off on a nine-hour bus ride to Barcaldine, staying at the Wanpa-rda Matilda Outback Education Centre.

The lessons started at the Tree of Knowledge, site of the forming of the Australian Labor Party, where the students learned the history of the shearers strike.

Tuesday was a day of educational activities, where they learned crawchie trap making and raft building, which they pitted against each other in a race.

On Wednesday they journeyed to Longreach to see the Qantas Museum, Stockman's Hall of Fame and then on to Winton for the Age of Dinosaurs exhibit.

Teacher Blair Smith had taken the students on the camp for the past three years and said the response from the kids had been getting better and better.

"To stick a bunch of 11 and 12-year-olds on a bus for nine hours, you'd expect them to go stir crazy, but they were exceptional,” Mr Smith said.

"Once we got out there, the kids had great manners and were really enthusiastic to get involved with it; we had great feedback from the camp facilitator.”

For many students, it was their first major camping experience.

Traditionally, Year 5 students at St Therese's take a trip out to Bundaberg for their camp, but for the Year 6 cohort, the trip to Barcaldine was a major outback experience.

Mr Smith said even in Monto, where some children were more accustomed to it than others, everybody had something to learn.

"A lot of our kids are farm kids, but if you come from a city, you lose that perspective of where Australia came from.

"Our kids were into learning the details of specific skills, like knot-tying, different friction fires, what bush tucker you can eat.”

The students learnt about surviving in the bush, taking a bush walk to track animal species, practising archery and learning how to make friction fires in the woods.

Student Alexandra Kielly said the nature survival skills were her favourite bit.

"My highlight of camp was doing the friction fire lighting, Tim taught us how to light a chemical fire, a bow spindle fire, ferrocerium rod fire and hand friction fires,” she said.


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