Canberra Tour 2012


Day 1 

Canberra 2012 was off to a wonderful start as we headed out of Delta Cove drive on a cool winter’s night.  As we were half down the street Mr Cornish suddenly realised that the school was still open lights on, gates open and not alarmed.  A quick word in the bus driver’s ear and Mr Cornish made a mad dash that Usain Bolt would be proud of and the school was all closed up and alarmed and we finally on our way.  We quickly settled into eating copious amounts of lollies, watching the video and starting to feel bus sick.  However over on bus 2 Dr Couch the medicine women tendered to the needy, cared for the homesick and generally made everyone feel good about leaving home.   Following this herculean effort she rested in a very deep slumber leaving her ever reliable assistant Nurse Heinemann at the helm to mop up body fluid all of the way, that just wouldn’t stay inside our excited participants.

Finally we all managed to get some sleep and arrived in Sydney Town, excited and very hungry.  After a scrumptious breakfast of bacon and eggs, more bacon and eggs and even more bacon and eggs we loaded up to move on to Taronga Zoo.  This time we heard Mr Oakley say to Mr Cornish have you got the medicine box.  Mr Cornish looked blankly back and sent Mr Oakley back into the breakfast venue to collect the missing medicine box.  The score was now Mr Cornish 1 Mr Oakley 1.  Ms. Vermillion nil.

Next stop the zoo.  We were all in for some  wonderful animal relationship education as the highly excited elephants participated in an adventurous game of “Wrestling”  The highlight  however was young Blake D as he was called up from the crowd and had to help a large Californian seal lion have its morning tea.  Blake you were our hero.  Souvenirs were purchased, animals were seen, and photos were taken.  Staff consumed many triple shot coffees and we were ready to take on the ferry ride to circular quay.  We couldn’t have had a better day as Sydney turned on its best weather day in months.  The children were in awe as we sailed past the Opera house, under the harbour bridge and docked into terminal 5.  Unfortunately the Opera house was undergoing some major construction and we weren’t able to make a visit.  Our sincere apologies to those relatives who were waiting patiently to see the children, sorry circumstances outside of our control.

Finally after a few thousand “Are we there yet?”  We cruised into sunny Canberra a little weary but still happy to be there, now well feed and ready for day 2.

The staff were happy to report this group was one of the quietest and most respectful groups ever to head to Canberra.


Stay up to date with us throughout the day on our Facebook page.


Day 2 

A Bus too far….

Day two began early, though some boys were up at dawn and dressed ready for the day’s adventure, however they were not too eager to enter the wintery morning.

Canberra, unlike Sydney, served up a chilly start. The novelty of seeing their own breath, kept the hunger at bay as the kids puffed out their cheeks and blew out the steam. Some would say they looked like a line of smoking V8s… most wouldn’t.

Breakfast today consisted of coco pops, cornflakes, toast and or pancakes, this loaded up the troops for the day ahead. Many had seconds, some had thirds and few had fourths.

Teeth brushed, hair brushed, jumpers on and the buses were out the Gate.

The AIS was waiting our arrival. We had the pleasure of visiting their quality facilities. You could see the kids’ imagination runaway with visions of the Olympics and gold medals. (And the women’s under 20 netball team).

Despite the tumble weed rolling down the road and empty athletes’ lockers, we first visited the places where they had prepared for the 2012 Olympics.

The Olympic pool draped in cameras and images of past heroes was a warm respite at 28C. The blue water and smell of chlorine filled our noses as our host Ella (champion U18 basket baller) explained how the pool worked and that Ian Thorpe had filmed his documentary in the same very pool.

We visited the main arena, volley ball courts worth $200,000 each and watched the athletes work out in a state of the art gym and fitness areas.

We then visited the Sportex Interactive centre. The kids ran, jumped, climbed, threw balls, kicked goals, bowled over wickets and tested their strength and endurance. The interactive luge was popular with the kids as the wind blew through their hair. Although Zac was heard to say “I love the feel of the wind on my skin.”  (Zac has little hair).

Then the team was split as Bus one went to the National Art Gallery and bus two visited the National Archives.

Bus one arrived at The National Art Gallery on search for Sydney Nolan. The art was abound and the kids really enjoyed seeing the Nolan work and comparing it to their own creations.

On route to the National Archives we were informed by Campbell that Mal Meninga not only coached Queensland to 7 straight series wins, but he also designed Canberra, not Burley Griffin.

At the National archives we investigated the Australian constitution, the students were surprised to hear about the reign of Queen Victoria. We learnt about historical records covering immigration, education and culture from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

The Immigrants dictation test from 1924 was a roaring success as most of 7Y and 7G were deported for misuse of a semi colon.

Lunch and a game in the chilly Rose garden allowed us to blow out any cobwebs. Pizza was on the menu for lunch and this kept the troops quiet as they munched their way through Hawaiian and meat lovers’ pizzas. Surprisingly, the fruit went down well, bananas were popular; little did we know this would affect our visit to Old Parliament House.

At Old Parliament House we learnt about the electoral system. The kids had a democratic vote to decide which fruit they would elect to the House of Representatives.  The winner… Mr Banana, was elected the new member for Moncrieff.

Next on today’s educational tour, was the CSIRO, makers of plastic money and wireless internet. We were entertained by a 3D movie about Polymers and bio-senses. Then we explored the many labs for kids, where we made Pea DNA, magnified larvae and tested acids and alkaline.

One of the activities was an energy maker, where with a quick turn of a turbine, students were rewarded with a free Jaffa. The students eventually got a chance after Mr Cornish and Mr Heinemann and Mrs Couch hogged the first 150 Jaffas.

As we grouped together to discuss our science findings, Ryan was heard to say he had learnt that “Energy can pick up a Jaffa.”…. Science, fantastic!

Dinner was served and finished in a blink of an eye. Bus one went straight out to Laser Tag, whilst bus two chilled out for a 5C evening.

Stefan turned out to be a laser strike hero, William was a dead eye and James was able to dance and shoot at the same time. Skills indeed!


Day 3. Visiting the big house.


Day 3 

After what felt like a lie in, we awoke at 6:30am and headed down to breakfast walking delicately over the ice sheet covered grass. At minus four we were cold, really cold, but the smile soon spread across our faces as we hit the dining hall and bacon and eggs were served.

Then we hit Parliament House. We looked so cool, in our Maroon tops and ready and eager to participate in the Australian democratic process.  Our first stop was the security scanner in which the only ones stopped were Mr Cornish and Mrs Vermillion.  Mr Cornish’s shoes set off the scanner and he was taken aside and had to remove the offending shoes and be rescanned.  Mrs Vermillion hit the jackpot she was sent out for explosive testing, must have been the snappy Worongary tour jumpers that upset the security.  Luckily all the children passed with flying colours, lots of pleases and thank you seemed to do the trick.  Our parliament house guide was very impressed with our knowledge of the Australian electoral process and the understanding of the workings of the parliament house.  Well done year 7 teachers.


Then we went to the Parliamentary Education Office for a Bill role play.  We had to create a government, an opposition, a sergeant at arms, a speaker and lots of independents.  One group decided that we should ban television ads during children’s shows and the other group introduced a bill to allow animals in circuses.  This was a great activity to show our students how the system works and what our politicians do when they are in parliament.  One of the student members of parliament got right into the role play of our being a politician by “pretending “ to fall asleep during the sitting,  great acting Bailee.  Luckily we caught this on film for later.  Mr Oakley was very happy as it wasn’t him this year ‘acting’ as a sleeping politician.  After a scrumptious morning tea of water and roll ups provided at tax payer’s expense we headed onto the roof top to walk on top of the building to show that everyone is above the politicians and they are below us and work for the people.

After a healthy lunch of wraps, fruit and more water we headed into one of the tour highlights – Questacon.  This is always incredible popular with the students and staff.  Some of our boys spent over an hour with one of the scientists as he took them through science experiment after science experiment.  At the end of the hour the resident scientist was exhausted and the boys wanted more and more.  They would still be there if we had let them.  It was great to see students so engaged and excited about science.  Many overcame their fear of heights for the giant drop, saw lightning made, experienced earthquakes and marvelled over black holes.  Finally we hit the gift shop; the charge was led by Mr Cornish and Mr Coffey as they loaded up on resources for upcoming science experiments.  Stay tuned for more fun in the coming weeks as we unleash our new toys.

We then split up again with one group off the National Gallery and the other group to the archives.  Our group at the National gallery were almost offered jobs as they knew more about Sydney Nolan’s Ned Kelly series of painting than the guide- great stuff Worongary.  Back at the National Archives we all had to sit the old dictation test.  Unfortunately Mr Cornish ran into a problem with his semi colon and the only ones to pass were Ms. Vermillion and Zack from Mr O’s class.  Zack is still giving Mr Oakley heaps about that one.

See you in day 4, after the snow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Day 4 

Good morning, good morning, good morning it is time to rise and shine, its 3.45am and we were off to the snow.  The students and staff crawled out of bed, dragged themselves into the bus and promptly went back to sleep.  The excitement of the day at the snow was overshadowed by the very early start.  We had breakfast at the Cooma golden arches bacon egg muffins, sausage muffins galore.  Back on the bus and we zoomed passed the famous Cooma rock farms and the Jindabyne Lake filled with freshwater sharks and the old the old Jindabyne Township.  As we climbed higher through the snowy mountain hydro scheme area we first glimpsed the white snow-capped peaks as they materialised before our very eyes.  

Then please good readers, picture this;  97 students, 6 very frazzled teachers attempting to ensure our children had their ski boots fitted , their snow gear snuggly wrapped around them, their helmets on, gloves matched, goggles placed around their heads and then carrying their skis, poles and backpack they were herded onto the train. 
We had members from the public coming up and wishing us well, others were just shaking their heads and some were running away, most just laughed.  A quick change of shuttles half way up the mountain tested our mettle as some children started to lose equipment such as skis, gloves helmets and other assorted bits of equipment.  Luckily Mr Cornish had the school corporate card and all was soon resolved.

Next stop the ski lessons.  The weather was determined to be unfriendly as the wind chill
factor was very high, visibility was very low and lots of children were very cold.  Determined to master skiing we soldiered on and made sure the ski instructors earned their money this day.  

For the next two hours we skied on the beginners slopes, played in the snow and generally had a ball playing in the white stuff.  Some of us nearly mastered it and others nearly didn’t but we all agreed it was amazing.  After a hearty lunch of meat pies and chips we were back onto the slopes, some were practising their new found love of skiing but most of us were just having fun sliding down the slopes and throwing snow balls.

Then it was time to get off the mountain and return the equipment.  We all collected what we thought were our skis and headed back into the ski tube.  Mr Coffey (Now known as Fagan) asked one of the students to grab his snow board; unfortunately he grabbed someone else’s, this we didn’t realise until we had returned.  Others grabbed what they thought were their skis only to find out later that they weren’t.  Eventually we sorted it all out and back on the bus headed for Canberra.  Poor Ms.V then tried to make a phone call only to realise that her phone was still in the pocket of her hired ski pants back at the mountains. 

Luckily we were able to contact the hire shop and they found the phone just before it went into the washing machine with the other 97 outfits.  What a day!

Tomorrow we are off to the Governor General’s residence and then the War memorial and finally home to our own beds and families, some of us are starting to miss our loved ones very much. 

See you back on the Coast.


Day 5 

Good morning

The last day and maybe the biggest challenge of the trip so far…… packing our own bags.

After a week of surviving on their own we had to re-pack our own bags, most of us, all of us, had used the cabin floor as a storage system for our clothes, shoes, socks and anything else mum had packed for the trip.  Now we had 20 minutes to get it all back in. 

Parents if you are reading this now you must be afraid, very afraid.  Don’t fear mums and dads we somehow managed to get it all back into their cases.  However it may pay to make a careful check when they get home.  We also have a large box of “Lost Property” that we will attempt to find owners for back at school.

Then we were off for our last day of activities.  Some of us went to the high court first, others went to the Governor General house and then we did a swap.  One group was lucky to see a real high court case in action, pretty impressive.  While at the Governor General house we were told Mrs Bryce was in the building, however the only person to see her was Mr Oakley as a result of his over active bladder (coming back from the toilet he passed her in the corridor).  The rest of us were not so lucky. 

One of our cheeky bus drivers sampled the G.G’s lemons from their fruit garden as we wondered around the garden.  Thankfully the federal police didn’t detain us and we were off to the War Memorial.  This is always a highlight and sometimes a very moving experience for our students. 

Some students were able to find relatives who had made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  All of the students were able to participate in a small poppy laying ceremony in the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  One of our students did whisper to a teacher at a later stage “I think his name was Steve.”

Then it was time for the traditional photo and video on the steps of the War Memorial.  This year we did it in super quick time as a snow storm was coming in from the west and it was very cold!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the bus to see snow and sleet coming down as we left Canberra, we are indeed lucky to live on the Gold Coast.

A special thanks to my amazing staff for their wonderful commitment, dedication, sense of humour and passion for our fantastic students.  We are indeed a fortunate school.  Best wishes to our Yr. 7 students, may this trip help them to survive and thrive as they move into the next phase of their education.

Last reviewed 06 April 2020
Last updated 06 April 2020