A Country Adventure
Recently we had a group of students from a Brisbane Boarding School come to visit. Every year my mother (who is Head of Boarding) brings a group out to give them something of a country adventure. They stay in our shearer’s quarters, which are comfortable, but certainly not 5-star.
Some of the girls live on properties themselves, and appreciate the visit to somebody else’s place. For them it is a comparative experience.
“Our place hasn’t had rain for four years, so your place looks greener.”
“Our shearing quarters are a bit different to yours.”
“We have wheat at our place.”
Some of the girls are city girls who have never visited the country and are keen to see what it is all about. They’ve heard snippets from their friends and are eager to see it for themselves.
And some of the girls are international students who are about to have their minds blown. The size, the landscape (flat and desolate), the animals, the heat, the flies…
“Are you having fun Sarah?”
“I think so.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s amazing! But there are so many flies…”
And then finally, “This is so much fun! I’ve never seen anything like it!”
This year the girls were able to visit a farm that was harvesting wheat. They were able to go on a ride on a Header, and learn all about wheat production. At our place I showed them through the shearing shed. I explained how it all happens and what it looks, sounds and smells like when the shearers are in full swing. We talked about shearers, and contractors and Merino sheep. Most girls began to understand the process of something they didn’t even know existed until their visit out here.
We also took them to Lightning Ridge, an opal mining town only a few hours drive from home. They learned about opal mining, met some interesting characters and even saw the water park (an amazing place to visit in the summer that was entirely funded by the people of Lightning Ridge themselves).
They saw the small school that my own children attend, and it is only after the first day or so that you can see the pieces all fitting together in their minds. There is a whole world out there that is completely different to the ones they may come from. They are frightened, intrigued and ultimately mesmerised by the country, including the most hardened of students.
Even without an internet connection, air conditioning and unlimited access to water, they ALL still managed to have an incredible experience. It is a combination of the people, the animals, the knowledge and the landscapes that make this such a memorable trip for these girls. It’s such a wonderful opportunity, and I’m both excited and proud to be a part of the experience.