132 very excited students and 12 staff set off for Canberra last Monday, keenly anticipating the huge array of activities that awaited us.
A cruise around Sydney Harbour enabled us to eat our lunch with wonderful views of all the key sites, including the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, before setting off on the buses to Canberra.
Over the next three days, students were able to get a better understanding of how our democratic system works, with visits to the Australian Parliament, Old Parliament House and the Electoral Commission, which involved role plays mirroring the debating and passing of a bill, as well as tours of the buildings.
This year saw the College visit the High Court for the first time and we learnt about the role of the three courts within the Australian political system. Whilst visiting the Governor General’s residence at the end of the week, several groups were lucky enough to meet Sir Peter Cosgrove and ask him questions about his role as Governor General of Australia.
A definite highlight of the trip was a visit to the Australian War Memorial, where we learnt about Australia’s role in conflicts around the world. For the first time, we took part in the Last Post ceremony and students, Zoha Khan and Jamie Hickey, laid a wreath on behalf of the College acknowledging the service of our Armed Forces over the years.
For those with an interest in sport, the Australian Institute of Sport visit was much anticipated and many enjoyed seeing the world class training facilities on offer and taking part in the activities here.
For those with more of an interest in science, the visit to the CSIRO provided a fascinating insight into the world of scientific investigation. Everyone enjoyed the visit to Questacon with the huge variety of hands-on activities to take part in.
A visit to the Portrait Gallery allowed students to explore their artistic side, with hands-on activities based around some of the key works in the collection, including an opportunity to see Ned Kelly’s death mask.
On Friday, we made our return to the College, with everyone agreeing it had been a fantastic week. The students should be very proud of the way they conducted themselves while away – they were a credit to their families and the College. I would also like to thank all the staff who accompanied us on the trip and made it such a success.
Alison Ward, Head of Lawson House
Below are some comments from students about the trip:
The tours we got to go on were interesting but they also gave us a lot of information on Australia’s past and its government systems. Saaim Rashid
My favourite part of the tour was the National War Memorial because of the size and grandeur of it. Benjamin Elphick
I felt proud paying my respects to all of our service men and women at the Australian War Memorial, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our freedom. It’s an experience I will never forget. Adam Reimer
My favourite part of this trip was going to Government House. It was very interesting learning about the duties of a Governor General and exploring his private residence. The trouble all the teachers went to, to assist the students during camp is admirable. Caley Hindmarsh
A highlight for me was visiting Questacon and exploring the fascinating exhibits with my friends. Overall, the Canberra camp is a highly educational experience and a fantastic bonding opportunity for the grade. Zack Jennings
Canberra was one of those trips, I will never forget. From visiting Parliament House to playing cards at night with friends in the common areas, all memories made (which were many), will be cherished. Jess Read
Camp has definitely changed my life and I would not trade or change the magnificent experience that I just had for five days. Throughout the experience, I have learned so much and been challenged to step outside my comfort zone, which was to try new things and make new friends. Lily Lahood
I liked the Australian Institute of Sport because it was interactive and fun as I liked to challenge myself and push myself to my limits on the activities. Also being in a room with other people that I don’t normally sit with at lunch was nice because I went out of my own friendship zone and spent time with others. Haylee Springer
My favourite thing about our Canberra trip would have to be going to the Governor General’s home where my group got to meet the Governor General. Some of us were able to actually ask him a question (and I was lucky to be one of those few people). As well as that, only two people were chosen to sit in the Governor General’s office chair or dining chair. Eden and I were the lucky ones who got to experience that. I would like to say a special thanks to the Governor General, Roger (who gave us the tour) and all the staff that we met that day. Lauchlan Brown
The Australian Government recognises the importance of all young Australians being able to visit the national capital as part of their Civics and Citizenship education. To assist families in meeting the cost of the excursion the Australian Government is contributing some funding for each student under the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate program towards these costs. The rebate will be paid directly to the College.