Year 7 discovers Newnes Plateau

25 March 2021

The Year 7 students were very impressive on their Outdoor Education Expedition. From the moment we boarded the bus, there was positive buzz of social interaction that was at all times supportive, friendly and inclusive to all.

What an experience! We arrived at our rugged campsite, where the effects of recent bushfire, was still quite present. We pitched our tents for the night and then went for a short bushwalk to the edge of a rocky, cliff embankment, were we watched the sun descending. The peace, awe and stillness was only broken by the call of the Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo. The students sat quietly showing a deep reverence and respect for the natural environment. As they did this, they were asked to contemplate the importance of this place for the Indigenous people of the Wiradjuri, Gundungurra and Darug nations.

The enthusiasm and cooperation the students had for cooking their own meals was very impressive. They displayed dexterity and confidence when operating the Trangia stove and an assortment of cuisines was hungrily devoured.

The next morning the whole group was divided into two, and one group went to Deep Pass for an overnight camp, while the other group stayed at the main campsite, to partake in the abseiling challenge.

The campers heading out to Deep Pass needed an overnight pack of food and clothes. They headed out on a 2km, downhill trek through the bush to their campsite. The Wollemi National Park boasts some of the prettiest scenery; a valley surrounded by incredible cliffs, cascading waterfalls and winding creeks. We explored the nearby rock pools; a meeting place for the Wiradjuri, Gundungurra and Darug people that contains ancient handprints; and the T-Slot canyon that squeezes its way through the middle of a mountain.  The students arranged their new campsite using tarps for cover. Being carefully guided in the correct placement and setting of their tarps to ensure a dry bed for the night. In the second week this was especially important as it rained most nights. The students’ tarp building skills were exceptional and they remained mostly dry.

The abseilers were both excited and nervous. They participated in a small practice run, patiently guided by Greg, Enya, Scottie, Jason and KG. This provided students with the skills and confidence to attempt the daunting, 20 metre drop. Exhilaration and an overwhelming feeling of pride and triumph accompanied each abseiler’s return to the cliff top.

Later in the day we travelled to a glow-worm tunnel. We trudged through the abandoned railway tunnel with our head torches on. Halfway through, we stopped and stood in complete silence, in pitch, black darkness. Slowly, out of the darkness, we became enchanted by what looked like twinkling starlight, radiating from these tiny creatures.

The Outdoor Education Expedition was an all-round success, and all credit needs to be given to the Outdoor Education team. Thanks to Scottie, KG, Taylor, Tom, Enya, Jason and Greg, who patiently supported the students to overcome any difficulties.

The class is already excited about their next expedition. Each year’s adventure will foster their capacity to be stretched physically, grow resilience and build confidence that they can achieve and overcome any obstacle that might arise to meet them.

Great work team!
Cathy, Elena and Jamie