Twenty Year 10 students, involved in service learning, headed to Wakka Wakka Country for a cultural and community outreach experience over the holidays. The aim of the trip was an initiative to close the gap with indigenous groups.
Our adventure had finally begun! The early Sunday morning start was a struggle but the bus trip had substituted for this. Wild Horse Mountain was our first stop and just what we needed to stretch our legs, a steep walk up to the summit for an awesome view of the Glasshouse Mountains. The site was a perfect place for our first group photo together. The view was spectacular and gave us some perspective as to where we had come from and more importantly, where we were heading to.
After some grocery shopping in Woodford, we wasted no time meeting two Wakka Wakka Elders, Uncle Robert and Uncle Norman. Here we were honoured guests to their land and learnt about the fascinating history of the Wakka Wakka people and their art within the birthing caves. We then visited the spiritual Coomba Falls in respectful silence. We were issued our reflective journals here and began writing about our day. Finally, we arrived at our new home away from home for the next five nights, Yallakool Caravan Park.
Following an early breakfast, we ventured out to Murgon State School for our first visit and were treated to a special welcome by the young Murgon boys with a corroboree dance. The group had been in preparation for months and their first performance was for us. It made our welcome so much more special. We were then off to our allocated classrooms. Immediately, we felt a connection with the Murgon students. The teachers provided very warm welcomes and the morning session was a great start to our time at the school. Following lunch, we visited The Ration Shed Museum in Cherbourg. Our first day taught us what no history textbooks ever could. Uncle Eric shared his experience of life in Cherbourg. His tour was most enlightening. We even had time to be creative by painting our own boomerangs and made some awesome rainbow art.
Tuesday once again saw us working with our new friends at Murgon State School. It was refreshing to see their smiling faces. Spending our time reading, writing, drawing, singing and dancing alongside these kids was a pure pleasure. By midday we visited and viewed facilities at the local State High School and were introduced to people who were making a difference to their students. This experience opened our minds to the diversity of education throughout Australia.
On Wednesday, we went to school for the majority of the day, visiting Bunya Nurseries in the afternoon. Young Australian of the Year finalist, Dr. Michael Baker met us and talked about his volunteer dentistry work in Cherbourg, and how he used his skills to help out others in need, any way he could. Following Dr Baker’s interesting talk, we proceeded to make artworks using flora materials from the nursery for our beloved classes, who we had been with over the past week. This was also State of Origin night, which had the group divided as we watched the game play out.
The penultimate day then arrived. Thursday saw us spending the first whole day in our classes, which everyone was very excited about. The day was spent making even more memories and having fun with the kids from Murgon. The night concluded with us sitting by the camp fire reflecting on what we had achieved and what we would be taking away with us, quietly wishing the week wouldn’t end.
Friday, a day nobody was prepared for, we had to say our hardest goodbyes to the kids who were now good friends. Watching the group, who over the past week had became so important, cry as we gave our last hug and goodbye, was truly heartbreaking. We presented our pieces of artwork to each class, before Vivi Baker played From Little Things Big Things Grow on the ukulele. Everyone was brought to tears that morning, not a dry eye in the school. Eventually we ended our goodbyes and an upset group of Year 10 Gold Coasters set off on a very quiet and sombre bus trip between Murgon and the Bunya Mountains. The Bunya Mountains provided a special place for the group to reflect on what we had achieved and learnt. Eventually, we turned the music back on as we remembered the unforgettable time at Murgon and the special people who had imprinted our lives.
Our newfound knowledge will forever be within us. B1 had such an amazing impact on us all from such a memorable trip, set to stay with us for a long time.
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