Olly’s Australian Volunteering Year Out!

Posted on the 16th November 2018

Tales from a Volunteer in Australia

Oliver Lloyd wrote a blog about his orientation in Australia a couple of months ago. Now he tells us about life in the school camps and his trip to Sydney. 

Hi again! When I first offered to keep you all up to date with these blogs, I said that I would try and write them at regular intervals, and unfortunately this didn’t happen, but this installment should help explain why because I will be covering school camps and my trip to Sydney.

 

Starting at the beginning, I was given the opportunity to spend two weeks in the Grampians, located about three hours away from Melbourne (and named after the Scottish mountain range), with our year 8s. The fortnight was spent as a supervisory role together with our outdoor education team and a classroom teacher hiking to some of the best viewpoints in the area including the Pinnacle, Mt Rosea and the falls (which make an excellent natural shower to freshen up after having no showering facilities for a few days). Alongside the hiking we get to spend half a day canoeing and half a day bike riding meaning that everyone can showcase their different skills and develop those that they may not be confident in. The programme also allows for a three-hour solo where the kids spend a few hours on their own to reflect on what they have learnt in an environment many of them would not normally visit, including cooking using a Trangia and how to correctly pack a backpack. Over this camp, we also had the opportunity to work with a local company who provided sessions on aboriginal culture and history of the area, including their belief of how a giant emu craved the valleys between the mountains which now form the national park.

Volunteer Overseas In Australia

The week after coming off year eight camp, I was elected to go on our annual cadet camp, unfortunately I can’t tell you where otherwise I’d have to shoot you. Joking! We spent the first four nights of the student run excursion in the bush of Puckapunyal army base, working on a game with other cadet units who were on site as well as a 24-hour game set by the senior cadets to test the skills that the lower ranking students had been taught – spending the allocated time as separate divisions finding supplies at supplied (get it?) grid references allowing them to camp out until the next morning. Later in the week we had the chance to fire a simulated rifle in the lead up to the following morning where both staff and students could fire both a rifle and an automatic weapon (although we had to cease fire when a stray emu took a stroll across the range).

 

The final school camp that I was on was our year 6 camp to Jindabyne and Canberra. With my half of the group starting in the snow (yes, Australia has snow) of Jindabyne, where the students had the opportunity to take a short hike to a viewpoint where we could see Mt Kosciuszko, the highest peak in Australia. I will leave you imagining that this is an imposing sight, when in reality this may not be the case, although I can now say I have seen it. This part of the camp also gives the students an introduction into mountain biking and canoeing as well as spending one night in a tent as a way to break the ice for the following year’s camp. On the way to Canberra, we stopped at the snowy-hydro centre for the pupils to expand their knowledge on energy systems, and me my folk music, as we found a CD by The Settlers (founded in 1966 by an Irishman), including the song “Jindabyne Farewell”, which can be found by following the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIvbeDsk8_Q. In Canberra, we had the privilege of tours around both old and new parliament, giving insight into the Australian government and parliamentary system, Questacon – a large science museum where we could interact with a number of different exhibits, and the war memorial which gave great information into the role that Australia played during both world wars and conflicts since then. From the memorial entrance, you can see both parliaments, with it being believed an old Prime Minister wanted to be able to view the building from his office as a reminder to the sacrifices people before him had made for the country.

Volunteer Overseas In Australia

 

During the School holidays I had the pleasure of visiting Sydney – a break from work and getting to do the touristy things, including a visit to Madame Tussaud’s (where I got to meet my childhood hero, Steve Irwin, even if he was wax). Not only this, but I spent a couple of days exploring the botanic gardens and the carnivorous plants exhibition which lead directly to the Sydney Opera Theatre and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a great place to sit and relax whilst watching over the bay and work on getting a tan. On this tourist adventure I also visited the national maritime museum and had the opportunity to take a tour on an ex naval submarine and battleship. Although spending most of my evenings relaxing, I did head out on my second night to watch the Book of Mormon so that I could compare it to the performance(s) that I have seen in London – let’s just say that after watching it multiple times, it’s funny as always.

Volunteer Overseas In Australia

That’s all for now – a quick update on my camps and holidays. I will try to keep you up to date soon with life in ‘Stralia.

Thanks for a great insight into volunteer life Olly!

If you’d like to follow in Olly’s footsteps; check out our opportunities in Australia: APPLY NOW! Volunteer in Australia

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