The thought of having to endure Canberra’s bitterly cold winter mornings is enough to deter most people from visiting the capital, but for a small bush school in Queensland, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime.
Ten students and two teachers from two rural Queensland schools will touch down in Canberra on Sunday afternoon (18 August) for the first time.
Every second year, students from Ravenswood State School and Greenvale State School head down to the ACT to see the sights and sounds of Parliament House, War Memorial and Questacon.
The trips would not be possible if not for the generosity of the local community – and some creative support from their principals, who even take to busking to raise funds.
“These kids don’t really have holidays when they are on holidays because they are mustering with their families, working 10-hour days,” Greenvale State School Principal Michael Langton said.
“These people are just so used to hard work and getting up at 5 am. So it’s good to give these kids a holiday.
“It has been a bit hard to get them to concentrate on schoolwork this week because they are too preoccupied. It was 10 degrees in Queensland on Wednesday morning (14 August) so I told them to be ready for minus-3 degrees in Canberra,” he said, chuckling.
“You don’t know what cold is until you get to Canberra. It is going to be a shock to these kids.”
Principal Langton said the highlight of the trip will be the day at the snow in Perisher.
“It is quite hilarious when bush kids see snow for the first time,” Principal Langton said. “It doesn’t matter how exciting Questacon will be, the kids will come back and the first thing that will come out of their mouth will be the day of the snow.”
The P&C and school pay for the kids’ trip through fundraising efforts, with Mr Langton headed into Townsville to help raise funds for the trip by playing his guitar.
“It turns out to be quite a costly trip,” he said. “It works out to be $2,000 per child which is pretty good when you look at the itinerary. We really want to treat the kids while we are down there so I decided to head into town to do some busking.
“I just turned up with a sign that said where we were from and what I was busking for. It was quite beautiful actually, a young couple walked past and threw in a $50 note into the case. I had little kids come up and give dollar coins.
“I was packing up on Saturday afternoon and had stopped playing but someone walking past saw my sign and still gave me money. The generosity was quite lovely and I was very humbled.”