BALLARAT & SOVEREIGN HILL
Grade 5s took off early Thursday morning heading for Ballarat and a day at Sovereign Hill. Check out some of the photos from the day.
The day began with a visit to the Museum of Australian Democracy in Eureka (M.A.D.E.) where we learned about the weapons that soldiers, police and miners used in 1851 during the Eureka Stockade. One of the highlights of this part of the day was seeing the actual Eureka Flag on display in a protective cabinet. The condition of the flag was somewhat worse for wear because moths had eaten the woollen components and parts of the flag had been cut away for souvenirs while it was in the possession of the Victorian Art Gallery. Our guide Andrew took us around the Museum explaining the significance of this historic event, which shaped democracy in Australia.
Sovereign Hill turned on a beautiful day for the Grade 5s and we were able to walk the streets and interact with the citizens of the old colonial town. Interactions with the local police and shop keepers kept the children entertained and excited throughout the day (or maybe that was the sugar and lollies consumed after visiting the lolly shop). The bowling alley, candle dipping, horse shoe making, replica houses, stables, fire station and even the undertaker provided us with plenty of activities to learn from.
We toured the Red Hill Mine, walking deep underground to watch and listen to holograms of diggers dealing with tunnel collapses and flooding. Finally we discovered the second biggest nugget found in Australia, The Welcome Nugget. After mentally spending our riches, we walked up the steps to daylight to pan for some gold that we could actually take home with us.
Preparations were made in case at least 1 unlucky digger in our group happened to fall into the creek, but thankfully the provisions were not needed. Jack Pacitti emerged as the most skilful panner, finding several flakes of gold in the flowing creek running through the goldfields. With a trip across the road to the Gold Museum to learn some insightful nuggets of information (pun intended), we replenished our dwindling energy stores with a heart meal at Bakery Hill McDonalds. Bakery Hill was one of the two places the miners raised the Eureka flag we had seen earlier at the M.A.D.E. so we were able to make some tenuous links to the curriculum there as we smashed our burgers and fries.
Blood On The Southern Cross
The finale of the day was the light and sound show Blood On The Southern Cross, which documented the events that led to improved rights for the working class and a reduction in the taxes placed on mining licences (they stopped short of calling it a 'mining tax'). All of the children were very engaged throughout the day, teaching the Mr. Seeber and Mr. Sandison a thing or two along the way. Their manners were on full display despite the consumption of sugar, and their ability to answer challenging questions and pose even more challenging questions filled Mr. Seeber and Mr. Sandison's hearts with pride.