24 March, 2023


Year 9s Immersed in Southern Tasmania Experiences

The Year 9s have been let loose on Southern Tasmania over the past week, travelling independently in their House groups. This experiential Humanities and Science learning opportunity has again proven to be a very popular part of the Year 9 curriculum and our students have impressed everyone from Premier Rockcliff to the Port Arthur Ghost Tour guides.

I have had the pleasure of spending time with all four groups at different locations and have thoroughly enjoyed being part of their learning. The way our students learn is so varied and that is why opportunities such as this are so important. Students who find traditional classroom learning a challenge may often disengage and stop believing in their ability to learn. During an experience such as this, students often have a lightbulb moment when they realise that they are an equally competent learner when they benefit from the varied delivery.

At Woodbridge Marine Discovery Centre an experiment showed clearly why the Northern Pacific Sea Star is out-competing the local native species and changing the local ecology, and students were able to understand this in terms of global warming. Students also learnt that they can handle the animals in a sensitive way where both human and echinoderm remain unharmed.

At Parliament House, students were enthusiastic when learning about the reality of how Tasmania is governed, and they were warmly welcomed by Premier Rockcliff, Janie Finlay, Jo Palmer and Mark Shelton, amongst others. Jo Palmer was especially prepared for Nance House, dressed in her yellow suit on Wednesday.

Time with Briggs at the Cascade Female Factory in South Hobart was a reality check for all of us as we were reminded of the hardship suffered by female convicts at what was an awful place in the early 1800s. We all embraced the opportunity of practicing our story-telling skills in a workshop that encouraged us to write down what we noticed, remembered and imagined. The importance of learning from the past and doing better in the future was palpable.

Port Arthur is an experience all on its own and generates so many questions and emotions for students. They were immersed in the Escape Tour, the ever popular Ghost Tour, the tour of the historic site and a trip across the water to the boy’s prison at Point Puer. An understanding of the horrors associated with this significant Tasmanian icon is essential for students who live on this beautiful island.

Grateful thanks to the twelve staff involved in escorting the students around the south of the state and looking after their welfare over the past week. The building of important relationships occurs during experiences of this nature. On behalf of the students, I would like to acknowledge Georgie Routley, Andrew French, Paul McKendrick, Jane Gregg, Bo Power, Caro Catchlove-Owen, Kate Gard, Stephen Dobson, Bec Rockcliff, Fiona Taylor, Kate Wallace and Jamie Breden. Your efforts and dedication are highly appreciated. Coordination of the significant logistics involved in organising this week deserves a special mention; many thanks to Georgie Routley and Katy McGuiness for your many hours of planning.

Stuart Walls
Head of Senior School