Canberra 2014
Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 3:11PM
Mr Coutts

Thursday 12th June 2014

Year Six recently spent a week of learning and adventure in Canberra. Our annual Camp combined visits to key National venues including Parliament House, Australian War Memorial, Museum of Democracy and Questacon. Students also had opportunity to view some of Australia's cultural herritage at the National Gallery and explore how our elite athletes hone thier skills at the Australian Institute of Sport. These visits are important parts of our study of Civics and Citizenship and is made possible in part through funding made available by the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate (PACER).

The Australian Government recognises the importance of all young Australians being able to visit the national capital as part of their Civics and Citizenship education. To assist families in meeting the cost of the excursion the Australian Government is contributing funding of $20 per student under the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate program towards those costs. The rebate is paid directly to the school upon completion of the excursion. 

In addition to the Civics element students enjoyed a rich variety of Outdoor Education activites centred around the natural beuty of our National Capital. Based at Camp Cottermouth students participated in Canoeing, Camp Craft, Rock Climbing, Hiking, Mountain Biking and two nights in tents. Despite very cold mornings children arose each day ready for a fresh challenge. Thanks to our Outdoor Education Group Leaders for an excellent week in the Australian bush.

This was the first year where the Canberra Civics Programme was meshed with our Outdoor Education Programme. Students enjoyed the mix of activites and the change of scenery and pace that came from a session in the bush followed by a visit to a Gallery or Museum. 

Most impressive was the positive attitude the students took with them to every activity and the quality of learning that resulted.

Below is a small selection of reports written by the students on their return. Others will be published on the 'Our Work' page of this site.

Camp Recount by Sam of 6C

Canberra is greener since I last saw it.

Less busy, too. The War Memorial is typically busy even on a weekday. We drove past it and I got a glimpse - virtually deserted.

I snap back from my musings and into reality. We are coming into a carpark of red gravel on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.

What!? I thought we were going to our camp and the dorms - the one just outside of Canberra! This is an outrage! A scam! A...a…

Oh well. Can’t always win.

Maybe the dorms at the camp aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be, anyway.

Exhausted from an afternoon of canoeing, I get to Camp Cottermouth. Then, I hear the dreaded voice in my head.

“Uh, Sam, you’re not sleeping in there tonight,”

That awful voice that tells you, no, you will not be sleeping in the dorms. You’ll be sleeping, for the first few nights, in tents. In Canberra. In the bitter cold. With two other people. Without sleeping mats. I can imagine the people in cabins that night, all warm and snug, enjoying a peaceful slumber.

Dinner was surprisingly hearty. After all, you can never go wrong with creamy bacon carbonara.

In the tent, I try to get comfortable.

“Settle in, Sam. It’s gonna be a looooong night,”

And it was.

Groggy, I try to ask myself how much sleep i got. Three, four hours, perhaps?

It was cold. Oh my, was it cold. The word itself is an understatement. So cold that my fingers were burning as I poured bitter milk on my Corn Flakes. So cold that, when we were washing up from breakfast, I deliberately washed my hands in tap water because the water was pleasantly warm.

At this point I would have a novel-length rant about how gloves, or at least my gloves, are the worst possible insulators against cold, but I’m afraid time restricts me.

Parliament House was good. Though, as a Canberra elder, I’d seen it numerous times, so it was a bit “been there, done that”-ish. However, as we were walking out of Parliament House, guess who we saw? Yes - that guy from Channel Nine, Ross Greenwood! And he was incredibly pleasant, too. Not snooty, not afraid to share his opinions with children and adults alike. After a few rather challenging questions, he swiftly departed.

Now I can say that I have met journalist royalty.

We continue the scene the next day, after a much improved sleep, seconds from when I’ll be walking down a sheer vertical cliff, a few centimetres of rope and metal between me and me plummeting down to certain death.

They call it “abseiling”. I call it “an insane and insanely dangerous sport that is an invitation for death.”  That being said, at the moment when you take your first step over the edge of the cliff, your pulse racing and your adrenaline surging, it became - dare I say it - hugely enjoyable.

All that being said, the thing I was looking forward most to this camp was the National Art Gallery, where we went on Thursday. I’d probably been there, what, 8...9 times? And yet it never gets old. From the moment we walked into the clinical concrete interior, to the walk through of the Impressionism and Cubism galleries to the viewing of the splendorous and awe-inspiring Aboriginal monument, it was pure, unbridled art buff heaven.

Mountain biking. The final challenge. And, as I saw the mountain biking course for the first time, I must say that I wasn’t particularly thinking,

“Ooooh! That looks like a fun, safe undertaking!”

And, as I was only halfway through the course, my fingers feeling arthritic and every rise and dip pulsating through my spine, I was thinking,

“Wow! This is so much fun! Mountain biking is one of the most pleasant experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life!”

No. Scratch that. Whatever I was feeling at that moment, it… wasn’t that.

Lying in my pleasantly heated cabin on the last night of my Canberra camp, I started to reflect. Reflect on what had been an amazing camp. I have lived in Canberra for ten whole years. And yet… canoeing through Lake Burley Griffin, hiking beside a river, walking down a perilous cliff, camping out amongst a sky full of stars… I saw an entirely different side of this city - an incredible one. Though, at times, I had to step out of my comfort zone, I always came out-

Oops. Lights out. It’s time to go to sleep.

It’s the next day. This might come as a shock - until Camp, I had never  been to the AIS in Canberra - not once. And for that reason, I was actually looking forward to it and, when the time came, I hugely enjoyed it. Seeing the sports stars training and the amazing Sportech zone was very interesting and very fun.

However, by the time we were about to go on the bus back to Sydney, I realized that I actually looking forward to going home.

As the white bus left the AIS car park, the destination: Sydney, I say one last goodbye.

Farewell, Canberra. Thank you for an amazing camp.


My Experience of Year Six Camp - Charlotte 6C


“Is it just me, or is it really warm?”

I was sitting in the bus on the way to Canberra in my warm clothes.

I had heard it is freezing cold so I expected that when I stepped out of the bus, the cold wind would blow in my face; but no guess what, it was warm.


In Old Parliament House we had to listen to a women talk. Rachel was next to me unfortunately she was so close to falling asleep, but just in time we got told to leave. I thought to myself either Rachel was really tired or she was just bored. If she nearly fell asleep on the first day of camp she will sleep through the whole camp.

The next morning I woke up after hearing Anna scream “Wake up everyone it is 06;30 am you have to get up now” I can't thank her more because if she hadn't woken us up we would have been late.

So that day we took the bus and headed to the mountains to do “Mountain Biking”

I think mountain biking was my favorite activity. I really liked it because I used to ride a bike in Denmark so it wasn't  that hard for me.

We were riding through the woods and suddenly I started to see some creatures in the middle of the bush. I couldn't believe my eyes I saw kangaroos. It was so cool to see so many kangaroos, and I was only about 3m away from them.

There also was a seesaw. I was pretty scared in the beginning because I was the first girl to do it. When I did it I was really proud of myself in total I did it four times (and just to mention I didn't die and that is always a bonus, don't you think?)

That night I slept really well because I had a good and long day.

We started  the morning of by eating breakfast. Of course I had to make lunch for Mr. Coutts, and he thought it was really good.

I was sitting in a canoe the colour of a red rose, and I started shaking the canoe I did it calmly but of course Rachel started to freak out.

Suddenly when we were going pretty fast around a little island, I said to Rachel, "Is that just me or does that look like a snake”?

We started to paddle fast but then other people came past us and said ”that is not as snake it is wood” so after that I felt a little stupid but to be honest I thought it was pretty funny.

I am just happy I have a good imagination. The following day we went “abseiling”. I really liked it because it was something  I hadn't tried it before.


We had a tour led by a man at the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport).

I loved getting the tour because I love playing sports so it was cool to see.

That night I slept in a tent. I started to put woolen socks on, scarf, beanie, gloves and more. I thought to myself that I had survived the night before so I could do it this night.

I woke up in the middle of the night and thought my face was frozen, but luckily it wasn't .

In the morning I felt like my fingers and toes were frozen.

The last day of camp a group of people went to the “War memorial’

I have a lot of respect for the people who were fighting for Australia. They left everything behind, their family, friends and home, so that was really nice to see the people who have given a red puppy to the people who died fighting.

I sat in the bus on the way back to Sydney. I was looking forward to go home but one part of me wanted to stay at camp.

In conclusion I loved camp it was so cool to be on camp with my friends and doing awesome activities. Thank you for an awesome Year Six Camp.




Article originally appeared on redlandsyear6 (
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