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Year 5 Camp Ballarat

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Gold Fever!

Thursday 30th May, 2024 will hold a special place in the hearts of the Year 5s. Their very first camp away from home down at Sovereign Hill, Ballarat. As part of their Inquiry unit, year 5s delved deep into the past to learn about how the miners lived and made a living in the tough and rigorous conditions of Ballarat in the 1850s.

Upon arriving at Sovereign Hill, we wasted no time in exploring the site, and getting a feel for gold fever. We began our journey in the Education Centre, where students learnt about how life was really like in the 1800s. They were shown how everyday machines were made and handled. From leavers to washers, to fruit peelers, there was a machine for everything. It’s a good thing we have washing machines that do all the hard work for us these days and we will never complain about putting a load of washing on ever again.

Following the education centre, we moved on to candle making and learnt the importance of candles in the mine fields. As there was no electricity, it was an effective and affordable source of light. We even had a go at candle dipping. Not letting the wet weather dappen our spirits, we continued with discovering the site and panned for gold. Sadly, with no success!

Despite the wet weather, we had dinner in the dinning hall, followed by the Aurora Show. It was a spectacular light show showcasing the scientific creation of earth in 3D, the Indigenous story creation and white settlement. It told the story of the Eureka Stockade and how the rights of minors were fought for and won. It was a captivating show. After the show we all headed back to the rooms where we had free time and attempted to get a good night’s sleep.

After waking up early and getting our rooms all sorted and packed, we had breakfast and headed out to the fields again. A visit down an actual mine shaft was next on the agenda. Students were fascinated by the conditions minors faced and the story of John, an Irish miner who discovered the largest gold nugget – a 69kg pure gold nugget! Following the mine tour, students learnt how gold was melted, purified and then sold, with a live demonstration. A 3kg gold slab was created, and Elias in 5B was lucky enough to hold it in his hands – a mere street value of $300,000.

No trip to Sovereign Hill is ever complete without a trip to the lolly shop. A quick stop to stock up on the supplies for our trip home, and it was time to head home. After eating lunch, and making final room inspections, we made our way to the bus.

It was a great experience for all our students to be emersed in a real-life live museum, where they had opportunities to touch, smell and feel what it was really like to be a miner digging for gold in the fields.

A special thanks to all teachers who attended and well done to the year 5s who survived their first camp.

- Mrs Tania Jarrouje, Mr Nick Triantafillopoulos and Mrs Martina Gawro

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