Canberra Trip 2018
The annual pilgrimage of Year 10 to our nation’s capital took place this year between May 16 and 18. Once again, the girls were immersed in a learning experience intended to deepen their understanding of Australia’s history, the political and legal system, art and culture, and issues relating to sustainability and the environment.
This year, our visit coincided with preparation for a Year 10 History assessment on Gallipoli which motivated the girls to comb through the Australian War Memorial for sources and evidence. We were very fortunate to be given personalised tours through the Gallipoli section of the memorial by the highly informed guides who were able to transmit some valuable information to our girls. Some groups this year were also fortunate to stumble upon a trial being heard in the High Court. This is indeed a rare occurrence on any visit to Canberra, but we were able to listen to the tail end of the case related to a contestation of a will that had made it all the way to the High Court!
The girls also enjoyed a tour of the embassy district, noting the heavy security around the US and Israeli embassies as well as the new block of land recently purchased by Russia to build an embassy in Canberra. At the National Museum of Australia, the girls learnt about the concept of postmodern design and how the structure of the building was intentionally designed to disorient the visitor so that a diverse narrative of Australian history could be acquired. At the National Gallery of Australia, the girls were able to see some of the classics from artists Pollock, Nolan and Warhol up close, but they were especially pleased to be given free access to the Cartier exhibition where they were able to see famous Cartier jewellery such as a necklace worn by Princess Grace of Monaco and the tiara worn by Kate Middleton at her wedding to Prince William.
Activities such as a visit to the Tent Embassy and the National Tree Arboretum opened the eyes of many girls to issues of national significance. An early morning visit to the Tent Embassy was particularly memorable with some of the girls being disarmed by the kindness of the keepers of the embassy and moved by the stillness they felt during the smoking ceremony held for them. At the Tree Arboretum, girls learnt of the sustainability objectives of this tree sanctuary and saw the myriad of foreign and home-grown dignitaries who had planted trees on the hills for future generations. Some groups were also able to take in an amazing sunset from the hills of the Arboretum on day two which is a ritual for Canberrans! The girls were in awe as the red sun descended behind the Brindabella ranges – a stunning sight.
These types of experiences are just a small snapshot of the valuable experiential learning that took place on this trip. Being able to absorb these experiences through talking to guides and listening and observing their surroundings intently, showed the girls that learning can also take place outside the walls of the classroom.
It should be acknowledged that this tour was supported by the Australian government who recognise the importance of all young Australians 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 funds $20 per student under the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate program. This rebate will be paid directly to the school at the completion of the excursion. This shows how aligned Loreto is to the values of the Australian government on this issue of Civics and Citizenship education.
Overall, the girls fully embraced all aspects of the Canberra experience and returned from their visit in high spirits and reinvigorated by the alternative approach to learning they experienced during their time away.
Mr Marco Scali
Head of History