Canberra Trip 2019

The annual pilgrimage of Year 10 to our nation’s capital took place between Wednesday and Friday last week. 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 related to sustainability and the environment. This year had the added excitement of a looming election on the day after we left. Certainly a historic time to be in Canberra, given further resonance by the passing of Bob Hawke on Thursday evening and our visit to Parliament House on the Friday.

The excursion coincided with preparation for a Year 10 History learning task on the Western Front which motivated the girls to comb through the Australian War Memorial for sources and evidence. We were also very fortunate to participate in commemoration services at the War Memorial on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon where Loreto Normanhurst students were able to lay a wreath on behalf of the school community.

Some highlights of the trip included a tour of the embassy district, where students noted the strict 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 inspirational story of Nova Peris through artefacts connected with her life. At the National Gallery of Australia, the girls were taken through a selection of works and were particularly struck by the wax sculpture by Swiss artist, Urs Fischer, entitled “Francesco.”[i]  At the National Tree Arboretum girls were able to indulge in the spectacular views of Canberra and learn about the art of Bonsai pruning.  

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 the best learning often takes 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 is 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

[i] Read more about Fischer and “Francesco” here