The adventure begins… with a long bus ride!
Day 1 – 23 September
Insight from Jamie Bryce
Where do we start! The Year 10 students arrived at school by the crack of dawn and started loading our luggage onto the bus. We hung around for a moment, talking amongst ourselves about the journey to come, before we were ushered onto the giant metal vehicle. We spent the next 13 hours singing at the top of our lungs (completely off key), attempting to sleep in the expectedly uncomfortably seats, and eating ridiculous amounts of carbs through chips, lollies and everything in between. In the first 2 hours of the trip, we were still maintaining our sanity. We ended up spending the next 10 hours in that temperamental “hunk of metal”.
Our first stop was the Tammin Roadhouse, where we stocked up on unneeded snacks, and went on our merry way. We travelled for another couple of hours, our energy beginning to wane, but our hopes still high, and eventually reached Southern Cross Roadhouse. This roadhouse had considerably less “fairly priced” items than the previous stop, but still served as a way to keep our blood sugar high. We finished our overpriced meals, bracing ourselves for what was to come. We travelled for a total of six more hours in the bus before the final stop at Kalgoorlie Maccas.
By the time we reached the fast food “restaurant”, it was 4:30pm. The sky was turning purple as the sun set, and we were absolutely exhausted. We stumbled out of the bus, all of our blood rushing suddenly to our legs, grateful to finally receive the slightest bit of movement. We shook off our exhaustion, took a well wanted bathroom break, and enjoyed our food. After such a long trip, it was peaceful to watch the sun set as we had dinner together with our friends. It was exactly what we needed.
We got back onto the bus, reinvigorated for the trip to come. For another good 3 hours on the bus, the lights were off and we rested, taking in the twilight. As it was nearing the end of day, we weren’t especially noisy and didn’t talk as much. We listened to music or enjoyed the silence under the indigo lighting. We claimed the rest we had earned. We had held out, and now we could take a few moments of quiet. Peace.
Eventually, we reached the school, tired but content. It was time to unpack our gear and we stumbled our way to our rooms, set up our beds and collapsed immediately. No one stayed up that night. No one talked nor whispered to each other. No one silently laughed in response to whispered jokes. Everyone just… slept. Leonora High School was quiet.
Day 2 – 24 September
Insight from Georgia Povey and Akira Hunter
On Saturday morning, we woke up with a mission – Leonora Bush Mission. A local Indigenous woman, Fifi showed us bush medicine on her property and was generous in her time and commitment to the land. Her free spirit and passion for the Aboriginal traditions imprinted on us a deep respect for enduring cultures. On a side note Fifi introduced us to all the cute animals she was caring for. You could hear the endless ‘awww’ as we were paralysed by the cuteness of joeys, horses and dogs of all sizes. We were then taken on a full tour of the desert. Fifi showed us the surprising variety in a seemingly barren location. From Bulla-Bulla to Mulga, we were eager to try all the delicacies Leonora had to offer. Fifi took us for a true 4-wheel-drive experience with enough bumps to put a chiropractor out of a job.
On arrival at the breakaways, we set up our swags which were quickly likened to body bags – a new experience for many of us. With the sun setting in the Breakaway, it was time – the Great Bushies Bake-off. The esteemed Michelin starred Mrs Howard judged us on our dishes. Akira’s group won by a landslide (definitely not biased) with their creamy strew. We also experimented with ‘cake in a cup’ mixes encased in orange peel. These were then roasted and covered in aluminium foil and baked in the fire. Fellow bushy Hannah said passionately, “It was really yummy!” All our meals were accompanied by garlic damper and other delicious fire-toasted goodness!
As we retired from the day into our ‘body bags’, we couldn’t help but reflect on God’s amazing creation. The landscape was imprinted into our imaginations and stirred us with awe and wonders. The night sky was absolutely break-taking! To everyone’s surprise, it was a restful night with a consensus that the body bags we slept in weren’t as bad as we thought and sleeping out under the stars was actually really peaceful.
Day 3 – 25 September
Insight from Georgia Povey and Akira Hunter
We woke up to a beautiful display of God’s creation on Sunday morning. We swiftly packed up our swags and had a classic bush brekkie – bacon and eggs. We got on the bus to church and enjoyed a lovely service at the Christian Fellowship Church, Leonora. Then, we went for lunch, prepared by the lovely Sam and Kev, followed by setting up the rec centre ready for the first session on Monday morning.
Later on in the day, we explore Gwalia, which is a ghost town by the mines. We got to see the big mines, walked through the abandoned homes and really enjoyed our time looking back through history and how people used to live in small towns similar to Gwalia. We finished off the night with a debrief about how Monday would go and shared our feelings for the upcoming day. Bushie Kaitlyn shared that like most of us, she was quite nervous, but the nerves quickly disappeared when the kids came and we got into the groove (but more on that in tomorrow’s blog)!