Day 5 was one of our busiest days in Canberra, with four venues to take in. However, our fantastic bus driver also managed to squeeze in a short stop at the National Arboretum for lunch, which has some stunning views across the valley and an awesome playground where we could spend some time playing.
Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
The Deep Space Complex is operated by the CSIRO on behalf of NASA. It’s nestled in a valley behind the hills to avoid interference from signals generated by the city. The complex boasts the largest communication dish in the southern hemisphere and is used in conjunction with other stations around the world. We learnt how many things we use in our daily lives were the result of breakthroughs done by NASA, such as zip lock bags (you don’t want to know what they were invented for!), and even potential cures for diseases.
“I liked the Space Centre even though it was a long drive. We had to turn our phones to airplane mode so the radio signals wouldn’t be picked up. I liked the Space Centre because we watched videos about the Rovers. The main dish is 70m wide and weighs 4,000 tonnes. At the Space Centre they ca talk to the other space craft in the atmosphere. Elon Musk made a rocket with side boosters to make it go fast. It took a few minutes for it to get into the solar system and the side boosters would automatically go to the ground at the same time and they can use it again” – Ben Randall
Royal Australian Mint
All the coins in circulation in Australia are made at the Royal Mint. The Mint itself is a factory floor with all the machinery for pressing, sorting and packing all the coins, including the 2nd biggest robot in the southern hemisphere, called “Titan” and two other robots called “Penny” and “Robbie”.
There is also a museum area where they have many rare coins on display. Some are damaged or pressed incorrectly, and others are from Australia’s convict era and are worth quite a bit, like the Holey Dollar which has the centre punched out (which is called a dump).
“The Royal Mint was amazing and I most enjoyed the robot Titan, because he was friendly and nice. We got to make $3 coins at the coin booth and also got to learn more about convicts. Overall, the Royal Mint is a great place to visit and the ideal place to put on your list” – Samantha Ng
There’s much more to our coins than we realised, making the Mint is quite a fascinating place to visit.
Embassy of Indonesia
A trip to the Indonesian Embassy is essential for our students, as they study Indonesian up to Year 9 (and as an elective after that). The Embassy looks like an imposing building, with guards and high gates, but our tour guides were very friendly and welcoming.
“On Wednesday we went to the Embassy of Indonesia. Luckily, the bus ride was not too long. When we got there, we had to climb a lot of stairs to get to the main building. Our guides where both from Indonesia. For the first half hour we all learned some really interesting things! After that, we watched a 5 min video on how Indonesia is a great tourist destination. Then we went out back to see a puppet show. There was a skinny good guy and a monster. At the end, the good guy shot the bad guy with an arrow. To finish the trip off, we saw the instruments in the puppet show orchestra” – Liam Gibbon
Students impressed our guides with their Indonesian language skills and knowledge of the culture and geography. We were then treated to a wayang kulit (shadow puppets) performance, followed by a look at some traditional Indonesian musical instrumentals like the gamelan and gongs.
Although it was a short visit, it was good for the students to see and experience some of what they’ve been learning in class.
Australian Institute of Sport
The Institute of Sport is a huge campus consisting of various sports centres, gyms, courts and stadiums. Many athletes training there live on campus. Sport and PE are favourites for many of our students, so this was a must-see tour. We were divided into two groups and shown around the campus by two athletes training at the AIS.
“I thought the AIS was amazing because I got to learn about what you do there and what it’s all about. I also loved seeing all the training centres, it was great fun. I also learnt how many times they train a year, and the games were so amazing. With swimming, where they train and there techniques are cool. It was amazing memory” – Katie Wrener
The highlight of the tour was undoubtedly Sportex, were students got to try their hand at a range of virtual and interactive sports – rowing, wheelchair racing, soccer, basketball, cycling and more.