First, let’s get something sorted about camp. It was long. Like weekends and school week, the good bits went fast and the less enjoyable parts took quite a while. This always seems to happen to me. This reflection is going to take ages, so get comfortable, and read on, if you dare.
My highlights include the 78 embassies, because I am interested in designing and architecture. Embassies are when a country owns a piece of land in another country, and people that have citizenships in that country can vote for their country’s politics there. There were parts of the building that represented the country, whether it was to do with culture or how the terrain was like. Greenland or some country with snow wanted to have an ice pond out the front, but it would have melted, so they made their building out of glass that was stained blue. I liked the embassies, because it showed how much culture can be expressed in a building. This made me wonder about how some buildings represent the things that are inside them. I like the approach to designing things because they look cool. There was one embassy that was on embassy drive that was funny and sad at the same time. The aboriginals had something like a continuous protest, and they had a small hut with a sign that said “ABoriginal” on it. It was because they were the original owners of the land and felt that it was not fair. I didn’t think it was right either. My favourite embassy was the American one, because I liked how it looked, and it was very large. There is a rumour that there is a secret passage from there to parliament, so that they don’t get injured or something on the way there. That’s a lot of security.
The next thing that we did was to go to the National Museum of Australia, to look at the history of Australia. When we arrived on the bus, we were told to go to the guides, where we were shown what to do. Bus 1 went to look and discover more about some artefacts that had some resemblance to the Australian history. In groups, we were told to look at the object, see what it was and how it related to early Australia. I was in the group that got a painting of a man in the gold rush, who was panning for gold. We knew how it related to Australia, so we looked at what was happening in the picture, and what tools they were using. After that, we went around the museum to find something interesting and write about it. I chose a large globe, with maps of the world and strange creatures on it. There weren’t many hands on activities, which I found disappointing. The next thing we did was to go to the circular cinema in the museum, which rotated around you. It was yet again about Australian culture. I remembered coming there to the museum when I visited Canberra a few years ago. It looked different though, because I couldn’t remember everything there. I did seem to remember other things there, not just Australian history. I wonder why we didn’t do those.
The next thing we did was to go to the film and sound archive. In Here, they had lots of old movies and advertisements form early Australia. We looked at how movies and clips had evolved, and there was a lot of difference between quality, colour and sound. One of their most precious and treasured videos was Felix the Cat, and it was restored from something called film. This was what they used in the old days to put videos on. They mainly used stop motion animation, which is where one picture is taken, then something moves, and then another is taken and so on. This was usually drawn on paper, and cartoons like Felix the Cat were put on it. After this, we went to the gallery to learn about making movies.
After that, we went to Questacon, which is like Scienceworks, but more things to do, and much larger. The first thing that we did there was to go into the shop in small groups to purchase something. The thing that I got was a Neo-Pin art set. It was fun to play with. After that, we went up the loop around Questacon and went to all of the different exhibitions and activities that were there. There were optical illusions, puzzles, brain teasers and crazy experiments. There was even a chamber that made lighting inside. We were all running round the different floors, rushing through exhibits, trying to see them all in the small time we had there when the teachers called us all and told us we had to read them carefully and see what they were about. It was more interesting, but we didn’t get through all of the exhibits and were disappointed when we left. My favourite part was playing around with the experiments and looking at all of the cool stuff that was in the store.
After that tiring day, we were prepared to go bed, but then we remembered that we had to go to the pool at the AIS. This would be fun! Before we went into the pool, we had to drive there on the bus. We were also instructed that we had to wear swimming caps. I wasn’t sure why we had to do that, but we put them on and climbed into the pool. We found some balls to play with, and we played a game, with them. You had to get the ball to one end of the pool to the other, and you were in teams of three. This was good fun, and we were all tired by the time we went to our cabins to go to bed. We would have gone to sleep straight away if someone hadn’t snored…
The next day we woke up at 7:00 and got ready to go to the Australian electoral education center and old parliament house, the museum of Australian democracy. At the electoral museum, we were guided inside and sat down in a small cinema, where we watched a short video about the history of Australian democracy. After that, when we had more knowledge about voting, we went into and activity area, where we had to go to different stations. We had to do activities about how to vote, and history, like how women got the right to vote in Australia. We went to the different colours and filled in the sheets on the clipboard that we picked up at each activity. We didn’t get to finish the activities, but we did end up knowing a lot more about voting, like the rightful age, where to go and how to do it. The last activity in the museum of democracy was to do a pretend vote. There were four politicians, Apple, Orange, Banana and Peach. We did the whole voting system, and although it was confusing, we got it in the end. Apple won, and he now is the new Prime minister of Australia. The next thing we did in parliament house was to be given a tour in the museum of Democracy. We all had to put on white gloves, so that nothing inside old parliament house would get worn out, like a statue. They said that if we didn’t put on gloves, some relics might be changed from their original shape or colour. We went on another activity station tour, and we had to answer questions about Australian democracy, and how it was founded. There was lots of interesting stuff to learn there, but, like the other stations, we didn’t get to finish them all. After that, we went on a tour of old parliament house, were we saw all of the old politicians. The tour guide said that this parliament house was built on a low budget. I didn’t think so! The place was massive, and there were a lot of elaborate patterns around it. We went inside the House of Representatives, and we saw the colour was green, continuing the tradition from the English parliament house, but Australia had changed the colours to match Australian green, like Eucalyptus leaves. This trip was interesting, and we had already started to learn lots in Canberra.
The second place we went to that day was the Australian war Memorial. We were lead in by Guides, and then we were told the rules and what was inside by yet another video. We went inside the museum, and we looked at all of the Exhibits to do with war. There were relics, vehicles, models, diaries, comics and everything that was to do with the war. There were lots and lots of exhibits, we ended up getting lost. Eventually we got a tour guide, who explained everything in there. My favourite thing was a detailed model of a battleship. We had been going around for a long time, and our legs were hurting. We just felt like sitting down, and when we did, I heard my knees crack. We went outside to view the famous wall with all of the names on it. These were names of all of the dead soldiers that had died in war, so if you survived, then you wouldn’t get your name there. There were lots of poppies placed in the walls by families that had come to honour their dead relatives. The last thing that we did there was to listen to the Memorial Ceremony, which was being broadcasted live. A speech was given, and the last post was played. The ceremony ended with flowers being placed near the flame that never goes out. After leaving the memorial with hurt legs, we went back to camp.
After having dinner, we got back onto the bus again and went up Black Mountain to Telstra Tower. We were told that we had to go up lots and lots of steps to get there, but we ended up going up an elevator, which was a huge relief. When we got to the top, we were all very excited. We had to get a partner, and move around with them so that we didn’t get left behind. There was a great view of Canberra from up there, and we could see almost everything. There were names of places on each window, and the window was pointing at that place. It was cool. After we got bored of being inside, we went up the stairs onto the outdoor viewing deck. There was an even better view, and we went all the way up to the edge of the barrier. The wind was really strong, and after a while, we weren’t sacred of the heights anymore. We went to bed that night remembering the awesome experience.
It was day four of Canberra, and I was almost as tired as my fingers when I’m typing this. The first thing we did was to go to the new Parliament house. Finally, we got to go there. The first thing that we did when we got there was to see our old principal that was not in politics, in the House of Representatives. We met her out the front and she explained what she did there in parliament house. Sometimes she is there for meeting, but in the other times she is in her district. After that, we did a role play of what it was like in parliament. We all got roles, and went through the process of making a decision in the House of Representatives. There was the government side, and the opposition team. It was very realistic, and in the end the government won. After that, we got a guided tour of parliament house. We saw the House of Representatives and Senate houses during a meeting. There was a lot of emotion and shouting. We saw the real mace in the House of Representatives. This was all very interesting, and we saw Bill Shorten, the MP for our area, Maribyrnong. We left there after a lot of talking, and then we were on the bus to CSIRO.
There were a lot of things that I didn’t know about Australian inventions, like how CSIRO invented Aero Guard, and how Australia actually invented Wi-Fi. There were lots of cool activities there, and we had a look at everything. There were things like remote mining machines, and things to do with cleaning water. We got to watch a movie about the new inventions that CSIRO were working on and had invented, like something that maps the area and turns it into a 3-D map, and other useful inventions. There was lots of interesting stuff in the CSIRO that we could try out, and it seemed to go really quickly, like the paragraph I’ve written on it.
The next and last activity that we did in Canberra was to go to the AIS, or the Australian Institute of Sport. Firstly, we were given a tour of the place, where we saw all of the facilities, and we saw some elite players playing sport, and even the Australian Netball Team, the Diamonds. It was exciting. It was very professional, and only the very good sport players got to go there to train. All of the equipment was very expensive, and the pool cost millions and millions of dollars and was very high-tech. Not the one we swam in, though. After that, we went to Sportex, a place where we could try out sports, sort of like the sports part of Scienceworks. This was fun, and we all enjoyed ourselves and monitored in in a book. The next thing was a surprise, because they said that we could go and try out sports, which was new. We didn’t think that that was happening. It was fun, though. We got to try Hockey (which I play) Soccer and Dodgeball. We were all sweaty and tired after that, when we hopped on the bus to go back.
After all of that, we needed a way to relax, so the teachers suggested that we watch a movie. It was a great idea, and even though a few of us had seen the movie, it was a good one and we all enjoyed it. We went to bed that night very quickly, and we slept until we had to be woken up. We managed to shove our sleeping bags into their cases (with some trouble), and soon we were on the bus and ready to go. After a looooong trip, we finally reached the start and end of our journey, Moonee Ponds Primary School. We greeted our parents, collected our bags and went home. It was such a relief to be back. Hooray!