After a year’s break to recharge batteries, once again the Sydney-Canberra excursion has taken place for 2014, and once again, as resounding success. This year 45 students and 5 teachers jetted off, first to Sydney to take in the sights of our oldest city and then bussed down Canberra to visit our National Capital.

Co-ordinator Martin Keen, with the able support of Garrath Stewart, Craig Barnett, Sarah Goyder and Heather Sharpe, had the great pleasure of supervising a wonderful group of Margaret River students through visits to the Sydney Opera House, PowerHouse Museum, Sydney Aquarium and Taronga Park Zoo and the highlight of the Sydney leg of the journey, the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb experience. This recent addition to the program achieved new heights (pun intended laugh when ready) this year with all 45 students and the 5 teachers, opting to challenge themselves to this experience. All survived and have the memento hat and pictures to prove it.

Once in Canberra the students experienced visits to both Parliamentary Houses and enjoyed a surprise visit from local member Nola Merino who took us all down into the bowels of parliament house to visit her office as Party Whip, a rare privilege. Other great venues included the Australian War Memorial, the High Court of Australia and National Archives as well as the lighter visits to Cockington Green miniature village and the social highlight of the trip, ice skating, not a common experience for Margaret River students, but all got on the ice and had a ball.

Our students once again excelled themselves in displaying an exceptional level of maturity and responsibility with many of the venues visited praising them as the best student group they had seen. A first that should be mentioned is that many of the boys this year actually went to the trouble of bringing dress shirts and ties with them (a full suit in one case) for the formal visits of the excursion. Thus giving the girls a good run for their money in the fashion stakes for a change. So unusual was this effort that the guides at both Houses of Parliament felt moved to comment that our kids were, by far, the best looking school group they had ever seen.

From the teachers perspective special recognition goes to all the students who attended; their behaviour was exceptional this year making the trip a genuine pleasure for the teachers and reaffirming our belief that the students of Margaret River SHS really are a fine group of young adults.

Thanks from Martin Keen and Margaret River SHS go to the students and supervising teachers who attended; the many venues visited and the Federal Government for providing PACER funding of $260 per student thereby keeping the cost of this invaluable experience down for all participants.

Martin Keen; Sydney-Canberra Excursion Co-ordinator 2014