The Year 9 Farm Camp – Duke of Edinburgh Exploration Camp

Our camp at Dungog was truly one of exploration. Whether we were crossing streams or climbing mountains we managed to get to know and understand not just the wonderful town of Dungog, but also ourselves.

Day 1

It didn’t really seem that our arrival was actually noticed in the small country town of Dungog, but of course we didn’t really expect anything anyway. As we were driving up the dirt road, we encountered
our first problem: the minibus (carrying 15 sizeable persons) and carrying the trailer weighing approximately 500 kgs, broke down in typical Nairana fashion (well, bogged). In the pouring rain we each had to “push” our the bus and trailer up the abnormally steep dirt road. Special mention must go to Joseph ‘work machine’ Edwards who besides contributing the most to this scrum also managed to end up head to toe in mud that was churned up from the tires.

We eventually made it, and upon arrival we each thanked our host, Oli ‘Horse-Whisperer O’Sullivan, for his kind hospitality. As we unloaded and stared at our extremely well organized and exquisitely decorated timetable, we realized that this camp did really have the potential to be a truly memorable experience.

In the evening after some beautifully concocted hamburgers an fries the counsellors (Tim and Oli) decided that this camp should be an opportunity for us explore the film industry, and to do this they tried to prove wrong our hypothesis that ‘every movie that wasn’t made in our lifetime was … um… crap’. They did this by making us watch a B&W horror movie entitled “The Village Of The Damned” which, in our opinion, only strengthened our hypothesis.

The final part problem of the night to overcome was the decision of who should sleep in the caravan. Jean ‘the chatterbox’ Claude Perrottet and Pierre ‘I’m actually more annoying than Jean Claude’ Okosdinosian drew the short straws and so they went to sleep there for the night, but lasted little more than half an hour before coming back crying. I didn’t think the moive was that scarry!

Day 2

We went outside after breakfast to feed Oli’s majestic stallions, and after almost being urinated on and kicked in the face by the horses, we nominated three boys to ride first. First up was Reuben ‘house expert’ Shearer who confessed to the fact that last time he rode a horse he fell off and broke his thumb. Tim ‘whip-master’ Russell and Jean-Claude joined Reuben and seemed to be flawless in getting on their horse as they rode down to the paddock. They started to ride at a small and gentle walk and soon they got into the pace of a speed-walk, then Claude’s horse tried to get into a gallop but he was quick to restrain it. Tim’ s horse seemed to be more powerful and took more force to restrain, however it eventually won out and burst into a fast paced gallop. Reuben’s horse decided it would follow suit but he couldn’t hold on and Reuben gracefully fell off, luckily only knocking the wind out of him.

After double checking that Reuben was okay we then subbed in Joseph for Tim and Dylan ‘man from snowy river’ Bestwick for Reuben. The horse had a disliking for Dylan also and as it galloped across the paddock it shook him off. Unfortunately Dylan was not as lucky as Reuben because as the horse ran off it flicked his face and leg. As we ran to his aide we saw Dylan was alive but with a bleeding lip and sore leg. We drove him to the local Dungog hospital and from there he was taken to Newcastle for a few x-rays. After well and truly checking him out he was discharged later that day but went home to rest. A brave young man!

Back at the camp we spent the afternoon on a creekwalk: jumping through rocks and mud and bashing our way through lantana. We wanted to make it to a waterfall but with the sun going down we had to turn back. When we eventually made it home we slept very soundly after another scrumptious dinner.

Day 3
Yesterday afternoon Fr Felix joined us and so on Day 3 we woke to ‘one of the best Masses of our lives’ in the beautiful scenic valley we were staying After breakfast, we then drove around for a bit then came to a dazzling mountain and decided to climb it. Though it was tough we bore through and bushbashed our way to the top and looked upon an amazing view one in which we saw Hugh Weaving’s house. Xavier ‘I wear my pants for a hat’ Poon and Chris ‘mr nice guy’ Healey lead the way for us and had energy to spare at the end.

Afterward’s we headed to a river to eat some food for lunch and to go fishing and swimming. Antonio ‘the fisherman’ Harb, despite his best efforts could catch us a fish. That evening, led by Pat ‘Napoleon’ O’Shea we collected wood for a bonfire, by which we prayed the rosary.

Day 4
Our last day… We cleaned up and played a bit of pool. No one came close to beating the supremely skilled David ‘the pool shark’ Rossi so we decided to start preparing ourselves for the trip home… Along the way Jorge ‘quad-bike master’ Del Cano managed to get the quad bike stuck and Harry ‘the bushman’ Dineen somehow broke the whip.

Considering everything that had happened we believe that in this camp we had pushed ourselves to new limits and delved deeper into our lives, these memories… Are memories that we will keep forever, so on behalf of all the boys that attended I’d like to say thanks to our counsellors, Tim… Oli…thanks for the memories.

Paul Fam

There are some photos here (you need to be a fan of Nairana Study Centre on facebook to see the photos)