MALLANA - YEAR
(November, 1994, to introduce
Junior School Speech Night finale)
To watch Year Six students return
from Camp Mallana on warmish November evenings, each year, is one of my
Junior School delights.
Here are 'Storm Boys' from the Coorong,
'Karanas' from the Island of the Blue Dolphins.
Young, weather-beaten Australians
in our latter-day multi-cultural Australia: they step from the bus
as the evening sun shafts across a verdant Williams Oval --
hair sometimes plaited; skin somehow dusky from the wind and the
sun, and the water's spray; clutching strings of shells --
and hunting spears, and boomerangs.
How glad I am that Bryan Kenneally,
in the mid-80's, persuaded us, so well, to lease that magical plot on the
tip of the Banksia Peninsula in South-East Gippsland -- and
that Hayne Meredith and Sue Sturman laid down the blueprint for what, now,
is a wonderfully exciting adventure for our innately romantic eleven year-olds
as they journey to the coast -- to the scrub, and the lake,
to the dunes, and the ninety-mile beach.
And, to engage the culture of the
Koories -- "They who loved this country first" -- as we sang
in the Hymn, earlier.
"Will our dream be blest or cursed?"
the Hymn asked.
Our vision for Australia?
Wealth and freedom, faith and friendship.
Shared gifts. Possessed by love, the Hymn says.
I think our dream will be blest.
My overriding experience is, that
we do have marvellous young people, people who will join all of us to bring
continued new life, and uplifting hope, to our land Australia.
Students, teachers and families,
from Camp Mallana, Paul Wright and Rob Bundle.