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Golden Memories: Student experiences of Ballarat

Term 3 2023

Year 5 had a fantastic three days in Echuca, Ballarat and Bendigo at the end of Term 3 to bring their learning on the Australian gold rush to life! Please enjoy some 5S students’ recounts of their favourite excursion experiences! Our thanks to our parent volunteers Mrs Wood and Mr Touzel for accompanying us on this experience of a lifetime!


By Greta Tait

The bitter wind whipped my hair into my goose-bump covered face. I spat it out and dug my soggy feet back into the banks of the icy-cold creek. Grumbling, I shrugged my warm puffer jacket up to protect my face.


The creek water danced to the rhythm of the gentle raindrops, while I dipped my pan back into the creek, scooped up more pebbles with the murky water, and reluctantly started swishing around the contents once more.


“I found a speck!”

I looked around. Everyone else seemed to

have found some. My stomach grumbled, mumbling unhappily, demanding to be fed. More water splashed onto my feet, numbing and freezing them. My legs were sore from crouching in the same uncomfortable position. I stood up, stretched, then got back to the tiring work. Minutes later, I was still panning. I emptied more and more rocks out of my pan. The mud sat like the dregs at the bottom of a teacup. I tipped my pan to the side. Suddenly, something caught my eye. Something shiny. And golden. I stood up.

“I found some!”

A woman looked over my shoulder into my pan.

“You have! There it is!”

I beamed at my speck. My very own gold.

Gold Fever

By Millie Wood

EUREKA! We found gold, real gold! Tiny specks of gold, waiting to be taken. My smile was as big as a cave opening. Mr Touzel was the king of gold panning! Meanwhile, we were like citizens learning his ways of gold panning. Sadly, we didn’t have anything to place the gold in, so we had to put it on our shirts or leave it in the pan or place it back in water, it was very hard to let go of the gold. Sadly, we all caught a fever. It was called…GOLD FEVER! It can start when someone finds gold and soon it spreads. There is no cure for it, It’s a curse for life.

The second time we came down to pan, Mr Touzel found some little tubes and we placed our gold in them. Soon when we started to pan. All hope seemed lost; most of the gold was mostly taken. I only found a few specks of gold. We may not have found much gold, but at least we still had fun. A lot of us kept our bags close when we placed the tubes in, we didn’t want someone to steal our gold!

Just before leaving, we went back for gold panning. Everyone was packing up. They allowed us to pan on one condition: we packed up. Soon another crowd arrived. It was the other half of the class and they said they could join us! After a while of having fun with gold panning, it started to pour. Rain came down like bubbles from a bubble machine that had stopped the excitement. We had to leave. We packed everything up, leaving the precious gold behind.

In conclusion, this was the best first school field trip I’ve ever had, probably because it’s my first, but who’s to judge! It was the best as I had all my friends there. I have no regrets for going or getting gold fever, but hopefully it never comes back. I hope to do it again with my family and my friends in the future!

Amazed already

By Thabo Kuneso

Amazed already,

Life, now more cherished

Screens attain motion

Honestly, I’m pretty sure everyone thought that the dirt roads and the unmodern houses of Sovereign Hill could never, would never have anything as high-tech as this! So many “Ooh’s” and “Ahh”s uttered from mouths and the occasional “Nah man! You be capping!” was heard. We were in the third theatre of the evening, awaiting the next instalment of the Light and Sound show at Sovereign Hill. The screens that were in front of us were no longer stationary, like a wall, but were now parting like breaking waves. It was mesmerizing as the moving screens travelled away from each other. As that happened, our warmth melted away, replaced by a sub-zero breeze, which flushed onto our now icy legs. Buildings, campsites, fire, real or fake, all came into view as the screens reeled back. On rails, tents from either side made their way to the middle and fluttered to life. The remainder of the Light and Sound show brought no disappointments. The thrilling show bombarded us with burning houses, detailed explanations, uprooting structures and featuring fighting! You could tell that the creators knew their stuff by the way everyone was engaged; even the most talkative people became suddenly quiet, like an animal stalking prey. But most unfortunately, the worst thing occurred. It ended!

Gold pour

By Aditya Sharma

Gold, gold, gold! That’s right! Me and my awesome Year 5 friends experienced a gold pour!

We started off by greeting our guide and he told us about gold. And he told us that gold’s melting point is about 1036 degrees Celsius. After melting the gold, he put some gloves on, and held a pair of funny-looking tweezers. Judging by the look on his face, he was getting ready to pick up the pot that had the gold in it. With the funny-looking oversized tweezers, he poured the liquid gold all into a mould.

The mould shaped the gold into a bar. Our guide told us that boiling the gold for too long will make it pink! After letting the gold lock into its final shape, (which only took one minute!), he told us that the boiling liquid gold can cut easily through a human hand like how we can rip paper!

After that, he told us that the gold would take around 3-4 hours to cool down, but that just got us as curious as a cat can be! Picking up the gold box as excitedly as a miner who had found gold, he dipped the box in the water. It immediately released steam two times as hotter and louder and exciting than our average kettle. The steam hissed like a threatened snake. SSSSS! While the steam was clearing away, our guide told us that the gold we see before our very eyes is worth around 300K Australian dollars. Finally, after the water had done its job, our guide touched the gold! Screaming filled the room! As it echoed, everyone was left dumbfounded. Through all the screaming, we heard…laughter? It turns out that he was having fun on us, and he was only joking. Phew! We started cheering, clapping, and laughing. “Awesome!” “Best 45 minutes of my life!” “Too good to be true!”

I really enjoyed the experience; so super splendid and surprising indeed! My time at Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, Victoria was a blast. I highly recommend going here if you need a vacation!

Central Deborah Gold Mine

By Josiah Chapman

The bus pulled up to Central Deborah Gold Mine in Bendigo. I was jumping in excitement! Straight away, I got out of my seat, grabbed my day bag and pelted out of the bus. I couldn’t wait until I got back under the earth in another gold mine!

When our tour guide, Baz, came over into the room to pick up Group 1, we all lined up and waited for Baz to give us instructions. We went through an opening in a rock crevice. Baz told us to get a hard hat with a light, put it on and then come over to the entrance to the mine.

We all squished into an elevator and slowly travelled down. The rock walls that surrounded the lift were all covered in concrete that had been sprayed onto the rocks so that they wouldn’t fall and break the lift or hurt someone. Finally, after two minutes, the elevator stopped. We could all see the fascinating rocks that covered the mineshaft. We turned our lights on and started to wade though the mine. It was surprisingly muddy and warm. Soon we came across an old minecart which didn’t look at all like a Minecraft one!

After that, we kept on stalking through the jagged, thin walls. Baz showed us how they used to dig through the hard earth. With shovels! They could have used an old-fashioned digger, but they were too expensive to run in a gold mine. It looked like half car, half digger!

Finally, we came to the last stop in the gold mine. Baz showed us how the miners would put gelignite in the wall to blow it up instead of using dynamite. They used a drill! The drill looked a bit like a shotgun, though it was still dangerous because of all the dust it picked up. It had made many of the workers blind from the fine dust and deaf from the reverberating sound. After years and years, they realised that they had had to put water on the hole that they were drilling to stem the dust.

After the tour had finished, we had a bit of time gold panning, then got back on the highway to Wagga. This was definitely an experience of a lifetime!


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