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The majestic Flinders Ranges

By Fiona Partridge News 10/09/2020

Year 11 Flinders Ranges Camp 2020

The majestic ranges start to become clearer, rising high above the horizon as our bus travels towards its destination, nestled below the Rawnsley Bluff on the edge of Wilpena Pound. The colours become deeper and richer; glistening shades of reds, golds, orange, and purples as we edge closer and turn off the main road, now stopping to take in the looming rock and layers earth just a few hundred metres away.

The Year 11 students who will call this place home for a few days on camp in this part of the Flinders Ranges can be heard exchanging statements of wonder and awe at the beauty of the landscape before them…along with gasps…Wow! We are really going to hike up there??

We move on just a couple of kilometres further along the dusty road to our campsite and disembark. We ask the students to gather and we stop to Acknowledge the Country we stand on, sharing a little bit of language of the area, learning the name of the country for Aboriginal people. Nunga—Hello. Rawnsley Bluff— it is called Vuji Yandu by the Adnamathyna people, meaning ‘cloud carrier’. And so, another amazing Yr 11 Rawnsley camp begins!

For many students, this camp is a bit of a learning curve in being independent but also working and living together in community. Some students showed themselves to be confident campers and it was great to see them take the lead and help others who were less experienced. We watched and smelled some fantastic meals being served and devoured eagerly!

Each morning students rose early to walk up a steep hill next to the camp site to watch the sunrise over Rawnsley Bluff and share in devotions together. We expected God to reveal Himself to us all in new ways on camp. And God certainly did. For many students, the wonder and majesty of the Flinders was a new experience. We reminded students how all Creation cries out the Glory of God, and that He wants us to care for it, and enjoy it in community and staff shared their personal stories of God’s love for them.

A major part of the camp program is time spent with our Aboriginal guides, Iteka and her brother Tjimari Sanderson-Bromley. They led us on a cultural tour of Arkaroo Rock and Ikara (Wilpena Pound). In the evenings we listened to stories around the fire and had a lot of fun learning some traditional dance moves. We had moving conversations reflecting on how we can respond as a school community and help build a better future for all Australians. 

Another aim for the camp is for students to build both emotional and physical resilience. The camp acts as a bit of a ‘rite of passage’, leading a new stage in the students’ lives as they head into their final year of schooling and Year 12 studies. The hike up Rawnsley Bluff is a challenging 12km loop with breath-taking views. There are a few steep sections that require some technical climbing skills and a bit of physical (and mental) effort! Yet, the vista at the top makes the hard work all worth it and almost forgotten. We remind students after the climb that the year ahead may seem huge and overwhelming—yet step by step, and with a bit of guidance and encouragement from others, they can get to the end destination and enjoy their efforts. 

The Bridle-Gap into Wilpena Pound walk is challenging in other ways. It’s a slower climb. We stick together and wait for each other. It’s a much longer walk with a two-kilometre section of silent walking which is hard for some! Yet, again, the reward of finishing this long hike is great! All the students pushed through well and enjoyed a wonderful day. We didn’t hear any whinging or complaining at all.

Along with the amazing staff team who attended, a huge “thank you” goes to Heather and Jeff Hale, our bus driver for getting us safely there and back, and to Josh and Jordan, past scholars, for their Outdoor ed leadership.

Year 11 Rawnsley Flinders Ranges Camp Reflections

The Year 11 camp has for sure been a highlight of my whole schooling experience! As a year level we have become a whole lot closer and really opened up to one another which has allowed us to become one strong unit – this is really important for our final year of school next year. All together it is such a fun time to be with teachers and friends and enjoy the amazing wonders of nature!

Student

Year 11 camp was filled with memories, I will hopefully remember forever. It was such a good time connecting with people and strengthening new and old friendships. Being surrounded by beautiful creation, with incredible views caused me to reflect on the goodness of God. It was so good breaking down friendship barriers and getting to laugh and talk with people I usually don’t socialise with. Overall it was such a great camp and I loved almost every part of it.

Student

Camp was an amazing time where I got to reflect not only on myself but also on my relationship with others. I got closer to so many of my fellow classmates that I never really interacted with before. The views were so beautiful and overall, year eleven camp is something to look forward to.

Student

It was amazing to see our year level grow closer together and give so much heart-warming support for each other. The views were so beautiful and allowed us to reflect on how great God is!

Student

The Year 11 Camp was an amazing blessing! Being able to disconnect from the world for a few days enabled us to reconnect with each other and have real conversations while overcoming physical challenges. The ‘special person’ ceremony was a real highlight, filled with plenty of laughs, some really deep connections and a whole lot of creativity. What an awesome bunch of people to spend a week with!

Teacher
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