Education & Training & Schools

Touchdown in Penrith

Condobolin students travelled to Sydney last Friday to meet the Penrith Panthers NRL team.

Twenty Condobolin students had the chance to travel to Sydney and meet their Rugby League heroes last week as part of the Touchdown in Penrith Condobolin Youth Centre Program.

The students were selected based on their recent behaviour and attendance record at the Condobolin Youth Centre’s meetings.

Youth Activity Officer, Christine Brandy, said the excursion was part of a mentoring partnership with the Penrith Panthers NRL team.

“The children will meet with the team before the game on Saturday and have a chat with the players,” she said.

“While in Sydney, the students will also get a chance to go ice skating, play basketball and take part in a visual arts workshop.

“The kids are all really pumped up and excited for the trip.”

Christine said the students’ behaviour had become noticeably better since the introduction of the program.

“It’s given the kids an incentive to behave,” she said.

“The program has been running for a few years now and we’ve noticed a dramatic improvement in the students over that time.

“We run the classes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons and do things like scrap booking, cooking and different types of sport.

“It’s about getting them off the street.”

Student Kurrin Brandy said he couldn’t wait to meet the Panthers.

“I’m really excited, I like league and I like watching the Panthers play.”


Condo students selected for NAISDA

CHS students Dylan Brandy, Shannon King and  Shirley King  with  dance teacher Jo Clancy.By Dominic Geiger

Three Condobolin High School students have been selected for a week long NAISDA dance scholarship at the Redfern National Centre for Indigenous Excellence.

Students Dylan Brandy, Shannon King and Shirley King were selected out of workshops leading up to ‘Marramarra’, a separate dance event which will take place in Bathurst on July 12.

The students will now travel to Sydney in August to participate in the project.

Dylan said he was surprised when he was selected.

“We all had to dance and the best dancers would get picked,” he said.

“I must have just been lucky.”

While taking part in the scholarship, the Condobolin students will be able to experience what life as a professional dancer might be like.

“When we’re at NAISDA, we’ll get to watch and meet the dancers of Bangarra Dance Theatre,” Dylan said.

“It’ll be good; I’m really excited about it.”


WRAS visits St Joseph’s

WRAS visited St Josephs in Condobolin last week.By Dominic Geiger

St Joseph’s Condobolin students have been improving their gross motor skills recently thanks to a visit from the Bathurst based Western Region Academy of Sport (WRAS).

Gross motor skills include activities such as jumping and running and can play a major role in a child’s physical development.

A lack of proper gross motor skills development can lead to disadvantages in a child’s classroom learning ability.

Brett Coxsedge, Sports Development Manager at WRAS, said it was important to teach young students gross motor skills because many schools in the region don’t have specialist P.E teachers.

“The program is called Sports Play: Just Do It Right, and is focussed on primary school students,” he said.

“We teach the fundamentals of basic movement, for example, how to run, jump, throw and catch properly.

“We’re also here to show P.E teachers the best way to teach these skills.

“The idea is to get kids out of their seats, running around and having some fun.”

Brett said the Condobolin students had been wonderful to work with.

“We came out last year to the Public School and the kids here are very responsive, well behaved and they seem to really enjoy themselves,” he said.


Condo music students learn from music legends

Condobolin High School music students with teacher Cathy Saxby and country music star Katrina Burgoyne.By Dominic Geiger

Year eleven Condobolin High School music students recently had the chance to gain a valuable insight into the world of the music industry at the ‘Talent Development Project’ (TDP) in Coonabarabran.

The project is part of a series of workshops held in regional areas designed to give country students the chance to learn from a variety of skilled music professionals.

While in Coonabarabran, the students met with world renowned Australian country singer Katrina Burgoyne.

Katrina has had two top ten singles on the country music channel and her debut album has recently ranked ninth in the ARIA charts.

Condobolin High music teacher, Cathy Saxby, said Katrina provided the students with valuable tips on how to be a successful singer/songwriter and how to follow their dreams.

“Talent consultant and CEO of the TDP, Mary Lopez, who has run major events such as school spectacular, was also there to give her words of wisdom,” she said.

“Mary took a shining to (student) Jackson Anderson who she believes with some singing lessons and professional development could be a successful rockstar in years to come.”

The TDP has already seen many of its protégés go on to achieve success in the world of music, with the popular television show ‘Australia’s Got Talent’ recently featuring former TDP participant Jack Vidgen.


Stall raises awareness

Irina, Ben and Reane Matihas, Allyson King, Talitha Gardner, Heather Blackley, Trevor Gilbert and Wendy Devine.

A drug and alcohol information stall was set up in Condobolin’s main street last Friday as part of Community Drug Action Week.

The community initiative, which is supported by NSW Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia, featured various information booklets regarding illicit drug and alcohol use.

Western Plains Regional Development Project Coordinator, Heather Blackley, said there had been a good reaction to the stall from the community.

“The aim of this project is to raise awareness about the harmful effects drugs can have in people’s lives,” she said.

“Unfortunately, I think Condobolin has a bigger problem with drugs than other similarly sized communities.

“People are influenced by others while they are young and as they grow up they become bored and continue to use illicit drugs and alcohol.”

Heather said the principal focus of the  Condobolin anti drugs program was to stop  secondary or ‘middleman’ supply to users.

Young dancers get their groove on

Young Aboriginal dancers from Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo at a recent workshop in Condobolin preparing to travel to Bathurst to perform at "Marramarra" which will be held on Tuesday July 12. DG

By Dominic Geiger

Young Aboriginal dancers from Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo will soon be travelling to Bathurst to perform at a major Aboriginal Arts event.

The event, known as ‘Marramarra’, will be held on Tuesday July 12 at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre and will also feature school aged dancers from Cowra, the Blue Mountains, Wellington and Bathurst.

Contemporary Aboriginal choreographer and dancer, Jo Clancy, said she has been travelling to various schools in the Central West over the past few months, helping students prepare for the big event.

“[The workshops] are about developing dances for young people to keep and perform themselves, but it’s also about the exciting thing of going to Bathurst and having a professional experience under lights with costumes,” she said.

“It’s also a great opportunity for the [various] communities to come together.”

Jo said the project was interesting for Condobolin because the town already has a small boy’s dance group.

“Those dancers are now able to experience contemporary movement,” she said.

“Four Condobolin girls also have the chance to learn some of the dances and potentially join up with the boys.”

Jo also said two Condobolin students in years nine to twelve would be offered the chance to go to a dance camp at the Redfern National Centre for Indigenous Excellence run by NAISDA Dance College in August.


Aboriginal education meeting

Education representatives and members of the Condobolin Aboriginal communityBy Dominic Geiger

Education representatives and members of the Condobolin Aboriginal community met last Thursday to discuss the possibility of forming an Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) in Condobolin.

AECGs act as a local voice for Aboriginal communities in matters of education pertinent to Aboriginal people from preschool to tertiary studies.

Joy Russel, Vice President of Western One AECG, said the aim of the committee was to lobby the government for changes in Aboriginal education as well as to liaise between schools and Aboriginal communities.

“The meeting was about gauging the Condobolin community’s interest in forming an AECG,” she said.

“If, for example, Condobolin Public School wanted to [create] a program for Aboriginal students, the school could go to the committee to help with the direction of the program.

“AECGs also sign off on all Aboriginal education funding in their respective towns.”

Other towns within Western One AECG include Parkes, Forbes, Cowra and Narromine.

Condobolin Public School principal, Deborah Nay, said the meeting had been extremely positive.

“Everyone present was very interested in forming an AECG in Condobolin,” she said.

“The next step is contacting parents to ascertain their interest level.

“To begin with, we will be surveying Public and High School parents and if it’s successful we will then be approaching [other educational facilities in Condobolin].”

Condobolin P S Netball team

Condobolin Public School Netball teamOn Thursday 19th May, the Condobolin  Public School netball team travelled to Lake Cargelligo to compete in the first round of the NSW PSSA Netball Knockout competition. Condobolin won this game 23-13.

Rounds 2, 3 and 4 were played  in Dubbo on Thursday 9th of June. The first game was against Tottenham with Condobolin winning 51-2. Condobolin then won the next 2 rounds; against Middleton 29-6 and the very close Round 4 against Cowra 18-16.

Back to Dubbo on Thursday 16th June to compete in round 5 vs Forbes (Condobolin went down by 1 goal)and round 6. All nine girls played well and represented their school with pride.Congratulations go to Casey Wheeler who was selected in the Western region team to compete at the NSW carnival in Newcastle next term. They made it to the top 16 teams in NSW.


Condobolin High School Reunion

Condobolin High School year ten class of 1977 at the Railway Hotel last Saturday night. Contributed

Condobolin High School’s year ten class of 1977 held a 34 year reunion at the Railway Hotel last Saturday night.
65 people including guests’ partners attended the evening, which included dinner, speeches and photos from school.
The guests also had brunch at Happy Daze Coffee Lounge on Sunday morning.
School reunion committee member, Gai Brigden, said all the guests got on really well with each other.
“It was a real buzz,” she said.
“A lot of people hadn’t seen each other since year 12.
“There were a lot of people travelling for the first time to a reunion for our year.”
Gai said it had been relatively easy to track people down and invite them to the reunion.
“With e-mail and facebook it wasn’t difficult to find people,” she said. Contributed

Condobolin High students honour much loved teacher

Condobolin High School students released hundreds of helium filled balloons to honour the memory of one of their favourite teachers, Miriam Helby.

By Dominic Geiger

Condobolin High School students released hundreds of helium filled balloons last Tuesday lunchtime to honour the memory of one of their favourite teachers.
Miriam Helby, who had taught at Condobolin High School since November 2005, sadly passed away last month after a long fight with cancer.
Balloons were sold to students and teachers in exchange for a donation to the Can Assist Cancer Assistance Network.
Miriam’s daughter, Rebecca Rawsthorne, said she was incredibly grateful to the students of Condobolin High for their support.
“It means a lot to come to the place that was most important to mum and to help Can Assist,” she said.
SRC Coordinator at Condobolin High, Gillian McMillan, said the tribute to Miriam was entirely the students’ idea.
“Mim was very colourful, happy and connected to the kids,” she said.
“A lot of the students couldn’t get to the funeral, so this is their way of saying goodbye.
“Miriam was very special; she really loved the kids.”
Gillian said the school community had organised themselves and managed to fulfil one of Miriam’s last wishes.
“It was Mim’s desire to get the mobile blood van to Condobolin, and this will be happening on Thursday July 7,” she said.
“We really want as many people as possible to call and donate so the van will continue to come to Condobolin.”
To make an appointment to give blood, call the Australian Red Cross Blood Service on 13 14 95.

Who is the champ?

Students Abby Dargan, Scott Tanswell, Amy Thornton, Brayden Palmer and Reble Taylor with the ‘Who is the Champ?’ sporting competition trophy. DGBy Dominic Geiger

Year twelve Condobolin High School students are currently running a competition to discover the greatest athlete on campus as part of their sports, lifestyle and recreation assessment.
Known as ‘The Champ’, the competition involves a series of lunchtime sporting competitions held throughout the term.
High school teacher, Sarah Norton, said students scored points based on their performances over six different events.
“Whoever gets the most points at the end of the competition wins,” she said.
“Students must compete in all the events to stand a chance of winning.
“Boy’s and girl’s events are separated and the competition is open to all students from years nine to twelve.”
Sarah said she wanted to thank Condobolin Swiss Watch Centre for the trophy which has been donated for the competition.
At the time this story went to print there were two students tied for first place: Mel Taylor and Zack Yeomans.

Condo primary schools compete at CWA Public Speaking Competition

St Joseph’s students; front: Georgie McMillan and Lucy Kirk; back: Madeline Sinderberry and Bianca Smith. ContributedEight students from St Joseph’s Condobolin and Condobolin Public School recently travelled to Forbes to compete in the annual CWA Public Speaking Competition.
Destiny Nagle, Felicity Baxter, Eliza Packham and Kirby Snape represented the Public School, while Madeline Sinderberry, Bianca Smith, Lucy Kirk and Georgie McMillan represented St Joseph’s.
Topics presented included ‘It’s Magic’, ‘The Adventures of a Dollar’, ‘If I had Wings’ and ‘Morning’.
Both Madeline and Lucy achieved ‘Highly Commended’ results and will now go on to present new speeches at the final round of competition in Parkes on June 21.
Lucy will be presenting a speech on the topic ‘The Perfect Gift’ while Madeline will be presenting her interpretation of ‘What an Adventure’.
Lucy said she was incredibly excited about the upcoming event.
“I hope we go really well,” she said.

High school students try a trade in Condobolin

Hannah Bremner and Tegan Keen try their hand at hairdressing. ContributedBy Dominic Geiger

High school students from Condobolin, Trundle and Tullamore had the opportunity to experience what their professional lives might be like last week at Condobolin High School’s ‘Try a Trade’ careers day.
Students from years nine, ten, eleven and twelve were able to learn about a range of trades including nursing/aged care, metals, hospitality, painting and construction, among many others.
Careers advisor at Condobolin High School, Tim Lukins, said the students responded well to the various trades exhibited.
“It’s all new to them,” he said.
“They got some ideas about [jobs] they think they might like to pursue.
“It was compulsory for the Condobolin year ten students and interested year eleven and twelve students were invited.”
A number of local businesses helped support the event including Bryan Deeves, Kimberley Metals, Bruce Hetherington, Condobolin Preschool, Lachlan Shire and the Condobolin Retirement village.

Centroc meets in Condobolin

By Dominic Geiger

Central NSW Councils (Centroc) held a planning session meeting at the Lachlan Shire Council Chambers in Condobolin last Thursday.
Centroc is an organisation designed to provide greater lobbying power for the individual councils within the Central West region of NSW.
Chair of Centroc, Phyllis Miller, said the aim of the meeting was to discuss where the organisation was at as far as setting priorities for the coming year.
Topics which took prominence at the meeting included local tourism, health and water security.
“The Mayor of Lachlan Shire, Des Manwaring, was concerned about the lack of ‘in river’ water storage in times of drought,” Councillor Miller said.
“The Condobolin west weir project was discussed and we will be trying to assist Councillor Manwaring in achieving (the project).”
Councillor Miller said Centroc had discussed Tourism NSW’s decision to amalgamate the regions of Central West, New England and part of Western NSW into one singular tourist region, called ‘Country NSW’.
“Centroc is not of the view there will be benefits from this,” she said.
“We were also concerned about the rushed timelines (associated with the decision).”
Councillor Miller also said Centroc was concerned about the recently establish Western NSW Medicare Local.
“The area is far too big, so Centroc has made representation to have that area brought down by a bit,” she said.
“The local has been taken out by the enormity of the region’s size.
“Greater Western Area Health couldn’t work, so why would this work?”
Councillor Miller said the Mayor of the Weddin Shire, Maurice Simpson, had been particularly concerned about the lack of a doctor in Grenfell.
“He has said there is a real opportunity for a doctor (in the town),” she said.
“Centroc will aide him to find a doctor in any way we can.”

CSU confirms commitment to producing rural doctors

By Dominic Geiger

Professor Nick Klomp, Dean at the Faculty of Science at Charles Sturt University (CSU), has reconfirmed his university’s commitment to increasing the number of doctors in regional NSW in a presentation at the recent Central NSW Council’s (Centroc) meeting in Condobolin.
The presentation follows the unsuccessful submission of a funding proposal to the Federal Government to establish a new medical and health school for rural Australians at CSU’s Orange campus.
Professor Klomp said according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, more than 4,500 rural Australians die unnecessarily every year simply because they were unable to access suitable medical assistance.
“That is more than three times the national road toll,” he said.
“National and international research proves that a doctor is four times more likely to work in a rural area if they were originally from a rural area, and study medicine in a rural area.
Professor Klomp said establishing a medical school for doctors would have a tremendous impact on the doctor shortage in Central West NSW.
“More than 70% of Charles Sturt University’s on-campus health students come from rural and regional Australia and more than 80% of these students in 2010 went on to work in rural and regional Australia,” he said.
“The sooner we start producing medical graduates the sooner we will start seeing doctors in the bush.
“Everyone who studies medicine currently has to spend years in the city.
“We had so many calls from (various organisations) in regional and rural NSW when we proposed the new medical and health school last year.
“Though we haven’t got it yet, we are unwavering in our desire to continue.”

Harold helps educate kids on health

Students at St Joseph’s Primary School got the chance to meet Harold the Giraffe last week and learn about healthy living.

By Dominic Geiger

The Life Education Van made a stop in Condobolin last week, with students at St Joseph’s Primary School getting the chance to meet the organisation’s mascot, Harold the Giraffe, and learn about healthy living.
Life Education is a charity aimed at school aged children which aims to develop social skills and increase knowledge in relation to healthy habits including nutrition and “refusal in drug-related situations.”
Trainer with Life Education, Lucy Nowlan, said different programs were used for different age groups.
“For the kindergarten to year three kids, we focus on healthy lifestyle, food nutrition, exercise and safety with medication,” she said.
“For years four to six, we’ll be looking at drugs in general including medicines, cigarettes and alcohol and how they affect the body in general.
“The other part of the primary school program focuses on assertiveness skills, which includes dealing with bullies, standing up to and refusing to do things you’re not comfortable with.”
Despite being a new experience for many of the children at St Joseph’s, many of the now mature residents of the Lachlan Shire have fond memories of Harold the Giraffe visiting them during their early schooling years.
Begun in 1979, when the Reverend Ted Noffs began an anti-drugs campaign in Sydney’s Kings Cross, the Life Education concept quickly spread to the western regions of New South Wales.
Unlike today however, the van wasn’t driven from place to place throughout the state with a professional team calling the shots.
Former member of charity group Apex, Wayne Denyer, said he could recall days when he and fellow Apexians would pick up the Life Education van from one town in the Lachlan Shire and tow it for hundreds of kilometres to the neighbouring town.
“Apex put in a fair bit of transport work to get it going,” he said.
“The people who really got involved in it were Brian Nelson, Andy Leo, Doug Ridley and a few others who all had appropriate licenses because you needed something big to tow such a heavy van.”
Wayne said the aim of the project had always been to educate kids about the dangers of alcohol and drugs.
“One of us would go and pick it up from (for example) Lake Cargelligo, bring it to Condobolin, and then another Apex person would pick it up and take it to another town,” he said.
“The service clubs put a lot of pressure on to have Condobolin included on the Life Education Van circuit.”

Zoomobile comes to Condobolin

Rod Cheal providing an up close and personal experience with a very friendly echidna for the children of St Josephs, Condobolin.A number of Condobolin children had the opportunity to learn about and experience some of Australia’s native wildlife last week with the Taronga Zoomobile making visits to Condobolin Preschool and St Joseph’s School.
The Zoomobile, which works in partnership with the NSW Department of Education and Training, is designed to give children who can’t normally access a zoo a chance to learn about Australian native animals.
Education Advisor from Taronga Zoo Education Centre, Rod Cheal, said the Zoomobile’s visit to Condobolin featured a show called ‘Animals of the Dreaming’.
“Col Hardy, who’s a Golden Guitar recipient, helped present the show which told stories about animals, the dreaming and some of Col’s own personal stories,” he said.
“The show focused on giving the kids a chance to view animals with conservation eyes.
“It allowed them to think about the conservation of an animal rather than seeing it as a threat like, for example, a brown snake at home.”
Rod said the students absolutely loved getting the chance to see an echidna up close.
“It was a real friendly echidna and the children were able to pat it, which is something they probably wouldn’t usually be able to do,” he said.
Preschool director Melissa Nesbitt said all the children were involved and found the show fascinating; especially the chance to be able to touch the animals.

Harvard educated piano teacher open for business in Condobolin

Former Harvard University tutor, Andrew Robbie.By Dominic Geiger

Former Harvard University tutor and Condobolin resident, Andrew Robbie, has announced he will begin offering private piano and music theory lessons at the Condobolin Community Centre to interested local students.
Andrew, who is currently completing his PhD in music theory with a specialisation in music video editing, said the music lessons had been organised as an “outpost” initiative for the Bathurst based Mitchell Conservatorium.
“Anyone interested can contact me to talk about taking music lessons or ask questions and then call the conservatorium to discuss costs and scheduling,” he said.
“I really encourage parents in particular to have a good chat before their child starts lessons; it helps me to tailor lessons to each family.”
Despite focussing on school age children, Andrew said he was more than happy to tutor mature aged students.
“I’m also comfortable teaching both serious students as well as kids who just want to have fun,” he said.
In addition to three years spent tutoring at the prestigious Harvard University in the USA, Andrew taught piano and theory at a music school in Western Sydney during his undergraduate years at the University of Sydney.
Andrew is also an experienced chamber musician and accompanist, holds three associate diplomas from the AMEB and a licentiate from Trinity College.
Andrew said he moved to Condobolin at the end of last year because his wife got a job as a teacher at a local school.
“My main job is looking after my two sons, who are one and two years old,” he said.
“After we moved here the Mitchell Conservatorium contacted me and as a result I’ve decided to start teaching lessons.”
People interested in piano or music theory lessons from Andrew can contact him via e-mail at, on 68953954 or can contact the Forbes branch of the Mitchell Conservatorium on (02) 6852 3766.

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