Winter in Clunes
Posted 29 June 2011
Winter has certainly arrived in Clunes. Like most of Victoria, the cold weather hit quickly and there have been many frosty mornings and cold bone-chilling winds. As I write, snow is forecast on Mt Beckworth!
Over the past 12 months there have been highlights and celebrations, but also challenging times for the community of Clunes. Our community was impacted by floods in September 2010 and again in January this year. It was a difficult time and many Clunes residents are still trying to get their lives back together.
The community of Clunes is central to everything we do here and our students feel and share the “ups and downs”. The town is an exceptional example of a community that works well and students are very fortunate to have the opportunity to live here for eight weeks, be part of the town and live and work alongside some wonderful role models within the community.
The fifth Back to Booktown event held in May, was a huge success and is a truly magnificent example of a community at work. Around 15,000 people visit Clunes for the event, which is solely organised and run by volunteers. During Booktown, our students volunteered for a variety of jobs including handing out programs, helping community groups run food stalls, working in the children’s Booktown area and supporting set up and pack up. Group 46 did a wonderful job and their hard work was very much appreciated and valued by the community.
We were visited by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the eve of Booktown, when she announced flood recovery funding for Victoria. Her visit was a surprise to most of the town, including some Group 46 students who were setting up for Booktown in the main street, when she arrived. The following excerpt from the Ballarat Courier describes the scene:
… perhaps the prime minister’s visit was best summed up by a Wesley student. In my experience, teenage boys are not noted for enthusiasm for much outside their own narrow worlds.
But peering in through the windows of Widow Twankey’s Confectionary Emporium, this school boy exclaimed: “It’s true. Oh my God.”
He turned to his mate: “The Prime Minister is in Clunes. How cool is that.”
On Sunday of Booktown, our students had the opportunity to hear a former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, speak and at the newly-renovated Bluestone Church, Gordon Atkinson (OW1946) gave a beautiful organ recital to an appreciative audience. The Elsternwick Big Band also performed in the band rotunda to an enthusiastic crowd. Overall, it was a very busy and enjoyable weekend.
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