Bridges program  -  Year 9

Year 9 Bridges to Ararat

As part of the Year 9 Bridges to Country program, our class went to Ararat, 198 kilometres west of Melbourne. This trip helped broaden our understanding of food production. After meeting our pen pals at Marian College, we visited a piggery. It was a sow-stall-free piggery which means that the pigs are free to roam in the big open barns and are not confined to pens. Farmer Max said that pigs are very social animals and that they live up to five years at the piggery. He told us that a pregnant pig can weigh between 250 and 350 kilograms.

On the following day we took a trip to a sheep and cattle farm where Farmer Keith showed us his herd of beef cows. Keith explained how he bred his cows specifically to have brown spots under their eyes to stop the glare of their white faces and to avoid eye cancer. We then went on to see the sheep. We were told that shearers are the only people who are not paid by the hours they put in; they get paid by the number of sheep they shear. We also visited the fields where canola and other crops were growing.

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Next we went to Brambuk, the Indigenous cultural centre at the nearby Grampians. We had a lesson on throwing a boomerang and after many tries and a couple of near misses we got the hang of it. However, if we were ever stranded in the wilderness I don’t believe that our choice of weapon would be a boomerang. After that we watched a short film about the Dreamtime and the land. It was very interesting. The last thing we did at the centre was go for a walk through the Grampians National Park. The walk was great; we saw kangaroos and we took in the beautiful scenery.

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On our last day we visited a free range turkey farm. Farmer Darryl showed us many strange looking turkeys. The chicks were rather cute though. Darryl has a large collection of rare turkeys which he is very proud of. We each took a souvenir turkey feather home.

The experience was a once in a life time opportunity. We learnt a great deal and we had a great time!

Rebecca and Shannae 9/55



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