February 23 - 29, 2020: Issue 439


Barrenjoey supports Fire-ravaged Mogo Public School 

The Rions and Marvell and more! Thank you to Creek Street Photography for the amazing photo.

On Thursday night, February 20th, Barrenjoey High School came together to support Mogo Public School.  Local bands, The Rions and Marvell performed for over 200 students in the school hall.  The highlight of the evening was both bands performing Marvell’s hit, Come a Little Closer.  Jesse from Marvell said the band was thrilled to participate in the evening and have built a close bond with The Rions over the last year.  Noah Buckley from The Rions felt that the hall “went off!” for both bands.

Kalinda Hawson, P&C President said “for some of these kids it is their first rock concert.  Year 7s and Year 12s were all in the ‘mosh pit’ dancing together. So thrilling to see.” 

The other thrill of the night was how many people donated their time so freely.  Seventeen teachers from Barrenjoey attended to help run the event, Barrenjoey parents were there too.  Duncan Ritchie donated all his lighting and sound equipment and time to ensure that the night looked and sounds incredible.  Both bands appeared without a fee.  Ronny Berg from Creek Street Photography came and shot the bands and students so we will have professional shots of the night.  The SRC students cooked the bbq and donated all their time and money from the sales for the evening.  Retro Birdie donated the profits from the sale of ice-creams.  

Mogo Public School students and staff were affected by the recent bushfires and Barrenjoey Principal, Ian Bowsher, contacted Mogo Principal, Lyndall Schuchmann, to offer financial support for the kids.

Mogo Public School is a 150 year old timber built school surrounded by old growth forest that the kids lovingly called the 'enchanted forest'.  The school has 33 students from K-6 including 12 Aboriginal students, 3 classes, 4 teachers and two Admin / support staff. It is a very tight community.

When the fires came the fire trucks spent 3 hours continuously spraying water on the heritage timber buildings to save them which they managed to do. As Lyndall explained the 'fire lick' marks are all over the blistered paint - it came that close.

While the school buildings were saved the town and surrounding bush was destroyed. The school lost their heritage forest and all its gardens (it is simply a small cluster of buildings in a black landscape). The chicken coop and outdoor learning space which the kids loved were also obliterated.  Six of the school kids lost their homes and almost all other families homes were damaged in some way or another.

To help the students, the school has created a Breakfast Club for all, the students have lunch packs made for them and costs associated with fees, book packs, photographs and swimming carnival have all been waived.  

The Today show donated $60k to establish the gardens, and in an act of generosity and a lesson for its children the school community has decided to 'give back' by growing vegetables in the new gardens so they can give the produce to the Mogo Zoo which is also in ongoing need of support and care for its animals.

'It was lovely having so many people come in and help and understand the philosophy of this garden, which is all about giving back, Ms Schuchmann said.

'We feel so fortunate to have so many people that wanted to help us and we felt it was important that this garden is all about giving - giving edible plants for animals to Mogo Zoo, giving to the school canteen, and giving produce to the students and their families.'

As the Mogo kids lost their Christmas holidays Barrenjoey was asked to donate the funds raised last night to give all the kids and staff a Big Day Out. We are aiming to pay for bus hire, food and a comedy show in Nowra.  

"As of early Friday the P&C had raised $2400, however more money has come in this morning.  If we can get to $3,000 all the kids can get there." Kalinda said yesterday, Saturday February 22nd.

Fire-Ravaged School Gets The Best Garden On The Block And A BIG Day Out Courtesy Of Barrenjoey High School Band Night

February 18, 2020

Barrenjoey High School hosted a musical evening on Thursday this week with The Rions and Marvell playing to an Under 18's audience to raise funds for a Big Day Out for Mogo Public School students and staff at Nowra, which is what the students said they would like. Both bands have Barrenjoey High links, being current students or ex-students. 

Max and Tom Marvell are Marvell – a singer/songwriting brother duo from here, while The Rions are Harley Wilson, Noah Blockley, Asher Mclean and Tom Partington. The Rions started in 2016 when the four boys were all in year 7. Initially just being Noah (the singer) and Harley (the guitarist) before Tom (the drummer) joined the two due to needing a drummer for their music assignment and later Asher after he moved to their school. 

Mogo PS school is located on the Princes Highway ten kilometres south of Batemans Bay and six kilometres from Broulee. Although located on a busy highway at the southern end of the township, the school has extensive grounds along Mogo Creek. There are 58 students, with the school community extending from Tomakin, Mossy Point, Broulee to Mogo. There are two main buildings, one permanent classroom block housing the library and a primary class and the administration block, in addition to two demountables classrooms.

Over the Christmas-New Years break firefighters had to do all they could to save the schoolhouse. Six of the students also lost their homes.

Last week Mogo Public School students and staff received a morale boost when the Today Show and The Block rebuilt the school gardens, lost during bushfires which ravaged the town on New Year's Eve.

Acting principal Lyndall Schuchmann said the rebuilding of the gardens and chicken coop was a great community effort, bringing everyone together after a tough couple of months on the south coast.

'The children have been so excited and it's been wonderful how the whole community has come together to work on creating this great space,' she said.

'The students have been involved the whole way. They understand and appreciate that all of this is about people who are trying to do something good and make their lives better.'

Ms Schuchmann said many parents, grandparents, community members and local businesses had helped Tess and Luke Stuber (the most recent Block winners) and Block landscaper Dave Franklin to complete the garden.

It was unveiled on air during the Today Show last week.

Fire destroyed the school garden

'It was lovely having so many people come in and help and understand the philosophy of this garden, which is all about giving back, Ms Schuchmann said.

'We feel so fortunate to have so many people that wanted to help us and we felt it was important that this garden is all about giving - giving edible plants for animals to Mogo Zoo, giving to the school canteen, and giving produce to the students and their families.'

Tess and Luke spent time in each classroom over the week, talking to the students about what was going on in the garden and challenging each class group to choose names for the new school chickens.

'We saw on the news how devastating the fires were and we really wanted to be able to get involved and to do something positive, so as soon as we were asked we said yes straight away,' said Tess.

'Everyone we have spoken to has a story of dealing with the fires and some are so devastating, and yet everyone has a smile on their face and is happy to donate their time, and local businesses are happy to donate materials to make this happen.'

Luke added that it was the very least he and Tess could do to lend a hand to build the garden.

'It's an amazing thing about the Aussie spirit and how people are here, some of whom have lost so much, already thinking about how they are going to give back through this garden,' Luke said.

New gardens and play areas after the landscaping makeover.

'We just want to make the kids smile.'

Tess and Luke said with the help of the students they had settled on seven names for the new chickens: Tess, Lou Lou, Sparkles, Peggy, Bianca, Bella and Big Mumma.

'We feel very honoured that they named a couple after us, it was very sweet,' Luke said, adding that he hoped they would live a long and healthy life in their new coop.

Year 4 student Skye Nye said she enjoyed having Tess and Luke at the school during the week.

'It's like we're famous now too,' Skye said after being filmed and photographed with the celebrities.

'We're excited and I really like the garden and going out there.'

The fully landscaped garden area includes a fruit orchard, vegetable and herb gardens, a lawn area for the students to play, seating areas for informal classes, a new chicken coop, and an indigenous bush tucker garden developed in conjunction with the school's Aboriginal Education Officer, Kizzy Nye, and local rangers.

Principal Lyndall Schuchmann, left, with students and The Block winners, Luke and Tess Stuber.