Rural round for Syd­ney stu­dents

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By NATALIE HOLMES

EX­PE­RI­ENC­ING a sim­u­lated emer­gency flight, stag­ing a con­cert and giv­ing a sub­stan­tial do­na­tion was all part of the fun for a group of stu­dents from the heart of Syd­ney who vis­ited Dubbo this week.

The In­ter­na­tional Gram­mar School mu­si­cians ar­rived with in­stru­ments in hand as part of their Re­gional NSW Mu­sic Tour, which kicked off on the week­end.

On Mon­day, they per­formed a spe­cial con­cert at the Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice (RFDS) head­quar­ters, un­der­took an ed­u­ca­tion ses­sion guided by the staff and pre­sented funds of al­most $2000 for the much-needed ser­vice which pro­vides med­i­cal as­sis­tance for res­i­dents in rural and re­mote ar­eas.

“They are based in Ul­timo,” RFDS Vis­i­tor Ex­pe­ri­ence, Mar­ket­ing and Ed­u­ca­tion Of­fi­cer Penny Watts ex­plained. “They have been do­ing fundrais­ing and sought us out.”

De­scrib­ing it as “the most amaz­ing sup­port”, Penny said the school’s at­ti­tude shows that the Fly­ing Doc­tors has ex­tended far be­yond its rural and re­mote op­er­a­tion.

“They are not only rais­ing money, they are ac­tu­ally ed­u­cat­ing these kids in city schools of the Fly­ing Doc­tor’s ser­vices.

“A lot of peo­ple may have heard of the RFDS as an emer­gency re­trieval, but now we have ex­panded to pa­tient trans­fers, road trans­port, a den­tal pro­gram, reg­u­lar clin­ics, tele­con­fer­enc­ing and men­tal health as­sis­tance. There’s a lot of peo­ple out there that don’t know the scope of what we do.”

The stu­dents, who range from Year 5 to Year 10, also re­ceived a unique ex­pe­ri­ence as part of the visit.

“We have a mo­bile ed­u­ca­tion unit that has aero­nau­ti­cal fea­tures and sim­u­lates the plane,” Penny said.

“It gives you a feel­ing of what it’s like in a Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor air­craft with­out ac­tu­ally be­ing a pa­tient.”

Dubbo is a work­ing base so there were also staff on hand to meet with the chil­dren and tell them more about the ser­vice and their roles.

The school’s deputy prin­ci­pal David Ham­per or­gan­ised the trip and said the main aims were to ex­pose the stu­dents to re­mote lo­ca­tions and to give some money to a ser­vice which helps those com­mu­ni­ties.

“We’ve raised just un­der $2000 with the hope of rais­ing more,” he said.

“Our school is in a five-storey build­ing in Ul­timo. The main thing is that while a lot of our kids are quite well-trav­elled – they have been over­seas – but not so much in­land Australia.

The trip takes in Parkes, Light­ning Ridge, Bourke and Tam­worth along with Dubbo.

“For us, it’s a chance to give them that in­sight into these places. Wher­ever we take the kids on a trip is a priv­i­lege.

“We wanted to pro­vide some­thing for the lo­cal com­mu­nity and the Fly­ing Doc­tors was a log­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tion to sup­port.

“We looked for an or­gan­i­sa­tion that was ben­e­fit­ing lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and that would have a strong pres­ence in the com­mu­ni­ties we are vis­it­ing. It’s about some­thing that’s a quin­tes­sen­tial part of rural and re­gional Australia.”

The mu­si­cal ele­ment of the trip in­cludes mu­si­cal per­for­mances by the 45 trav­el­ling stu­dents who have been prac­tic­ing since mid2017. Itin­er­ary plan­ning started a year ago.

“There’s a broad range of kids and in­stru­ments,” David ex­plained. “It’s a full con­cert band orches­tra with wind, string, per­cus­sion.”

The In­ter­na­tional Gram­mar School is a mul­ti­cul­tural and mul­ti­lin­gual school where a quar­ter of learn­ing is in a for­eign lan­guage. But the trip to re­gional Australia might just be a whole new learn­ing curve.

RDA Orana calls for Co­bar-dubbo flights

RE­IN­STAT­ING air travel be­tween Co­bar and Dubbo should be a ma­jor pri­or­ity for the two com­mu­ni­ties, RDA Orana ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Me­gan Dixon said.

Flights be­tween the re­gional cen­tres ceased late last year, but it’s im­por­tant to main­tain that con­nec­tion, she said.

“Co­bar is an im­por­tant hub for pro­duc­tion and busi­ness ac­tiv­ity and em­ploy­ment and mining as well as gov­ern­ment ser­vices in the com­mu­nity. With­out ad­e­quate trans­port, this role be­comes threat­ened and could be in jeop­ardy.

“It’s a nec­es­sary part of serv­ing these com­mu­ni­ties – for work op­por­tu­ni­ties, med­i­cal ap­point­ments and es­sen­tial ser­vices.

“We’d like to see this up and run­ning again for the ben­e­fit of our re­gional com­mu­ni­ties. Any as­sis­tance that we can pro­vide will be made avail­able.”

PHOTO: DARCEE NIXON

In­ter­na­tional Gram­mar School mu­si­cians per­form­ing in­side Fly­ing Doc­tor’s Dubbo han­gar on Mon­day.

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