Reflecting on the Year 5 Camp at Narmbool and Sovereign Hill

Year 5 girls enjoyed a fantastic camp recently. We stayed at Narmbool, which is a working farm. The two day Sovereign Hill Schools Program afforded the students the opportunity to dress up, attend school and be living exhibits in the Sovereign Hill museum. At Narmbool, a more scientific approach was taken with the girls involved in ponding, checking on nesting boxes, enjoying a visit with two owls and astronomy. Indigenous games, team building, a tour of the mansion and a hike rounded off an enjoyable four days.

by Kathy Agius, Primary Teacher – Year 5 girls


We had to line up in front of the Carriage Factory one morning as we were heading to school. When Sir told us to get into straight lines, we all jumped into our line quickly, too scared that he would whip us. So we stood up as straight as we possibly could.

At beautiful Narmbool the escarpment is visible from all the windows. We made it to the top of the escarpment, hooray! Here we are standing on the rocks, taking it all in. We all yelled and heard our voices echo! It was a lifetime experience.

Charli, Molly, Isabella, Amelia and Emma


Gold Fever struck us as we panned for gold. The creek was a muddy brown colour and when we scooped out the rocks at the bottom of the creek, some were yellow, but unfortunately it wasn’t gold. It was just Fool’s Gold in the quartz rock. After panning for gold we saw a gold ingot being poured. It was pretty amazing seeing that bright yellow liquid being poured.

Tahlia, Millie, Sienna, Ella, Georgia and Lucy


At the Historic Narmbool Homestead we toured the gardens. We explored the many native species of plants and the formal English gardens as well. As we wandered through the gardens we saw a pond with plentiful lily pads. There were some interesting sculptures made from recycled metal scraps formed to make pigs, goats and llamas. There were also some bronze snails that we got to ride!

Sir (the man in black) was our teacher and he taught us how to pan for gold at the stream. Though we all tried our hardest, sadly we were amongst the eight out of ten people that did not strike gold.

Year 5 went to St. Alipius School. The man who was teaching us was Peter/Sir and played the part excellently.

One of the many activities on camp was gold panning! Sadly none of us found gold nor did we get the chance to shout ‘EUREKA!’

Most of us had never been gold panning before, so this was a great opportunity to test our skills! Sir seemed really good at it because he had experience, but sadly we weren’t as good as him.


Ponding was an exciting and enjoyable part of camp! While ponding we discovered some interesting vertebrate insects. When we went ponding we caught many interesting things, but my favourite was the dragonfly nymph, the teenage form of a dragonfly.

Ponding was fascinating and we caught many interesting vertebrate insects! We looked at them under the microscope. It was lovely to have the beautiful escarpment in the view as we ponded.

To catch the vertebrate insects, we used a net and a bucket half full of their home water. Then we went to the science lab and learnt about our group’s favourite. Each group made a short speech about our group’s favourite vertebrate.

Ponding was fun! We captured our insects in the dam in our groups, then put them in buckets and took them up to the science room to discover what kind they were.

Elise, Mellyn, Mia, Alex, Aleisha


The best thing about camp was researching about invertebrates in the science lab. I enjoyed seeing ordinary things that you might take for granted in more detail.

Using pen and ink in the school with Copperplate Hand writing was really challenging but I was really proud when I completed it. It helped me to understand how hard it would have been for children in the 1980’s. There were many blots!

One night at Narmbool, we were shown two Owls. We got to pat a Barn Owl. The Boobook Owl, who was only a year old, had feathers over his eyes that made him look like he was always frowning. The handler called him The Grumpiest Owl in the World.

At the Sovereign Hill School we had to learn the twelve and the sixteen times tables. It was hard because we only had one night to learn them, but we did it! We practiced them all night and the next day was a lot easier. We also had to learn a poem.

Jessica, Tilli, Keira, Amber and Keeley


A favourite part of camp was going to the school and learning what it would be like in the olden days. I think it would be really hard if you were a left hander like me. You had to always write with your right hand. I found this really difficult but think I did well with my handwriting.

During camp we were able to be with all our friends for four days. It was great to be with them at Narmbool because we had some free time and also got to do fun activities like climbing up the escarpment, sleeping in cabins and doing duties together.

We enjoyed writing the letter to Sir pretending to be a child in the 1850s and attending the Sovereign Hill School. For Elizabeth, who loves history, it was like an adventure back in time. The clothes we needed to wear for school made us feel like we were a part of the 1850’s.

The Aboriginal game we played was definitely one of the best things about camp. It showed us that if you threw the spear perfectly you could count on having dinner that night! It was lot of fun!

Kelsey, Elizabeth, Lily and Annabelle



2022 Term Dates