Olly, The Virtual Reality Experience Update, October/November
VRE October News
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda, you’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me…
We all know how the rest goes. On this final tour of our three years driving across some of Australia’s most isolated outback roads delivering virtual reality education, we have come into the heart of Matilda country.
Instead of just the two of us bouncing down dusty, potholed dirt tracks in our trusty 4x4 named Olly as in other trips, we have teamed up with three wonderful staff from the National Disability Coordinators Office and travelling on ALL SEALED roads for the entire three and half thousand kilometre schedule. What bliss! But the show is moving like a runaway train. Some days we not only visit more than one school in a town but sometimes more than one school in 2 towns or more. Phew, and in 40+ degree heat most days.
Starting at a community gathering in Charters Towers on Monday 15th October, we spoke with workers and clients from job networks and other NGOs who also jumped aboard for the 25-minute VR experience. From Charters, we headed west to Hughenden school for three sessions, the next day on to Richmond school and followed the Dinosaur Trail to Cloncurry the same day.
The temperature started to rise from Cloncurry and Mt Isa, and we were all feeling the result of a hot, busy week. Mt Isa TAFE hosted a number of service providers and clients, and a group of students from Camooweal near the NT border drove across especially to try the VR experience. And yes…they loved it! A very enthusiastic and interested ABC reporter did a great job interviewing us all in Mt Isa, and we look forward to hearing or reading her report.
It was the turn off to Winton where the Matilda Way began for us and a brief stop at McKinley (where the pub from Crocodile Dundee featured), and Kynuna Blue Heeler pub a bit further down and finally Winton and the district where Banjo Paterson put pen to Waltzing Matilda. The change in landscape, hospitality, and history changed the moment we commenced this part of the journey. No more mines or renewable energy enterprises and the hundreds of associated FIFO workers this way. It is cattle country and a tough history of sheep farming and life displayed in the many museums, housing, and other traditional living.
Just like the more remote communities we are used to, these small towns of mid-west Queensland have little exposure to the type of technology that we deliver, and the affirmative and excited response has been unchanged.
There is a definite pride that is expressed in an old-fashioned time warp type of way out here, from Winton (Banjo) through Longreach (Qantas and Stockman Hall of Fame), Barcaldine (Tree of Knowledge), Blackall (The Black Stump) and Charleville (RFDS and Cosmos Centre). The positive community spirit is second to none!
Tomorrow we head to Cunnamulla then onto St George, Roma, Emerald, Woorabinda, and Mackay before reaching Cairns and a break for Christmas and beyond.