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Earlier this term, 20 Pembroke students from Years 8 to 10 embarked on a very special 5-day trip to Marree. For Year 9 student, Ashni, this was a once in a lifetime experience. She shares her reflections on the trip below.

28 August 2023

The Marree Trip is one of the best and most memorable trips I have ever been on.

I will never forget the beautiful sunsets every evening and the awakening sunrises every morning. We spent each night in swags behind the Marree Hotel, wrapped in layers of warm clothes to fight the cold nights.

Our second day after arriving at the town was spent at the Marree Aboriginal School. The school held approximately 20 students from Primary to Senior School. I worked with 3 students in the Middle School, and we learnt about different qualities of surface water, which the students had just started learning. We made a poster of a diagram with them made of coloured paper. After lunch, we got into varied groups with students of different year levels and were required to hold a talent show against other groups. I was with another girl in Year 9 from Pembroke, and four students from the Marree School. We ended up performing Hot Potato by The Wiggles and watched the other groups perform, and we had some good laughs throughout the entire talent show.

After spending the day at the school, making valuable connections and playing with the children at the end of the day, we headed back to the campsite. I walked around the town for a bit with some new and old friends I had made during the trip. We visited the old railway station that was no longer in use, a large camel sundial, and took some stunning photos of the sunset.

After breakfast we visited Reg Dodd, the Arabunna Elder who lives in Marree. He showed us the museum inside his house that contained ancient Aboriginal artefacts from hundreds of years ago. I remember there was a large rock from centuries ago that contained emu and kangaroo footprints. There were ancient Aboriginal hunting spears and grinding stones that were used to make food back then. I found this museum very interesting overall.

After visiting his museum, we packed up to go to camping in the Coward Springs. The drive was quite rocky, but it was only a few hours until we reached the Springs in the late afternoon. We stopped for lunch at a lake, and we did a coastal walk along it. We set up our swags in the area and then while other students went for a swim in the hot springs, I went for a walk with a friend in year 10 and we bought ice-cream and visited the local museum which was a small hut containing ancient fossils. When it was dark, we came back to the campsite and lit the fire and cooked dinner over it. This night was one of my favourite nights during the trip because while roasting marshmallows over the fire, my friends and I shared riddles with the teachers and had a lot of fun.

The next day, we packed up our swags again to drive back to Marree, but we asked Reg Dodd to play his guitar, and he let me play it as well. Afterwards, he played some very old Slim Dusty songs for us. When everyone started to pack up, Reg asked me to sit with him, and he taught me how to play his favourite songs, and how to sing if you fear singing to a large audience. He told me to “sing from your heart”. When we returned to Marree, he gave me some sheet music of Slim Dusty songs and told me to learn it for him.

Afterwards, we had a large barbecue with everyone at the school and played with everyone afterwards. I made fond memories and valuable connections with the students. In the morning, we finally packed up all our belongings, and I went to visit Reg for the last time, and he ended up surprising me with a folder full of all his favourite country songs, with notes made by him for me. I bought his book that he wrote, and he signed it for me, with a special note.

I will never ever forget this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Year 9