Category Archives: Writers

Australia Year- Personal Highlights

Australia Year is coming to an end.  The school term (and year) finishes on Friday, so this is a good point to find out what we most enjoyed about this special year.  To finish our blog we will be asking lots of people what they thought the highlights were.  We have started with views from the blog group. 

“The event I have most enjoyed through Australia Year is when Frances Firebrace came in and did lots of Aboriginal-type paintings with KS2.  We had to pair up and were only allowed to use red, yellow, blue and black paints, but that made it more exciting!”  Mollie

“My highlight of Australia year was when we made the Australian Poles for the end of Year 6 art.  I enjoyed this activity because we all got to be together and I really like calving wood. I wrote R+E+C=BFF. I did get a big cut in my hand but I do have a bit of me left behind (my blood).” Robyn

“My favourite thing about Australia year is when we did our aboriginal poles with Chris Holland (The Didgeridoo man!) I am looking forward to the signing of the t-shirts this Friday.”  Emily

“I haven’t got a favourite. I just Liked the whole year round and am glad I was a part of it. But I can’t wait till Friday!”  Sophie

“I think that the highlight of Australia year has got to be the year 6 Totem poles but Australia day comes close.  I know that almost everybody in Holbrook loved Australia day including me because of it’s extremely fun activities.”  Matthew P

The Other Facts of Life

We have finished performing the play! We think it was a great success, we have enjoyed it but glad it’s over.

Emily said: “I think that all the parents thought it was funny and enjoyable.”

Sophie said: “I think parents liked it and everyone was amazing at their parts.”

Mollie said: “It was good and I liked it!”

Matthew W said: “It took lots of practice and we enjoyed it lots!”

Mr Whitewick said: “I enjoyed it very much, it made me laugh, but I preferred it when you sang along to a backing track.  Singing along to a  CD doesn’t work as well- you cannot hear the pupils, just the CD.  I thought it was a very well written play, though.”

Matthew P said: “It was good, but I think it was a bit long.”

Ella said: “I enjoyed making the props more than acting in the play.”

Robyn said: “I enjoyed watching the making of the props and putting on the play.”

Wiltshire International Book

At the same conference at which our Y4 pupils presented their drama about Australia Year, we received copies of the new book all about Wiltshire schools’ links with partner schools around the world.  Matthew and Sophie wrote the Holbrook contribution to this book.

This is the text they wrote for the book:

If you can’t go to Australia, get Australia to come to you!

Over the current school year, Holbrook has been focusing on Australia. This is so that everyone connected to our school can share their knowledge and find out more; parents and governors as well as pupils.

Throughout the year we have given our usual school events an Australian flavour, for instance on 11th November we remembered Australian soldiers, for our annual contribution to the dance festival we performed a dance based on Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, and our Year Four play was about Australia.

We have had many visitors to school to help, some of them real Australians. The year started with a visit from Travis, a student from Adelaide.  He taught us Aussie rules football.  Mr Clarke, a Wiltshire Adviser, visited us several times.  He told us Dreamtime stories, talked about Aboriginal Art and Australian animals. Chris Holland is a musician and artist. He taught us some basic didgeridoo skills.

We started a blog ( which a group of Y5 and Y6 pupils keep up to date with all the news of our special year.

The best thing is that we found a school in Australia also called Holbrook School.  We made contact and asked them to work with us.  Their Principal and school leaders have shared ideas with our headteacher and School Council; we have exchanged work and they have answered our questions about their country.

Australia Day (26th January) was a big day in our school.  The blog group led an assembly and we worked together to create a giant map of Australia, now on display in our hall.  We wrote a letter to the Australian High Commissioner to ask for some support and he wrote back and put us in touch with people who could help us.

We got the whole school to read the same books: ‘Diary of a Wombat’ by Jackie French for KS1; and ‘Stories from the Billabong’ by James Vance Marshall and Francis Firebrace for KS2. Waterstone’s store in Trowbridge helped us with this project. Then, we had a brilliant visit from Francis Firebrace himself, an Aborigine from the Yorta Yorta people, who showed us his artwork.  We all then had a huge art session and tried our hand at art, aboriginal style.  After school pupils had their books signed.

To sum it all up, we would say that learning about Australia is brilliant when you can learn from real Australians.

Sophie and Matthew

Advance Australia Fair

This is Australian’s national anthem. Peter Dodds McCormick wrote the lyrics and produced the music. Peter McCormick is a Scottish composer. It was first performed in 1878; but it was not the official anthem until 1984.

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in Nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage
Advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us sing,
“Advance Australia fair!”

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,

We’ll toil with hearts and hands;

To make this Commonwealth of ours

Renowned of all the lands;

For those who’ve come across the seas

We’ve boundless plains to share;

With courage let us all combine

To advance Australia fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing

“Advance Australia fair!”

Why are Koalas so Endangered?

Koalas are endangered because they are beginning to live right by roadsides.  As you can imagine, they are falling out of the trees and getting run over by vehicles.

Unfortunately, koalas mark their territory and stay there, even if the trees are grown in people’s back yards. Days are beginning to get busier and busier for rescuers, due to how many koalas are getting stuck in trees and getting knocked over.


In 1750, over ¾ of South Australia were possible Koala habitats, but now there is hardly any left in the wild, and experts think that there are only 80,000 left in the wild!

I got all my facts and quotes from the National Geographic Magazine and National Geographic Magazine Kids.


Gifts from Australia

On the last day of term 5, Mr Whitewick received a parcel from Holbrook Public School our link school in Australia.  Inside the package there was a t-shirt.  It is their summer sports uniform.  It has their school logo on the front and their school name on the back.  The package also contained 3 books about their town and region in Australia: The first is about the connection between Holbrook and Submarines; the second about the town of Holbrook; and the third is a tourist leaflet for Holbrook.  They have some interesting pictures in and the writing is very detailed and descriptive.


One of our pupils in Kingsley Class modeled the shirt for us.  He is standing next to our school dragon.


A Koala in the Post!

A Holbrook pupil had a pleasant surprise in the post this week.  Keziah opened a parcel from her godmother to find an Australian gift inside!  Before she opened it she thought the box might contain chocolates- it had that sort of texture.  Instead, a koala stared back at her.  It wasn’t a real one, luckily for any koalas out there.  It was a teddy type toy. 

Keziah’s godmother went to Australia on holiday and brought her back the koala as a souvenir.  Now, the koala will sit on her bed where it will be well looked after. 

Keziah did not know whereabouts in Australia her godmother went.  We need to know so we can record it on our big map showing the connections between our school and Australia.

Matthew P