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Press Release: Lighthouse Keeper's Quest

Issued: 17 February 2005

HISTORY, mystery and some huge challenges faced a group of high school students from Lavers Hill and Apollo Bay last week when they took on the Lighthouse Keepers’ Quest at Cape Otway.

Traditionally the year nine students are arch-rivals in the pool and on the oval at inter-school sports, but last week they became a team as they took on the job of taking care of the historic lighthouse.

As part of an experiential learning program, the students found themselves transported in time to 1848 when the first light keeper captain James Ross Lawrence has been sacked for bad language, drunkenness and failing to keep the light operational.

The children set out to retrieve their supplies from the Parker River inlet only to discover their food had been washed up the estuary.

They built rafts to rescue their supplies and had to navigate their way home humping their ship-wrecked rations up the steep hills to get back to the light, where a whole new series of problems arose.

Contemporary light station manager Paul Thompson, who led the three-day quest said: “The aim of this expedition is to provide participants with a real experience of Australian pioneer life through the daily challenges and adventures of a light keeper.”

The children were also faced with first aid and power-cut scenarios and had to decide how best to keep the light station operating 24 hours a day.

Mr Thompson said: “I’m surprised at how well the team worked together.

“When they first came together it was carnage for the first half hour. As they took turns at being team leader they found nobody listened and they didn’t know how to lead a group.

“But they got into the storylines, and they all walked away with some good lessons learnt.”

Lavers Hill teacher Helen Davis described the quest as “extremely worthwhile educationally”.

“I’m really rapt the two schools had a chance to do a camp together like this, it was fun and challenging.’‘

Apollo Bay’s Cody Perkins enjoyed the quest, but found sections of it tough going.

“It was challenging physically and mentally,” Cody said.

“It was stressful going up the hills – I’d do it again but not for a little while.”

Lavers Hill student Taylor Towers enjoyed the quest.

“I probably realise it is a lot easier to work with people.

“If you let everyone have their say it works out.”

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