Why did Ballarat and Clarendon College choose King Island for their Grassy campus?

Essay by marozzi1 August 2009

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Task 1 - Why King Island?Ballarat and Clarendon College hosts a year nine program on King Island with the purpose of teaching student’s life skills and developing them as people and community members. The programme challenges students emotionally, physically and mentally. The programme allows the students to live in a residential style house with five to eight other people to prepare them for life after school. The question arises; why choose King Island?King Island was first inhabited by Aboriginals; this is prior to the European discovery by Bass and Flinders. The first population of King Island was a bunch of sealers, after the prized seal oil and skins, but this only lasted until 1810, when the sealers were replaced by hunters, whose main targets were emus and kangaroo’s. King Island is located in the western entrance of Bass Strait, and is approximately 100 kilometres in distance from Victoria and Tasmania.

(Figures one and two) (Handouts)Figure 1 Map of Southern Australia showing King Island Figure 2Map of King Island(Handouts)King Island lies at 144 °longitude and 40 ° latitude, placing it in the way of the Roaring Forties making incredibly high winds of up to and over 100 kilometres per hour. King Island is relatively small measuring approximately 64 kilometres north to south and it is and 26 kilometres east to west with a total area of 110, 000 ha. (KINRMG) Although a very small island, King Island’s history isn’t the happiest history known to the world.

King Island, Australia’s shipwreck capital has had over seven major shipwrecks in its time; these catastrophic wrecks are a result of wild weather and rocky shores. One of which is the Catariqui, which was built in Quebec in 1840, then it departed from England and crashed on the shores of King Island in 1845( see figure three). The start of this catastrophe was the boat hitting an unexpected reef that made the ship start to break up. At first, the captain was originally going to stop for safety, but he heard a surgeon criticising his precautions, so he changed his mind and said “Shake out the reefs, and stand on!” Many passengers were washed away by heavy seas this made more than 400 people die. (King Island Regional Development Organisation)Figure three The voyage of the CatariquiPhoto By Author, 2009The island has put many lighthouses up in an attempt to stop these shipwrecks, one of which is the Currie lighthouse (Figure four). It was built in an attempt to stop ships from crashing into King Island, but there has been several ships that have mistaken the lighthouse for the Portland lighthouse, so they swang south and ran straight into King Island!Currie Lighthouse Figure fourPhoto by author, 2009EnvironmentCLIMATEKing Island’s whether although windy has a lot more stability than Ballarat ( See Figure Five)Figure five Average tempretures of King Island vs BallaratSeries 1 BallaratSeries 2 King IslandAs you can see the climate in Ballarat is a lot colder than in King Island making it a more suitable environment to develop as a person and as a community. Whilst the actual temperature is more controlled, things such as wind levels are not taken into account. Because of the locality of King Island the wind levels are quite high, providing the challenging conditions we need for a program such as the Ballarat and Clarendon College’s year nine program.

King Island has a variety of environments e.g. beach, bushland, wilderness, town, costal and river and swamps that Ballarat doesn’t have. The near coastline opens up many opportunities for things such as surfing and snorkelling in safe waters.

Figure 6 Overlooking Sandlow BeachPhoto by Author, 2009FLORA AN FAUNADifferent types of Flora and Fauna to see including; Orange bellied parrot, Bennett’s Wallabies, Brush tailed Possums, Southern potoroo, Ring tailed possum, Eastern pygmy possum, Lemon bellied tiger snake, Copperhead snake, White lipped grass snake, Common blue tongue lizards and skinks, Australian fur seal, Southern Elephant seal, Leopard seal, Southern right whale, Dolphin, Abalone, Crayfish, King Crab, Sweep, Australian Salmon, Flathead, Mullet, Trumpeter, Gummy Shark, Port Jackson sharks, Wobbegongs, Pheasants.

King Island is an environmental modal for the world, with its clean green sustainable image and it renewable energy resources. Such as its wind farm, that on King Island provides 18% of the required energy for the island.

King Island also shows the students how a small community relies heavily on industry. The majority of industry is in the agricultural sector, only a small number of this is in fishing. Other major employment sectors are in retail, health and manufacturing. Some examples of jobs in retail include check outing at the Currie Supermarkets or at the Grassy Supermarket. As for Health there are jobs at the local hospital and finally for manufacturing there is the dairy factory and the kelp factory.(KINRMG)Dairy farming is crucial to the King Island economy, it takes up three and a half thousand hectares of land and employs 73 people, and there are approximately 6638 dairy cows on the island. The products that the cows produce are put under the King Island logo, and, are exported worldwide.

Speaking of cow’s beef farming is a huge industry on King Island; there are 75 – 80 thousand head of beef cattle on the island with 80% being for beef.

One of the essential factors in the choice of King Island is the community. King Island has a small population of approximately 1700 people that makes it a lot safer than Ballarat because of the small amount of people (see Figure seven). Being so far away from friends and family and the bad influences of junk food and technology gives us the isolation we need to develop. This allows students to overcome challenges such as being away from home that we are going have to face sooner or later.

Figure 7Well isn’t King Island already isolated enough, why not choose Currie the main town in King Island instead of Grassy? The Grassy community provides a safe place to put a residential style housing that promotes an independent living that allows us to develop as people. We are able to have the opportunity to budget, shop, cook and clean for ourselves. The local supermarket and butcher are especially handy to have because we aren’t perfect at planning yet so it good to have local food sources that are easily accessible. (see figures eight and nine)Figures eight and nine The Grassy Harbour Supermarket and The Butcher ShoppeIn conclusion, Ballarat and Clarendon College chose King Island because of its small population and the various amounts of environments that we wouldn’t be able to experience in Ballarat (the hiking and the beaches).The fact that we can observe systems on a small scale King Island is famous for its clean green image and it shows students how much a small community relies on local industry. Overall, King Island is a fantastic place to put the Ballarat and Clarendon College year nine programme as it challenges students and develops them as people.

BibliographyCrisp Lyndall, 2006, The Australian Financial Review, King Island Responds to a global call for kelp.

Hydro Tasmania, Wind Power Harnessing Tasmania’s Wind Energy Resource.

King Island Natural Resource )Management Group (KINRMG), 2001, KINRM Review & Strategic Action Plan.

King Island Historical Museum, 2009, Lighthouse Street, King Island, Tasmania.

King Island Regional Development Organisation, Shipwrecks and safe havens Cataraqui 1845, King Island Maritime trailStudent memory sticks handouts (Handouts), 2009, Global Learning Class, King Island.