Day 8: Monday 29th July

We are up at 7.00am and I feel refreshed after having had 24 hours without clock watching. Breakfast is a bowl of cereal. We load the kit bags and leave the hotel at 8.00am to arrive in school at 8.15am.
The students arrive with smiling faces and stories of their experiences. All except Lewis Macdermott are correctly dressed wearing their navy polo shirts, which tells me that the parents have generously been able to do their washing. Lewis’s washing is still being done.
Emma Kieft and Nia Devonald had been hosted by Jaz Bathie whom Nia had hosted when Mater Maria visited last year. They had had the opportunity to go back into Sydneyto do some more shopping which pleased them both.
Brittany Jenkins said her hosts were ‘lovely’. She had gone surfing on Newport beachand then ten pin bowling in Freewater.
Alex Freeman said he was really enjoying things. His host had taken him to Bondi junction to do some shopping and also visited the city.
Marcus Besley was with a really ‘nice’ family. They had gone to the beach and then visited the National Park. Elaine Tucker’s family had joined Marcus’s hosts for a meal yesterday evening, after having spent the day in Manly.
Manly was a popular venue and Rhodri Tyrrell, Lewis Macdermott, Scott Smith, Tom Froom, Rhys Cherry, Katy Baran and Alycia Carpanini were all taken there by their hosts. All were happy.
Jack Cambriani, Keelan Giles and Steffan Gibbon had spent the night at Penny and Dave’s beach house. They had travelled over by boat and enjoyed a meal of Oysters at the Patonga pub.
Joel Young and Tom Froom are convinced that no one could have had a better experience than theirs. It had been amazing. They went to see the local wildlife-including Flying Foxes, then went on the family boat to an island where they went surfing before returning in the evening to see an Aussie rules football game between the Swans and the Tigers. The Swans won 108-55.
Gemma Evans stayed with the family she had hosted. She went to a party on the first night and had a BBQ last night. Hannah Williams did exactly the same.
Morgan Curtis’s host had had an exam to prepare for so Morgan went with Shane Harris’s hosts and had a ‘good time’
Max Harris and Rachel Walsh said that they were both staying with really nice families.
Molly Kabia said her host was really nice, although she was a bit younger than her.
Sarah Wedlake and Hannah Breeze-Jones were hosted by the girl Hannah hosted last year. They were getting on really well and went shopping to Bondi junction.
Bethan Rees’ host asked her what her favourite meal was – ‘a roast dinner’ Bethan said. ‘I’ll cook you one for tomorrow night’.
Everyone we speak to has a similar story. The only concern is Jessica Rees who has cold/flu like symptoms and is a little under the weather. She’s not going to play today and hopefully will be OK tomorrow. She tells me that her hosts’ mum is really nice and I’m confident she will be looked after.
We go into a whole school assembly at the start of the day as ‘guests of honour’. Two students from Mater Maria had learnt the Welsh National Anthem and led us by singing it. Before they started they apologised because they had learnt it in English. We try to join in, but it is very difficult trying to sing the Welsh version, when we can’t work out exactly where we are. We try our best.
Mater Maria respond by singing the Australian anthem. Our captains, Tom, Kira and Bethany all speak to the school. It is a daunting prospect for all three, but they do really well and all speak very confidently.
We leave school at 9.15am and drive to Palm Beach. We arrive there at 9.45am and they are filming at the time. The group walk on the beach and have a paddle. It is a fantastic day. There is not a cloud in the sky and the temperature is 24°C. Later in the day we find it is a record temperature for July. We certainly are very lucky.
Mr Walters organises a group to strip down to their shorts and run across the beach doing a ‘Hoff’ impression. It’s pointed out that Baywatch and David Hasselhoff are American. It doesn’t seem to matter to Mr Walters , Keelan Giles, Steffan Gibbon, Jack Cambriani, Rhys Cherry, Joel Young, Callum Macdermott, Scott Smith and Dylan Treharne.
Jayde Anderson dropped her iPhone into the sea – unbelievably it still works.
Mr Lewis caused havoc on the beach by leaning on a surf rescue boat for a photo. It toppled over and caused much consternation, because it was one of the props of a scene. The director came running across shouting ‘This is a film set, please do not touch the props!’ There could be a continuity issue in future programmes.
In a break from shooting, two actors come over to talk to our students. The Headteacher of Summer Bay’s High School John Palmer and his step-son Jet James are the names of the characters who come over. Penny’s Godson, Scott, who is a cameraman on set, also comes over to speak to us. He had earlier given Keelan, Steffan and Jack a chance to feel what it was like holding the camera.
After about an hour, we get back on the bus and drive past The Surf Shop and Alf’s diner before starting back for the games.
We set off to travel to Ryde stadium for the hockey game. Miss Jeffreys organises the ‘Donkey of the Day’ vote. There was the normal plethora of contenders. Molly for throwing money into the harbour and not knowing what type of milk she usually has, Jayde for saying 7/11 was the day a lot of people were killed and for asking where Elaine was when she was sitting opposite to her.
Mr Walters for thinking Mr Mason had need of a hairdryer and Mr Mason for thinking the Mater Maria students were in lessons at 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon. He’d compounded his error by leaving his laptop on the beach at Palm beach.
Other nominations were:
Bethan Rees had turned a few heads when we were in the harbour. A large ocean liner was docked there. ‘Does it move?’ she asked.
Rhys Cherry had got off to a good start with his host when he had tipped water over his iPad and laptop.
Lewis Macdermott was nominated for again being a second offender at not wearing the correct clothing.
Rachael Williams committed the heinous crime of not listening to Mr Mason’s ‘pearls of wisdom’ and had to text him to find out the dress code.
Generous Sian Jenkins had dropped $20 down the toilet.
At his host’s house, Sam Grunhut had locked himself and Tom Froom into the bedroom. They couldn’t get out and the hosts were downstairs thinking they were being anti-social before eventually going to check on them and letting them out.
Rhodri Tyrrell had impressed all with his ornithological knowledge by saying ‘There are loads of parrots here!’ He was referring to the pigeons.
However, when the vote was taken – there was no need to count. The unanimous vote went to Jayde for dropping her phone into the sea as well as not seeing Elaine and thinking 7/11 was the date of a major disaster rather than a chain of stores.
After the vote we are en route to the Ryde stadium, drive past the school and about quarter of an hour later we get a phone call from Mike Hagan. ‘Where are you?’ ‘We’re about 15 minutes from Ryde’ I replied. Oops – I’ve dropped another clanger. We were meant to stop at the school to collect the Mater Maria hockey players.
We do a U-turn and are back at the school by just after midday – offload the rugby and netball teams and collect the Mater Maria hockey players. Mr Walters goes with Miss Jeffreys to the hockey.
At the school, the rugby and netball squads go for lunch in the school canteen. I have a large chicken wrap with a bottle of blackcurrant and apple juice for $6 (about £4) – much better value than the café prices we had been paying.
The rugby and netball teams change. Mr Long goes with Miss Rushworth to video the netball game. Mr Lewis and myself accompany the rugby team. Mr Lewis is really impressing as coach to the team and he warms the team up with his usual authority.
A look across to our opponents shows that we are at a distinct physical disadvantage, both in terms of height and weight. At kick off, we are undaunted and an early powerful run by No.8 Rhys Cherry raises confidence and puts us on the front foot. Our defence is outstanding and we lead 10-0 at half-time with man of the match Callum Macdermott orchestrating play well. He kicked a penalty after 10 minutes and then converted a try by Rhys after 17 minutes.
In the second half the hosts pressed for a score and eventually with 10 minutes to go the defence was breached and fly half Darcy Milne scored beneath the posts for a converted try that cut the deficit to 3 points. A second Macdermott penalty with 6 minutes to go stretched the lead before the hosts pressed for the winning score, but our defence proved impregnable and victory was secured.
The netball girls fared less well, but against a strong netball school they produced a very creditable performance before going down 33-21. Elaine Tucker’s determination earned her player of the match while Ailsa Howells’ skill as a shooter saw her score 19 out of 21 attempts – an excellent return.
We have a sausage sizzler (hot dog) and drink with our hosts and when the hockey girls return, a little late due to my faux pas (sorry girls and Miss Jeffreys) they are excited to have won 3-1. Hannah Williams scored 2 and Rachel Walsh scored the other, and the quickly emerging character of the tour –Jayde Anderson – was player of the match.
Miss Rushworth’s boyfriend Nick told her that he had spent 40 minutes this week smiling at Jayde’s antics and he’s never even met her!
The students depart with their hosts and we are driven back to our hotel by their staff. I have a lift with the principal Marc Reicher, the staff as always have been really accommodating – it is always a pleasure to come here. The Mater Maria staff are to take us out for a Vietnamese meal this evening.
We meet them at 7.00pm and have an enjoyable meal with a variety of dishes – one of which was squid – it’s the first time I’ve tried it.
Back to our hotel by 10.00pm. Another busy day tomorrow – jetboating, followed by transfer to our second set of school’s – Newington and Ascham for a two day stop.


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