In October this year I had the good fortunate to be invited by Monto State High School to be part of their fantastic Growing Young Literary Artists in the North Burnett project.
On Wednesday Oct 11th around midday, I flew from Melbourne (where my wife and I were house-sitting) home to Brisbane and from there caught another flight to Bundaberg.
At Bundaberg airport I was picked up by the amazing Kylie (my guide, minder and travelling companion for the next few days) and driven around 175 kilometres to Monto where we rendezvoused at around 8 pm with some of the local teachers for a lovely meal and a chat at the Family Refreshment Cafe & Restaurant.
After dinner, there was a final 20 km drive to my accommodation at the Cania Gorge Tourist and Caravan Park.
The shots below show the view at the start of my journey compared to the view at the end from my cabin at Cania Gorge. Massive improvement!
Right from the start, the organisers of the visit and the great people from Monto made me feel very welcome.
The next day, Thursday, I had three sessions at the beautiful Monto Community Hall presenting to grade 4 – 10 students from schools within the local region.
Attending schools included Monto SHS, Monto Primary School, Burnett State College Gayndah, Mundubbera SS, St Therese’s Catholic Primary School Monto, Abercorn SS, Mulgildie SS. All the students were fantastic to talk to and it was a fun day
Following the sessions, after negotiating the local traffic …
… I had the chance (thanks again to Kylie’s generosity in chauffeuring me around) to take in some of the beautiful sights and scenery of the local area …
… and to also learn some of the history, including the Legend of the Three Moons.
That night (Pizza Night YAY!) and on the following morning at the Cania Gorge Holiday Park, I had the pleasure of spending time with some members of the local writers community and around 30 young keen and talented writers from Monto SHS, Burnett State College and Mundubbera SS who were there on a Writers Retreat.
We were also joined by quite a bit of bird-life!
The students taking part in a Young Writers Retreat were each working on a writing piece that needed to encompass a location, event or identity from within the beautiful Burnett region.
It was terrific to hear these enthusiastic and talented writers discussing their projects and hopefully I was able to provide some advice and writing tips that were useful to them. The students’ completed pieces are to be published in book form and online. A great thing for these young authors and for the local community.
After spending Friday morning at the Writers Retreat it was time to start the long reverse journey back to Melbourne.
A big thanks once again to Monto SHS for the invitation to be a part of this great project and to and all the teachers, volunteers, local people, students and young writers who made the trip so enjoyable for me. Much appreciated.
Look, even the Mulgildie Bunyip was friendly!
And thanks too for the lovely gifts to remember the visit by!
ps: There are two wallabies in this photo although you can only see a tiny bit of the second one.
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