Sunday, May 21, 2017

Jessica Watson

This term Audrey's class has been doing a project on 'Explorers'. When the first emails came out from her (excellent) teacher, I thought it would be great to do someone contemporary (and preferably female) rather than Captain Cook, Christopher Columbus etc who are all essentially just dead old men.

I've actually got a great book on Australian adventurers (picked up from a charity shop) but you soon learn from it that while brave/foolhardy a lot of early exploration in and around Australia was pretty haphazard, expensive and prone to failure.
There are disastrous stories ranging from the calamitous exploration by Burke and Wills (to walk from north to south Australia) and the exploration of inland Australia by Charles Sturt.

Burke and Wills both died (a member of their exploration was saved by local aborigines) meanwhile Sturt marched off into inland Australia (basically a desert) carrying a whaling boat as he was so convinced there was an inland sea...
Audrey and I took to the internet to find someone a) still alive(!) and b) a female. We came up with Jessica Watson - who was young Australian of the year in 2011 for her efforts in circumnavigating the world unassisted when aged only 16.
I bought Audrey, Jessica Watson's book (which she read in a couple of weeks) and we listened to podcasts, youtube clips etc. It was wonderful watching and listening to the enthusiasm Audrey built on her subject - so much better than reading about some old guy getting stuck with a spear in Tahiti (Captain Cook).
On Friday Audrey had to present back to the class. I'm comfortable in saying that she knew more than any other kid presenting on their explorer. I don't know if Audrey will ever learn to sail, or if she'll go on explorations of her own but I was so proud of her knowledge of another young (and great) Australian. I hope so much that the two get to meet each other one day.

Presenting back to Miss Cupid.

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