Heathdale flower 01st December 2023

Melton Year 3s Head to Sovereign Hill for a Day

Join the excited Year 3 students of Melton on a captivating Day Camp adventure at Sovereign Hill, where they delve into 1850s life, try gold panning, craft colourful candles and explore Australia's immigration history.

Heathdale flower

All 45 students in Year 3 at our Melton campus excitedly set off for Day Camp at Sovereign Hill on Friday 24th November, accompanied by their teachers Mrs George and Mrs Dixon, and Learning Assistants Mrs Beale and Mrs Horne.

After a quick morning snack upon arrival, we were all greeted by Ma’am who welcomed us to our first educational session. Here we learnt from primary sources of the past (paintings, diary entries etc), just what life was like in the 1850s. With a focus on clothing from the past, we learnt that new clothes were only for the wealthy, with most wearing ill-fitting cast-off clothes and boots. All students had fun dressing mannequins in olden day clothes, determining whether their model was likely to be poor (lower class), middle class or wealthy (upper class). We were all a little shocked to learn that only females wore underpants (pantaloons) in the mid-1800s!

We all spent the rest of the morning panning for gold in the goldfields, hoping to strike it rich. A few of our students actually managed to find some gold specks, but not enough for their teachers to retire on! All had fun learning the technique of panning in the creek, expertly sifting through the pebbles and sand.

A visit to the lolly making workshop had our mouths watering! We discovered that back in the olden days, lollies were a real luxury, with children generally receiving perhaps just one boiled lolly per week, after church on a Sunday, and only if behaviour for the entire week had been good. Original colouring for many boiled lollies in the past came from bugs and often poisonous substances such as arsenic. We all enjoyed a sample of delicious freshly made raspberry acid drops!

Our next experience involved candle dipping. After watching a demonstration on how to achieve a rainbow-coloured candle, all students applied their artistic talents to the skill of colourful candle dipping – a pretty memento keepsake for all our students.

Our final learning experience centred on immigration to Australia in the 1800s. Sir informed us that many from Great Britain, Ireland and other countries ventured across the seas for the chance of a better life in Australia, permanently leaving behind family. Students studied original documents (birth, death and marriage certificates etc), to identify actual immigrants from the past. We also learned how valuable possum was as both a food and clothing source.

Everyone enjoyed strolling along the main street, window-shopping and viewing live theatre re-enactments by Sovereign Hill staff dressed in period costumes. Even intermittent spells of rain couldn’t dampen our spirits – the mud simply added to the authenticity of our step back in time!

Back at school we all enjoyed pizza, a juice box and an icypole for dinner, declaring that Day Camp had been an absolute highlight of our year and well worth the wait!