The Bark September 2017 - Issue 8

I hope everyone enjoys the holidays. Happy travelling or staying at home! Stay safe.

Jane Cahill - Editor In Chief

Just a REMINDER that due to the public holiday for the AFL grand final, on Friday, September 29, the start of Term 4, for students, has been postponed to Tuesday, October 17, so that staff members can get through the work that we need to do. In other words, Monday, October 16, will be a pupil-free day.



  • Term Dates 2018
  • What's Happening at Candlebark
  • Chess @ Castlemaine Gaol
  • 40 Hour Famine Backpack Challenge result
  • Intrepid Alpine Adventurers
  • Grade 4 Camp Reflections
  • Gig @ Holgates
  • Tournament of the Minds
  • Candlebark Engaged 2 Act
  • Intergalactic Candlebark Fashion Week - 13-17 November 2017
  • Community Notices
Term Dates for 2018
  • Term 1: 31 January to 29 March
  • Term 2: 17 April to 22 June
  • Term 3: 16 July to 20 September
  • Term 4: 9 October to 13 December
  • Unlike 2016 and 2017, dates will be the same for both Candlebark and Alice Miller.
What's happening at Candlebark
  • October 24 – Pop Up Globe Theatre excursion – Year 7s in Melbourne
  • November 14 – Spring Soiree
chess @ castlemaine gaol

The muffled sobbing scream of a teacher echoes through the chapel as we wait for the tournament to begin. Whimpering parents, lost amongst a sea of dull-toned uniforms, bereft of coffee and wifi connection. The rancid stench of 178 children. Hard cold surfaces, long thin corridors. This truly is hell.

Luckily Sam Ford has brought me an almond croissant, which is lifting my spirits.

Sixteen schools are here, four organisers and a rubbish microphone.

Round 1:

Amelie, poor girl, stuck playing against one of those annoying commentating kids which I just want to see lose so, so much. Good luck Amelie!

Phoenix with an early win.

Jimmy sitting on his hands between moves, good lad! Banjo thinking through every move too.

Banjo wins, Dane gets his, Amelie unlucky, Lachlan gets over the line. Oscar disappointed to lose. Eva happy. Ziggy delighted, getting a pawn promotion and winning.

Clancy wins! With twenty seconds on the clock and from being a queen down!

Arlo fights to the bitter end, and despite being well down on points and pieces, he wins on time! Never surrender!

I’m obviously not going to be able to stay on top of this all day.

10.50 and the first round is about to finish. I’m not paid enough for this prison/chess torture.

Sven wanders in, finally, a sheepish grin on his face, “I forgot to tap the clock….” He’s lost on time to a kid he always beats. Annoying!! But good attitude, and hopefully a lesson learnt. And hopefully that won’t come back to bite us later.

They’re aiming for six rounds today, and at fifty five minutes a round, plus a half hour break for a double booked tour (!!?!) they’re dreaming. Four rounds if they’re lucky.

Round 2

Amelie in a ding dong battle against another young lady, both down to a rook and queen, really having to think things through, but short on time. Cosi with a double sacrifice to get a checkmate, he sounds in fine form. Jimmy with a win! Hurrah!

Chae sort of lucky to win, his opponent missing a chance at the end, but he was up a queen. Phoenix a win. Arlo wins properly this time, almost smiling, his mother Emma a bag of nerves! Sven with a casual win despite playing the worst game of his life. Amelie fights hard for the draw, very well done. And my favourite moment so far, a clearly proud Brigitte helping her exhausted li’l brother from the table after a hard fought win on table one! Go Astuto!

Clancy defends hard, spots his opponent’s error, and strikes, to get a win from a losing position, with a minute left.

Dane castles and loses three or four moves later. In other words, he castled the wrong way…

Round 3:

So many events to report, so little time. Lugh loses to an unusual opening. Phoenix meets his match. The Astutos continue to dominate: they’ve been playing on neighbouring tables since the first round, and now own tables one and two. Jimmy fights hard for his second win. Arlo gets a draw from a topsy turvey game. Lachlan is being made to work very hard for a win.

Cosi upset to have been tricked into losing his queen. Sounds like a sacrifice sucked him in. Lachlan does well to win, despite missing an obvious skewer. Arlo remains unbeaten. Maddie and Eva on two out of threes.

Its 12.11

Round 4:

Jimmy loses, a little too quickly. Henry A is looking incredible on the top table! Lugh gets a quick win! Maddie continues her pattern of win lose win! Dane grabs another, as does Sven. Clancy too. Oscar and Jett back on form. We just need to get a run of wins now. Brigitte loses on time, despite a valiant fight. And Henry wins, he’s having one of those days.

We’re half a point off first place, with a fifty minute enforced lunch break to get through. Big shout out to Mitch, our very helpful helper, who is taking the kids for a couple of games of octopus, and generally helping them get some exercise after a long morning of sitting down.

Round 5:

Please let us win!!!

Back from lunch, and straight into it. Jett and Lugh deliver pressure wins. Henry finally loses a game: what a run he’s had. Clancy, Lachlan and Sven working real hard. I’m aching for this, but it’s going to be incredibly tight.

Oscar digs hard and so, so deep to get a point from a losing position. It means a lot, and feels like a big win. What I also love is that Ziggy watched it and saw how important it is to fight to the end, to keep your head and to put pressure on the opponent to get the win.

Jimmy with another win, a PB for the boy. There have been a few PBs today.

We are literally going to be running out the door when this next round finishes, so I’m afraid there won’t be much said. I’m nervous, Clarendon College look like they had a very good round there…

Round 6

Five or six of us are playing the top school. I am so nervous. We are a point behind. We need full focus and as many positive results as possible.

Banjo does the dirty and gets a four move checkmate in front of his suitably proud, and indeed beaming, parents!

I’m logging off now, I have to watch……

I can’t begin to tell you how exciting that was. Jett, Oscar, Lachlan, Clancy, Sven and Dane! Oh Dane!

The sixes stand up to be counted, and when it’s needed the most. This last round is high pressure, high stakes, must win games. Unfortunately it’s the same for the opposition, and there have to be winners and losers. Dane is playing fast and well, and is up on time, but very down on points. His opponent, finally, just, just, gets the checkmate with fifteen seconds on his clock. Dane is watery eyed, and a little shook up at the end, but he sees, feels and hears the support of his team mates, and I’ll admit to a quiver in my voice as I tell him how proud I am of the effort he put in. With a good twenty to thirty spectators, on the last meaningful table of the day, he has fought from a losing position for most of the game and almost pulled off a point he had no right to. More importantly, personally, he copes with it like a true champ: showing the younger kids how to deal with the obvious disappointment with grace and style.

Jett has bounced back from an early set back to get a five. Oscar started on the wrong vibe, but fought on, and made one of the most important points of the day from a losing position. Sven has calmly worked his way up the ranking, whilst Clancy has come back from queen down positions to win games where others may have given up. There’s so much more fight and grit to this team than a year ago, so much more support and camaraderie, and I’m absolutely delighted with them today.

Slightly further down the grades, in one, two and three, look at those scores! A lot of really creditable personal bests, and not many games actually lost. Plenty to learn from, and some areas to practise: finishing, scanning (as always) being the main ones, and double checking your move.

Finally a very special mention to three students: Lachlan and Henry A, who led us from the start, getting four out of four, and giving the team some really important belief. And Amelie, who hasn’t been to many (if any) tournaments, and fought and played and used her time, and got rewards, and missed out, but who kept going to the end, with a smile and just a really lovely positive demeanour.

The results, tell us the results! Well, due to some timing issues for the organisers, again, we had to leave before the final results came in. We had been a point off first going into the last round, with two schools breathing down our necks, half a point behind. As I said, the sixes really all stepped up to the mark in the last couple of rounds, and played as well as could be asked of them. But had it been enough?

The text came through as we drove through Chewton, I’ll never forget it.

First! We had tied for first! But then had come second on countback.


It basically means working out whose wins are worth more than whose wins….!? Dodgy I reckon, when surely a countback of the two schools’ enrolments would have given us the coveted first place trophy, and even more coveted handmade chess set, and clearly made more sense. Also, if we’re going to waste more time and energy on making good reasons why we deserved to win, it’s clear if it had gone to the most important seventh round, the momentum was clearly with us. And I’m too adult to mention the total lack of grades four and five (except for the undertheweather Cosi) costing us a few more points.

Second out of sixteen is perfectly acceptable, although I do have a slightly bitter taste in my mouth and I yearn for revenge at the state finals in about one month! GET PRACTISING CANDLEBARK! LET’S GET TO THE NATIONALS!!!

By Andy Moffatt

40 hour famine backpack challenge

Our final fundraising total was: $3689. An awesome effort!

Best Wishes,

Sam Ford

Intrepid alpine adventurers

Dear parents of intrepid alpine adventurers,

Please enjoy some reflective writing from our recent Mt Stirling ski tour. Amy and I feel an enormous sense of admiration for the spirit in which everyone tackled this epic adventure. It is such a formidable feeling when you are living in pelting snow and it is minus seven degrees. The environment was ferocious and fiercely beautiful. We sang, we built jumps and an igloo, we dug snow tunnels and knocked snow from the roof and sides of our tents again and again and again. We admired icicles hanging from gnarled Snow gums and developed our snow ball accuracy and acquired the skill of the snowplough stop…eventually! Many of us skied until dusk and then donned head torches until dinner.

Three cheers to the resilience and sheer guts of these eleven fine people (we missed Coco greatly) Coco spent the four days recovering from an illness with only Bruce Willis for company.

Kalum, Harrison and Steven were our wise sages from Year 12. They had epic stacks too and were epic company and brilliantly positive.

Amy and I would go skiing with all of them (next time Coco is coming) again on any snowy mountain on any continent.

Enjoy their reflections.

With our very best wishes, Kate and Amy



We piled on the dodgiest of Candlebark buses with a sense of excitement. We were about to embark on a new adventure. The excitement wore off as the bus trip dragged on. It was renewed again as we began to climb up the first bit of the hill. After a good twenty minutes we stopped in a cleared area next to the road and parked next to what can only be described as an army bus. It was about three quarters of a coach long but much taller and the wheels were at least one metre tall. As we jumped in there were cries of excitement as the first dirty piles of snow appeared. The novelty soon wore off as the bitter cold sunk in…


A card game always seemed to bring up our spirits in the warm steamy hut (the sanctuary) after a long day of convincing myself I had frostbite every time my fingers got remotely cold. Near the hut we walked up and flew down the same hill over and over without the thought of boredom ever crossing our minds. When the trip was coming to an end, we kicked the last of the snow off the tent, packed up our bag and clicked on our skis for the last time. We slid down the remaining slopes and shared our last few ungraceful tumbles together. When we arrived at the ski hire we shared our last few slightly soggy vitawheat biscuits and jumped on the bus to head home. I opened my last ‘’hot hands’, packets then drifted off to sleep on top of Hugo’s uncomfortable pack. I woke up to the exited chatter of the long awaited chips and potato cakes. As Amy stepped on the bus the smell of chips filled the bus. No better way to finish an amazing trip!


The hut was warm, but not warm enough to dry my consistently wet gloves.

The snow was fun but not fun enough to spend three consecutive days in it.

The weather was bad but not bad enough to make us ski back.

The skis were grippy but not grippy enough to stop us sliding down hills.

The snow was cold, it was definitely cold enough.


The trip started off with me getting electrocuted trying to chase a chicken and almost getting charged by a bull while we waited for the extremely bogged bus to get towed. When we finally arrived at the snow I was the first to throw a snowball. Throughout the trip I got a fair amount of snow in the face, we were at the summit skiing down on a fast windy track and I went face first into a clump of snow gums. It felt like Mike Tyson hit me in the mouth.


The nature of being in the snow is so overwhelming. The temperature dropped to minus seven degrees when it started to snow. It was so cold you could see your breath.

We shared the King Spur hut with other schools like Eltham College and St Kevin’s and played a card game together called “Bullshit.” It’s a really good game.

The three days when we were up at Mt Stirling were amazing. The first day of cross country skiing was hard to learn. I also knew that it will not be easy for any of the Year 8’s. Hugo fell at least fifteen times. I fell at least eighteen times, but I can’t wait to go again (without my backpack next time!)


Life in the snow is the hardest thing I may have ever done. I watched my friends fly down the pristine, white snow. I learnt a lot about myself, watching my friends. My friends found freedom, I found everything, I found myself. I guess to truly find yourself you have to be overwhelmed. I struggled the whole time, the whole way, but I never gave up. If we can live in snow where the icicles hang above your head, where the snow gums creak from side to side as the iced wind pushes against their heaving trunks and where the alpine ash trees freeze, we can do anything. I think the number one thing that I have learnt from this and will take forward for ever more is that what you drill into your head will happen. If you believe in succeeding you will, if you don’t you won’t.

For me the first day was a struggle. I told myself I was bad at skiing and with that cemented in my mind, it ruined my week for me. The second day I got the hang of going up that hill. That was when we skied up to GGS Hut, which is near the summit. I got confident we played we skied we had lots of fun. Then we had to go back down the mountain… that didn’t go well for me. Everyone fell over ten times. I fell at every turn and there were a lot of turns! The last day we got to a hill near the machinery shed where I made it down the hill without falling. I was told that I was one of the only people that didn’t fall down that hill! From then on my confidence was boosted and I fell less than half as much.

As the trip furthered on, I started to change my mindset about the whole experience, the more I became to embrace and get the hang of skiing. There were ups and downs of the trip and the ups made it all so worth it. The hills were winding and steep as Leo and I flew down the hill, we were both going way to fast unable to stop. Our skis got tangled and I bowled him over! We were flat on our backs like turtles and couldn’t get up. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much.

Time is precious, although it was hard I’m glad I did it. Having said that Leo and I have both said

“It was great, we're never doing it again!” That was our agreement.


I want to tell you about an epic stack on the last day. After walking sideways down a vast slope there was a zig zag path down towards Kate and the others. I turned my skis around and start heading towards them. I hear someone yelling behind me and I fall over sideways. I look up and see Kaleem flying past, swearing loudly. I get up and start skiing again, pulling up my frozen beanie just enough to see a sharp turn in front of me. Suddenly my skis stick into the snow and I fly forwards onto my face. After trying many attempts to push myself up I decide that the only way to get up is to push myself up with my face to allow me to get my skis out from under me!


I’m not a very hard person to please, a pair of skis and a good attitude and I'm set. There's something about the feeling of weightlessly gliding up a hill as if you had wings. Seeing the pristine white snow gums fade in the fog of your goggles. Feeling the refreshing coolness of each and every single snow flake to land on your rosy red cheeks. The crunch of your ski as it makes an imprint in the fresh snow. There's nothing not to love about the snow. And it sure was a trip to remember with all my smiling friends by my side (well mostly smiling).

Grade 4 Camp reflections

Our Home by Quinn

Kooyoora campsite has lots of gum trees. Some old and scarred, some green and bendy with youth. The dirt is yellow. Fire pits are black from previous visitors. Disgusting drop toilets are smelly from previous visitors. But it’s our home and we like it.

Tents and tarps are put up. Our camp kitchen is constructed. Sleeping mats and sleeping bags rolled out. Once that was done we walk to explore the wormhole nearby. Storm clouds are appearing on the horizon. Our adventure is just beginning.

The Wormhole - by Kai

The Wormhole is an underground granite tunnel that forms part of the Melville Caves. There is a spider web every five centimetres and it’s only just big enough to fit me! After about, oh, ten minutes, of sliding along on your butt, you get to a chamber and a fork in the tunnel. One leads into a much smaller tunnel, the other leads into a passage that’s almost big enough to stand in. Both tunnels lead into a giant cave that’s big enough to stand in. Both tunnels then lead into a massive cave called Melville’s Cave, named after the famous bushranger. Thankfully there’s a big hole to crawl out of and get some much needed fresh air.

Walking off track – by Ellie

On Wednesday, our last full day, we went on a bush walk and learnt how to use a compass to navigate. I also had a go at carrying Tamara’s backpack which was about 15 kilos! Most of our walk was off track, which is why we needed to use our compass. It took us two hours or so of navigating. I had a go at using the compass and the map and it was really fun.

After walking through the bush for two hours we arrived at a sacred Aboriginal site. There was a scarred tree that had a large chunk of bark removed. We thought it was probably used to make a canoe but Tamara told us there are no rivers nearby. The tree was facing west, which represents death to the Aboriginal people, so the bark was most probably used to make a coffin. It was very special to visit this place and learn about it.

Woohoo Wednesday by Spencer

Wednesday is the last night. We drew constellations, and some of us wrote stories to go with them. Most of the group went on a hike during the day, but Draco, Mackenzie, and I stayed at the campground. Draco stayed because he was on crutches, Mackenzie wanted to keep him company and I just banged my chin. We played cards, went back to the caves, and got the fire going for sausages. It was magnificent. When the others came back they told us stories of navigating through the bush and visiting sacred Aboriginal sites. Here’s my constellation story I was telling you about:

Fish boat

Once a man, name unknown, decided to fish at night. He saw the fish boat constellation and started to fish. I’m going to call him Guna because he was born here before the white people. Guna lifted his net. He caught 100 fish. Twenty nights after, he ran out of emu and went fishing again. The constellation was there. He caught 100 fish. Guna swore only to fish when the fish boat constellation was in the sky.


gig @ holgates

The Ska Band performance at Holgates on Tuesday night was nothing short of spectacular. The room was SO full of people that many of the audience members had to resort to any means possible to get a glimpse of the musical action.

Lovely photo by Sam Sslicer of the concert at Holgates - from an unusual perspective!

The fans at the gig ranged in age from the very, very young to the oldest grandparent ... see if you can spot the youngest fan.

A little musical interlude from Holgates.

Candlebark parent Paul Kooperman runs a group called The Field Trip. He contributed this piece about one of their activities:


On Wednesday 13 September, two Candlebark students, Arie and Ilke Sawyer (along with 7 other local kids) achieved the incredible by attending the inaugural Engage 2 Act Unconference at the St Kilda Town Hall, aimed at community engagement experts and professionals across the country, to facilitate a workshop on 'strengthening engagement with young people' for the other speakers, high profile guests and delegates.

Engage 2 Act is the peak body for those who work in the field of community engagement, in government, the not for profit and private sectors. It is a specialised field but all about assisting community members to have a say on matters which affect them(https://www.engage2act.org/).

With a room of 50 conference participants and speakers from all over Australia, Hong Kong and elsewhere, Arie and Ilke took to facilitating their small groups like they'd been doing it for years. Ilke taught the workshop participants a song, Arie led them wonderfully in wrapping wool around themselves symbolising their feeling of 'community'.

You can see highlights of the workshop here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoU06-cNaG0

The Board of Engage 2 Act said it was their favourite workshop throughout the conference. The 'kids' have now been asked to consider a huge next step: becoming the 'youth division' for Engage 2 Act locally and nationally. Something to consider.

Very excited for Ilke, Arie and the other kids involved.

The Field Trip - Helping kids find their passion, peers and path.

intergalactic candlebark fashion week - 2017

After the International success of the Candlebark Fashion Week 2016, the Fashion Week Committee has decided to go Intergalactic for 2017.

The event will take place at Candlebark from November the 13th to the 17th.

As inspired by the 10 principles of the Burning Man festival in Nevada, this event fosters Radical Self-Expression, Communal Effort and Leave no Trace. Every day, students and staff are invited to dress up according to the theme of the day.

The fashion Week Committee care about the health of our beautiful planet. Did you know that fast fashion is the second dirtiest industry, only coming in behind the oil industry in terms of pollution? At the Fashion Week Committee, we consider our students as the leaders of tomorrow and we encourage them to review the way we live and consume. Thus, we are asking our designers to Reduce/Recycle/Reuse/Rethink/Repurpose in the process of creating their outfit.

As last year, we will reward the most outstanding girl and boy outfit every day with organic fair-trade milk chocolate.

This event is of course completely voluntary. No one should feel pressured to partake in the fun. On the Friday, we will have an Intergalactic catwalk for morning meeting. Feel free to come and watch the show.

Thanks, Steve Pollet

The program for this 3rd Fashion Week will be:


It is Moonday. Park your spaceship, watch the lack of gravity: you are in orbit.


Arabesque, entrechat, sur les pointes, move with the grace of a Ballet dancer today.


Is white a color or a shade? How many white things can you name? Come and dress as one.


Transform your thoughts and you transform your world. This Thursday, transform yourself.


Dive into the storybooks and be your favourite fairy tale character.

tournament of the minds
Photos by Wendy Wright

Community Notices

rental house needed

Hi there Candlebark folk

We have just sold our house and we are looking to rent in the next month or two. I thought I'd put the world out in case anyone knows of anything coming up. We are looking around the Gisborne - Woodend area but pickings seem slim so not too fussy!

Thanks - Ange, Mark, Eva and Ziggy

another rental house needed

Melbourne teacher Nat Haimon, and her carpenter-husband, want to move to the Macedon Ranges later this year. Nat has been working one day a week at Candlebark already and will go up to 3 days a week next year. They are looking for a house to rent ... Nat is a fabulous teacher, a good human being, and she and her husband would make wonderful tenants. Please email Nat if have anything available nhaimon7@gmail.com

House Sitter Wanted

From Robyn and Tim Murphy, parents of Will and Henry:

We are looking for a house sitter from 4-15 October. Would anyone in our school community know of someone interested, please?

We are in Woodend & have two dogs & a guinea pig that will require feeding, a knee to sit on - especially for the staghound X who thinks she is the size of a chihuahua and the option (or not) of a walk.

We can be contacted on 0409 322 809.

Thank you, Robyn & Tim Murphy

Digital Learning

Term 3/4 School Holidays – NAO Workshops for Students!

Swinburne University will be holding a NAO workshop for students over the Term 3/4 school holidays. NAO robotics course is designed to introduce students to Read more…

by Jillian Brown on September 20, 2017

Woodend little athletics
Reena's Rainbow Workshop
Young Adult Fiction Author visit
Woodend Neighbourhood House - Term 4
Gisborne Holiday Soccer Camp
Gisborne Little Athletics

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