The Bark June 2017 - Issue 4

Welcome to 'The Bark' June issue.

I'm trying out a new look this month. I hope you all enjoy this format, it has been lots of fun creating it and it has the added benefit of being able to include lots of photos and video without jamming up your inboxes. Again if you have any suggestions, additions, questions or feedback please feel free to email me -

Jane Cahill - Editor In Chief


  • Term Dates
  • 2017 No School Days
  • What's Happening at Candlebark
  • Whitehaven Chess Report
  • Whole School Soiree
  • Fencing Tournament
  • Lerderderg River Reflections
  • St Arnaud - Regional Cross Country Championships
  • Community Notices
  • Local Advertising

Term Dates

  • Term 3 - 24 July to 28 September
  • Term 4 - 16 October 16 to 13 December 13 (Candlebark) 14 December (Alice Miller)

2017 No School Days

  • Total Fire Ban days in Central District
  • June 12 – Queen’s Birthday
  • November 6 – Pupil Free Day
  • November 7 – Melbourne Cup Day

What's Happening at Candlebark

  • June 14 - Winter Sports Day @ Romsey - Football, Teeball, Netball
  • June 29 – Candlebark Whole-School Soiree
  • August 1 - Basketball @ Sunbury
  • August 23 - Athletics @ Bendigo

Whitehaven Chess Report

From the deep dark mind of Andy Moffat

Can’t believe it was March since our last visit to this sweatbox of chess. The PTSD makes it seem like only yesterday: every night, with the cold sweats and the sound of the clocks…

Round 1

Clancy kicking himself for not listening to his manager. Finishing in one and a half, two minutes? A loss…. Correction! A win. But he’s still apologetic for not taking his time, as I wrongly thought he’d lost and continued to berate him. Ooops.

Oscar, on table one, listening and clearly taking his time, and weighing up moves before committing, great. Sasha, Lauren, Ned all win! Taking their time and looking for traps.

Lachlan digs himself out of a self-made hole. Ewan and Lugh come in with wins. Jett and Oscar come in with wins too. Lucas and Will dribble in with good wins. Maisie and Maddie with results too, a loss and a win. Sven and Henry coming in with wins. Rumours of slowing down leading to better decision making are yet to be fully confirmed.

Aidan very pleased with himself, six points down and a back ranking victory with two and a half minutes left. Love those wins.

Brigitte, in a tough game with three and a bit minutes left.

Zara starts with a fried-liver start and a two rook and a queen win.

Brigitte wins with a minute left, and Draco (the artist formerly known as Jake) starts his new career with a fightback win. What a win! Rook King vs Queen King! No surrender!

Round 2:

When you look at a picture, a quick glance gives you a sense of it, but you miss the details in the background, the nuances, you simply don’t fully appreciate it. So when a kid loses with ten minutes left on the clock, I do get a little irritated, even if they were one move away from checkmate. And if a player complains about being rushed by the opposition, I guffaw. I tell them the pleasure I get from taking my time in the big slow bus, while a late commuter tries to rush me from behind; how I’ll even lift my foot a little from the accelerator…childish. Just slow them down, they hate it.

Jett comes back with a deep sigh, having played a knight gambit (losing it on purpose) to get his pawn promoted. A risk which paid off, and again, one of the most satisfying ways to win. I’m loving this today.

Clancy back reporting a loss, and blaming the fact that he took his time….

Aidan has a little freeze at 1.30 left, his opponent on 10 minutes. Loses on time.

Cosi loses one, but his opponent looked strong.

Brigitte, winning on points, loses on time.

Harder second round, as to be expected.

Round 3:

Maisy playing one of those kids who commentates each move, remarking it’s Christmas as he takes a piece, juggling all her dead players in front of her. She’s down, but soon shuts him up, nicking his queen and rook and she should have taken his bishop as he moved it next to her pawn! But she overlooks the obvious, blind to how bad a move it was.

Ned finally loses one, the next one is the test of his resilience.

Lugh has a nose bleed, a jab to H7? He’s down a bishop and fighting for his life on table 2 against an extremely high ranking player. Focus on the board not the player.

Lauren loses too. She’s looking a little tired. I beg her to have a run, get the blood pumping again. Maisy comes back with a very satisfying win. Delighted.

Oscar’s opponent resigns….a victim of the halitosis opening?

Late satisfying wins for Ewan and Lachlan. And reports of Draco’s opponent literally throwing down his king in defeated resignation. Draco allows the smile to cross his face. And Lucas, gosh he’s a fighter, really down on pieces, and battling for the draw, runs out of time. He never leaves a game wondering.

Round 4:

Halfway through and we have 14 on the top 18 tables. I’m off for a cup of tea. I return to quite a few wins and a couple of losses. Lauren makes a mistake and is punished, her second loss on the trot, something we’re trying to eradicate.

Toby loses from a winning position, but will fight in the next.

Oscar loses to a strong player. As does Draco. No shame there.

Round 5:

Slow down, slow down, slow down. It’s not hard, and it’s the most effective thing you can do to improve.

Lucas and Lachlan with quick wins. Ewan with a super fast loss. Lucas apologising for the speed of the win. He’s probably our most considerate player, never rushing a move, and usually losing on time more than a checkmate.

Master Astuto with a satisfying win. Draco loses to a strong opponent, who had pulled him a little put of position early on initiating a bishop knight exchange, but then taking the central pawn the knight had been covering. Really simple but effective.

Jett battle to a fifty move draw against a rook and a king. He’s exhausted! Aiden loses after 36 moves.

Henry, playing the game of his life, losing on time to a kid on 1034 ranking. The kid knows he’s had a lucky escape….Henry disappointed. (That kid went on to come second)

Round 6:

We are a point off first place, Glendal’s fortunate escape from the Bourke just dragging them over the line.

Brigitte, Lucas and Henry have the fate of the team in their hands. On tables four five and six.

We’re all a little tired now, but hoping for a last round bounce. Again I must stress the focus, concentration and effort needed and shown by these plucky warriors. So many tools for life being practised on the board.

Ned with a solid win again! He’s so humble about it all!

A lot of losses though. I don’t know whether it’s down to tiredness, or coming up against stronger players as the day goes on.

Cosi loses to the strong player who just beat Henry.

Round 7:

Post-chocolate round. Some despondency, sadly, and the initial high of rounds 4-5, have been punctured. We’re apparently in bronze, although I’m not so sure. Our top four players are on tables nine to twelve. Henry has a devastating loss on his last game. I feel for him, his last two games have been long and tough, and he made a tired blunder. He’s upset, and four really doesn’t sum up his day.

Wins and losses come in from the tired competitors, it looks like we’ve slid out of contention for a top three finish, which would, in some ways have been a great result. Doncaster Gardens did only send a grade three team, so we shouldn’t get too excited about the performance.

Two points I’d like to make: Firstly I often overhear the question, “How many wins?” which actually upsets me a little. It reduces a game, a struggle, a contest to a number, a comparison, without any of the nuance. I’d love to try and get the players to ask each other something like, “How are you going? How did you do?” and to invite a discussion about the tournament. Chess is not about the result, it’s about the game: the focus, the mutual respect, played over the chequered board. It’s about the fightbacks, the never say die, the fall of the overconfident and rise of the underestimated: it’s about the journey not the destination. So when I hear a kid at the end of the day, sum up a four hour chess odyssey with the answer, “Three,” I do feel a little aggrieved.

Secondly, it feels as though we continue to sit on a level: our best is a five (in A division) and our worst is a 3.5. It’s a tight standard without any really consistent leaders. Lucas, Brigitte and Cosimo, were today, our strongest players, and we need to find ways to strengthen everyone’s games, to build on their clear promise. Time and practice are always needed, but maybe a focus on various chess traps and puzzles may assist them, trying to open their minds to futher possibilities to use during the game. At school we will continue to work on these aspects when we can and to play them during as many lunchtimes as possible, get Leonid in once a month and have a few more dedicated chess sleepovers, but at home, the odd game,, Youtube will offer more specific fine tuning and input.

Whole school soiree

Term Two Whole-School Soirée.

Please set aside the evening of Thursday the 29th of June (2017) for this concert, which will be held at Romsey Mechanics Hall.

Every student in the school will be performing a musical item with their class, as well as performances by the Ska Band, the Ensemble & the Choir (plus a few other surprise items).

If you have any questions about the soirée please feel free to email Taran Carter directly on (and please let him know if your child is unavailable on this night so he can rehearse accordingly).

Fencing Tournament

From the Foil of Aleksey Danilov

Fencing Teams

Under-11 Ungraded (no previous competition experience)

  • Jack Cottingham
  • Reuben Cahill
  • Aidan Ford
  • Harry Pearce
  • Kate Turnbull

Under-11 Graded

  • Sevryn Danilov


  • Jordan Hinrichsen

It can go so many ways when a new fencer steps in to the competition for the first time. Many have shaky hands, butterflies in the tummy, dizzy, etc. The Candlebark crew stepped in fairly confidently and was on a roll, as far as their confidence and game play, towards the second half of the competition. The fact that they were there together and supporting each other was a big one in support of that.

Sometimes I see that fencers' parents take the stand, in their body language and language, while the little fencer is hiding somewhere in the background. This of course was not the case for us, parents sat back and the crew of fencers strutted around in all their gear, making a stand on the piste (fencing area) and off. The goal for the day, as I explained to them all beforehand, was not to achieve some result, though that would be great as well, but to see if they can step into a new environment; the venue and everything else that is new and still be comfortable to play their game and have fun. Its a tick on that one, so far so good.

I've reflected on our crew as a whole, but I have to mention this individual: Before the final in which Harry was about to fence, he came up to me to confirm that the medal is guaranteed for him, win or lose? I replied that although technically he is correct, lets not think like that and to fence his best. He did.

Harry WON the whole kaboozle, hard to believe the little man had that in his pocket, but there you go, bloody champion ;) (get the fencing pun?)

It was a special thing to witness, coming back from 7-9 down in the final, winning that last point, all his mates, brothers, parents, crowding around him in an almost tearful moment. Wow!

Three more competitions to come this year, including a teams event in October.

Adult Fencing Classes

Aleksey's Adult fencing sessions are in full swing. They take place at Alice Miller on Monday and Friday evenings. If you would like more details feel free to contact him on or 0420 687679

Lerderderg River Reflections

Trekked in By Sam Ford

Our journey begins at Alice Miller and will end at Candlebark five days later. We plan to walk from the Lerderderg River, through the Wombat Forest, and over Mount Macedon on our way back to Candlebark. We welcome five Alice Miller students who are joining the Candlebark Year 8 kids for the week – Charlotte, Jack, Remy, Tiarni and Olivia. Most of these kids are new to bushwalking but they could not have picked a finer bunch of people to share their first journey with.

Our bus driver Luke Mitchell negotiates a steep 4WD track with great skill and care and we find ourselves on the crest of spectacular ridge. In one direction we can see the tall buildings of the city, in the other direction lies bush as far as the eye can see. We take a moment to acknowledge the traditional owners, the warm sunshine, and the brave people around us who have chosen to be part of this particular adventure. Then we collect our backpacks and head for the bush.

We descend towards the Lerderderg River on an old track which soon ends abruptly. A wall of thick bush separates us from the steep and rugged country beyond. The contour lines on our map are frighteningly close together. The unknown brings feelings of excitement. We soon find ourselves gracefully slipping and sliding down a near vertical slope to a gully below. As someone rightfully observes, to call this bushwalking is a stretch. When we eventually reach the gully below, we are greeted by a chorus of cheerful birds.

Our first gully leads to another wider gully which has running water and clear pools. A few minutes later we reach the Lerderderg River, just in time for lunch. There are no easy paths to this particular bend in the river, but the one we took may have been one of the more difficult! It’s hard to imagine a better introduction to this remote and wild river valley.

There's no clear path to our planned campsite 2 km along the river. We scan ahead and choose a route that avoids the thickest vegetation and any rocky cliffs. This involves regular river crossings on smooth and slippery stones. Over half the group climbs skilfully through one of the rocky sections we generally manage to avoid, but the number of wet boots and socks slowly grows.

We are very pleased to reach our campsite as the light begins to fade. The familiar rituals of putting up tents, collecting wood and water, starting a fire, and making dinner happen without the need for words. This is the first of many occasions when we feel fortunate to have companions who respond so intuitively to each situation and moment we encounter.

Hugo's hand encounters one particular moment with a rock that requires six stitches to mend. When asked what he will do if the doctor suggests he does not return to the walk, Hugo responds ‘I’ll ask for a very good reason why I shouldn’t return!’ The round trip to the doctor takes a few short hours.

On Tuesday we wake to the sound of lightly falling rain. Sensing the river route might be slow going over wet rocks, we choose to climb steeply to higher ground once again. And there is certainly some climbing involved – those new to bushwalking may be wondering why anyone would ever exchange the comforts of home for a climbing experience like this. Yet the reasons are all around us. Far below us the river reaches into the surrounding hills. White cockatoos fly by. We’re on top of the world.

Our lunch break coincides with a rain shower that passes in the time it take us to set up a shelter. As always, Malakai is there to offer a hand. The afternoon brings all four seasons as we anticipate an icy evening at our campsite on top of a small hill. We toast marshmallows as Leo and his merry band perform a wide repertoire of delightfully catchy tunes. Meanwhile, the ever cheerful Narong carefully prepares himself for a cool evening beneath the tarp.

Wednesday morning is cold when we rise and even colder an hour later. This seems to slow our thinking and our progress considerably – we await the warmth of the sun before doing battle with frozen tent poles and ice covered tents and tarps.

Before leaving, we consider the map and vote to decide whether to venture off track or not. We take the adventurous option and soon find ourselves in a lovely green gully, at the foot of a spur that we follow with ease until morning tea. Hugo carries the map and does a precise job of navigating – there is rarely a moment when he does not know exactly where we are.

Remy is the master of spotting a good campsite – if only we could stay at them all. Coco salvages and cleverly repairs an old camping chair that has been left in the bush. She delights in every aspect of being in the bush. Charlotte regularly reminds us that she is a strong and independent woman. Olivia takes everything in her stride. We reach camp early and our spirits are high.

Thursday shapes as an epic day of walking so we break it into manageable parts. The first part involves crossing both the old and new Calder Freeways. Along the way we pass pine trees that have been felled and placed in neat piles, and we are passed by trucks carrying those same piles away. We reach the Macedon Reservoir in time for lunch. Perhaps for the first time on this walk, we enjoy a feeling of familiarity. Most of us now know where we are, and what still lies ahead.

The second part of our day involves a steep and sustained climb up Mount Macedon. The people we meet at the top are surprised and impressed when they learn where we have come from. One elderly couple request a photo with our very own ‘three musketeers’. We eat chocolate and sweet biscuits and continue on our way.

By the time we reach MacGregor’s Picnic Ground we’re exhausted, but we’re nearly there. Once again, we arrive at camp as darkness falls. Super chef Narong and his assistant Malakai chop a mountain of vegetables. Arie provides unwavering support for those in need. Gilda thoughtfully shares dark chocolate from a bag of treats that would not have lasted beyond the first day if it belonged to anyone else. Jack, Louis and friends pioneer a new stick tossing game that is soon enjoyed by all. It adds to an already engaging entertainment repertoire, which also includes the ridiculous game 'Kunja'.

On Friday morning we welcome the arrival of the sun and the warmth it brings. We farewell Tiarni who has achieved extraordinary things in the four days we have spent together. For the rest of us, Candlebark awaits at the end of our final day.

We pass Sanatorium Lake and descend via a notoriously muddy and frightfully slippery track that would be best tackled with a toboggan. We wander along quiet country lanes lined with huge old trees. Curious cows rush across paddocks to listen to Leo play the guitar while others join him to sing the timeless classic ‘Nasty Nora’. This is soon followed by 'Silly Billy' and 'Scary Mary'. The hits just keep coming. We climb the back gate and officially enter Candlebark!

From a final high point, we reflect briefly on our journey. We commend the efforts of those who have valiantly carried a backpack across difficult terrain for the first time. We acknowledge those who have willingly shared their knowledge and skills in such positive and thoughtful ways. We consider the idea of song line that has been created by us making this remarkable journey from the Lerderderg River to Candlebark.

We follow a familiar path and are greeted warmly by familiar faces as we approach the end of our journey. On this occasion, we find delight in the destination, just as we found delight in our journey and in each other. There is much to admire. It’s good to be back.

St Arnaud - Regional Cross Country Championships

On the Run with Joanne Bourke

Lauren, Brigitte and Toby all ran really well, and they had a great day out together.


U12 B - Toby 10th

U12 G - Lauren 2nd, Brigitte 23rd

Toby and Lauren go through to the State Championships in July. Brigitte missed out on getting through but ran beautifully!

community notices

The Field Trip

Registrations now open for Term 3, starting Sunday July 23. We are building a Farmlette with Teneha Greco! It's a weekly program at The Riddells Creek Neighbourhood House for kids aged 9-17:

Mittagundi - Outdoor Education Centre

Spring and Summer Programs

Mittagundi's programs for the end of the 2017 are open for booking - and we would hate for you to miss out! We have spaces in our 10 day programs and our Follow Up programs (for those who have been to Mittagundi before)

Please support us by sharing this and getting young people, aged 14-17 involved! Remember sponsorship is available if needed, and no camping experience or equipment necessary!

Plenty more available dates on the website at:

Gisborne Soccer Camp
Net Set Go Winter 2017 - Woodend
VicRoads Country Roads Initative

Local Advertising

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