We left Goologong with full stomachs from the amazing lunch provided by the locals and a sense of fulfilment from working together to help the community. As we set off on our journey we were sad to say goodbye to our first town but we were also excited to get onto the heated bus (#Goologongwascold) and to find out what we were going to do next.
On the bus to Gulgong we played emotional werewolves and enjoyed ‘fun facts with Ken’ as he educated us on various attractions such as a wheat fields and flour mills. Much to Tim’s delight, we stopped in Parkes to see The Dish which he said was “out of this world”. While we enjoyed The Dish in all of its glory, some lovely lifters took photos while others bought pies (Andres). I spent some time taking photos of birds that sounded like monkeys and attempted to sit on a chair but failed and ended up rolling around on the grass. After an hour and half we got back on the bus and Ken commentated as he attempted to dodge kangaroos.
When we arrived in Gulgong Ken enlightened us with another round of fun facts with Ken. He told us about Gulgong’s history as a gold mining town that was once on the ten dollar note. We were all apprehensive about our stay in Gulgong because a rumour was going around that we were sleeping in a sheep shearing shed. However, we were all stoked to find out that Dave had actually organised accommodation at Red Hill Environmental Education Centre which had heating, showers and mattresses. What a champion. That night, we ate barbequed chicken and lamb cooked by Dave’s team along with delicious salads prepared by Michele, the principal of the school. Our night in Gulgong was emotional and thought provoking as we played team bonding games that involved opening up to each other.
The next day, we split into two groups to do service projects at the school, one group did gardening and the other group painted the outside of a classroom. Then we all got together to do some weeding. The gardening team were digging holes and planting new plants, we had some people digging the holes, some planting plants and others doing both. After digging a hole I foolishly announced “my hole is ready!” (for a plant to be planted in), a statement that has stuck with me for the rest of the trip. John was a tyrant when it came to the technicalities of tree planting, he closely monitored everyone’s dirt compacting techniques. He also seemed to thoroughly enjoy rounding up hoes to hose the plants. The other group managed to paint an entire classroom despite the fact that a large portion of paint ended up on people. We all weeded for an hour or so and then ate a well-deserved lunch of chicken schnitzel burgers. All in all, Gulgong was a lot of fun and Michele was incredibly grateful to have us there to help out.