The Big Lift 2012
Where we went...
In 2012 we expanded and took 2 buses each with around 30 students along for the ride. The Blue Bus visited Muswellbrook, Wallabadah, Bingara and Goondiwindi and the White Bus visited Gulgong, Quirindi, Barraba and Mungindi. Both buses began their journey in Sydney, traveled up to Brisbane via their towns and returned home via Valla Beach.
What we did...
Greeted by members of Friends of Adams Lead, we were given a beginner’s class in identifying plants and what to pull to make sure we did our weeding job properly, then the majority of the team split into smaller groups to work on different areas in the Adam’s Lead property as well as digging holes for posts. Another few team members were doing some amazing sign painting work and one lucky team member even got to pick fresh mandarins for us to snack on throughout the morning. Our efforts were rewarded with a delicious lunch of soup and sandwiches and a visit from two little rescued joeys!
After staying the night at the pavilion in Quirindi, some of our group stayed behind to do some restorative painting at the sports field next door whilst the other half headed to the Quirindi Rural Heritage Village, where we were very lucky to get a tour and then began our service project, gardening and cleaning around the village. We even got to play with a fire truck and were treated to tea and cakes throughout the morning, before the whole team was treated to a delicious BBQ lunch and some wonderful homemade damper and golden syrup.
Again being split into two, one half of the team headed to the Barraba Showgrounds where we had been served an amazing cooked breakfast, our task was to paint poles, in which we are now experts and once more of the team joined in we got a lot of work done. The other half stayed back at the RSL Hall we had spent the night in, repainting the inside walls and some of the exterior details, showing enthusiasm through our passionate singing and were treated to a beautiful piano concert as well.
In Mungindi we worked between the town hall which had generously housed us the night before, doing garden maintenance and general clean up whilst the other part of the team worked at the local Anglican church to clean up the yard and make way for a new playground. We received lessons in how to stamp down soil before putting a layer of grass, which some of our team sourced from another part of town. We celebrated our hard work by playing with frogs and laying on our new lawn.
Muswellbrook was out first stop, as it was in 2011. Again, we were generously hosted by the local PCYC, where we woke up to a delicious bacon and eggs brekkie. After the most important meal of the day, there was a number of jobs we were involved in including massive amounts of painting and some gardening around the centre. We also worked at a local childcare centre, where the team cleaned out the entire toy cupboard and sanitised every single item in there.
In the beautiful little town of Wallabadah, we worked at the local primary school. Big Lifters painted amazing murals in the classrooms, sorted school uniforms and helped a local citizen maintain her regionally-recognised garden. In the evening, we caught up with the White Bus and went stargazing with a group of local astronomers.
Our arrival in Bingara was much-anticipated by the Big Lifters, with the townspeople putting on an enormous spread at the Roxy Theatre, a restored 1930's movie theatre. The Big Lift Olympics followed shortly after, with the leaders of the Blue Bus donning ridiculous outfits and suggesting crazy activities to keep the participants entertained. The next day, the team was planting trees at the Bingara Living Classroom, a world-leading experiment in agriculture science. It was not just a day of service, but a day of learning.
Our final stop service town on the Big Lift was an enjoyable one, with the night spent in a scout hall and our community service comprising of work at a local church and performing Random Acts of Kindness around the town.
Blue and White Buses
Brisbane was our celebration city. Here we were lucky enough to spend two nights. We occupied our days in a couple of ways. The main event was the 'Rethink Social Change' conference at QUT, where TBL Leaders Phoebe and Will presented about the Big Lift, where it comes from and what it's all about. After the conference, the team formed several small teams to perform random acts of kindness around the city. This included a hospital visit, free hugs, singing and dancing in public places, cheer letters and free ice creams. The goal here was nothing more than to put a smile on someone's face and culminated in a flashmob of Carly Rae Jepsen's timeless classic, "Call Me Maybe" in Queen St Mall. Following this, the team entered the revered 'Bigmazing Race'. A scavenger hunt, it spread our blue shirts far and wide across the city of Brisbane.
Here the team took the night to reflect on experiences and focus on how the spirit of helping and empowering others can be carried on once we return home.
To read more about our day-to-day activities and the impact of the trip, check out our blog!