Posted by: jkirkby8712 | November 24, 2010

A Day Up Country!!

It’s a beautiful morning in this part of the world – we have had a couple of quite warm days and nights now, and the same is promised today, following a rather strong gusty north wind blowing around the house overnight.

A good day for a drive in the country, well shall we say further north into the ‘country’ than I already am, for despite it’s proximity to Melbourne, I consider Sunbury to be still an element of country living, city style! That’s the ‘promo’ that attracted us here in the first place, out of the suburbs to a semi rural environment, and while development has been substantial in the past 27 years, it remains to my mind a very pleasant environment  to reside in. But we are heading further north today  – to Bendigo, about an hour or so up the divided highway from Sunbury, where our organisation has planned a general meeting of members. I’ve been given the okay to drive straight from here in preference to driving south into the city and then returning for a late morning meeting. So it’s a slow and relaxed start to my Wednesday, and a chance to catch up on the local regional newspapers.

It was there that I noticed a story involving the Principal of one of the local secondary colleges, Sunbury Downs, the school that my youngest daughter attended for six years, during which time I was a member of the School Council, and Council President for the last two years of Jodie’s attendance. In fact, I’m rather satisfied to say, that in that latter role, I was part of the selection panel that appointed the current principal – in fact come to think of it, that was the third time I had been a part of the Principal selection process in a school, choosing this man’s predecessor some years earlier, while back in the Primary School days, as School Council President on that occasion also, we had a changeover of principals – appointed a woman on that occasion, and I believe she is still there, many years down the track.

Back to Sunbury Downs, which school has received an award –  it was apparently the only school so recognised amongst 17 Victorian employers for it’s support of the Australian Defence Force [ADF] and it’s reservist employees. Reporting from the local ‘Your Community Voice’ this week –  ‘While management have to allow their military employees to leave when necessary, Mr Moore [the School Principal] has offered ongoing support to the school’s chaplain, Marcus Allcot, who is also a chaplain to the ADF. “I believe any staff member at the school is going to be more highly performing if they’re got a rewarding and morefulfilling personal life,” Mr Moore said. “Kids gravitate to Marcus because he’s of interest to them. Kids want role models, someone to see and look up to, so to have a role model with this stature in the school with this level of interest and uptake in the defence force, that’s positive”.’  Principal, Brett Moore, received, on behalf of the School the ‘Defence Reserves Supportive Employer’ award.

Quite sad to hear the news during my drive back to Sunbury this afternoon, that as a consequence of second explosion a few hours ago in the New Zealand mine, all hope of any of the 29 trapped miners surviving last week’s explosion, had now gone, and relatives had been advised that their loved ones were dead.  So after a few days of vague hopes of a miracle, that optimism was suddenly dashed, and instead replaced by the grief of tragic loss. I imagine there will be a lot of repercussions come out of this with angry responses already from relatives that a window of opportunity was losta few days ago to make a rescue effort.  But the rescue team has always insisted that an attempt was too dangerous because of the potential for further explosions, and I think that rightfully they will stick to that proposition. The fact that it was five days before that potential explosion occurred – naturally to all concerned, that seems like a ‘missed opportunity’, but it will never really be known whether a second explosion might have occured earlier, were a rescue attempt made.  Tragic, but bad luck all round!  Certainly however, though expected as I suggested yesterday, a very sad ending to that disaster. Despite that, the safety record in the mining industry in both Australia and New Zealand is fairly good, especially when compared to the numerous ongoing mine disasters in places like China which costs hindreds of lives each year!

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