The Auracle – Volume 37, November 2019


From the Principal’s desk

Residential schools are an important and highly valued component of the Aurora experience for students and staff alike. Of course, we have just completed our second residential for the year; the tenth since the school was established in 2015. Time certainly does “fly when you are having fun.”

Geoff Goldrick (Dr G) taking a brief rest from frontline firefighting duties on the North Coast

As principal of this remarkable school, I had countless reasons to feel great pride in the bright lights of Aurora during residential week. The cooperation, enthusiasm and gratitude shown by our students was frequently remarked upon by staff, visitors and members of the public. Congratulations to one and all. You are a credit to Aurora, your home school, your families and yourselves.

As I like to remind our students at the first assembly of each residential school, our staff have partners and families they leave behind to attend the camp. This obviously takes a great deal of planning and preparation before they arrive on-site, ready to deliver the best experiences possible for our students. Our shared teachers must also prepare lessons they will miss in their home schools during residential week. It speaks volumes for the commitment of the Aurora staff that they prepare such high quality learning experiences for our students to enjoy whilst on camp.

In case you were in any doubt, therefore, planning and delivering a residential school is a monumental achievement for all staff, especially the residential coordinator. On this occasion, the management of the event fell to Connor Boyco. Connor delivered an outstanding program and I thank him sincerely for his dedication and hard work. Of course, Connor was well-supported by a wonderful team in our Sydney office who worked together to ensure another fun-filled educational extravaganza. Congratulations and thank you to each and every staff member who played a part in residential school number 10.

The many highlights of the residential school week are documented in words and pictures throughout this edition of The Auracle. A first for our residential schools was the livestreaming of the presentation assembly. I am informed by our technology gurus, Ben Hillsley and Sean Will, that we had in excess of 80 connections for the live event. If the feedback via telephone calls and emails is anything to go by, it was an experience that was appreciated and enjoyed by many of our Aurora families and friends.

The presentation assembly was a special event, not only because we were able to celebrate some of the many achievements of our students with their families, but also because we all had the opportunity to listen to Sharon Ford give the keynote address. As I wrote in the September issue of The Auracle, our school has had no greater supporter and no greater advocate than Sharon. For those of you who were not able to join us for the live event, a recording of Sharon’s inspiring keynote address is to be enjoyed below.

In 2020, we will welcome a record number of new students and their families to our school. Throughout this term, we have hosted a number of livestreamed ‘meet and greets’, providing important information and insights into how our school operates. In the coming weeks, our new students will also have the opportunity to meet some of their future classmates and teachers as they explore the virtual learning environment. Advice has been provided via email to all new Aurora families. Please contact the coordinating office if you have any questions or concerns.

At each of the livestreams we have spoken of the strong connections Aurora students form with their Aurora peers and teachers. We have also shared data which supports a widely held view that the Aurora experience for students is characterised by an engaging and challenging curriculum, a strong sense of belonging, and an environment where students feel comfortable to be themselves. At the residential school presentation assembly, Libby Hoyle (Year 10) spoke about her Aurora experience. To our new students and families I say, don’t take my word it, just listen to Libby.

As I write this article, our state is in the grip of what has been widely acknowledged as the worst drought since records began. In recent weeks, a deadly accompaniment has been a bush fire emergency without precedence, resulting in four deaths and a trail of destruction across our parched land.

Throughout the emergency, a great many of our partner schools have been closed to ensure the safety of students and staff. For up-to-date information on schools that have temporarily ceased operations due to adverse weather conditions, bushfire activity, emergencies or other incidents, visit

Many of our families have been dealing directly with the dangers and threats of the bushfires, including our own Geoff Goldrick (Dr G), who has been battling the fires with his crew on the North Coast. We are at the start of what may be a very long fire season this year, and we thank Geoff and the hundreds of brave ‘firies’ like him for their service.

Communities all over the state are obviously doing it tough in these challenging times, so I want to take this opportunity to remind families that applications can be made to the Aurora Student Assistance Scheme for financial assistance with education costs for your child. For further information, please contact the coordinating office via email to or by toll-free telephone on 1300 287 629. Please be assured that any approach will be treated as confidential.

Chris Robertson  | Principal

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Deputy Principal’s report

Wrapping up our tenth residential since opening, I would like to thank our Aurora family for making this one just as memorable as the previous events.

The first residential next year will be held in Term 1 from Monday 2 March 2020 to Friday 6 March 2020. The ‘res’ will take place at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation on Sydney’s northern beaches, only 45 minutes from the centre of Sydney and moments from Narrabeen Beach.

Attendance of students in Term 4

The NSW Department of Education requires all students to attend school until Wednesday 18 December, the last day of teaching for Term 4 2019. Prior to this date, students in all year groups will be engaged in meaningful work based on the curriculum and syllabus requirements.

If parents are seeking permission for their child to be absent from school for a period of time, then the Exemption from School – Procedures should be followed and permission sort from your home school. A copy of this documentation should then be forwarded to Aurora College.

Assessments for students in Term 4

As we progress through Term 4, many assessments will be completed by students that will contribute to their yearly results for 2019. Students must ensure they are well prepared for these assessments and that they give their best effort. Students who require extra assistance with their study routines should contact our Stage 3 & 4 Learning and Support Teacher, Lucy Jellema, or Stage 5 & 6 Learning and Support Teacher, Cathy Groth, on 1300 287 629.

Preparations for 2020

We continue to work with our partner schools in preparation for 2020. With our support, this term our partners will:

  • appoint a science teacher to deliver the science practical program in 2020
  • appoint a teacher to undertake the role of Aurora College Coordinator in 2020
  • construct their school timetable to ensure each:
    • Year 7 to 10 student is timetabled to attend all Aurora lessons in English, mathematics, and science; have one timetabled science practical period per fortnight per Stage; is able to attend all partner school lessons; and have the allocated recess and lunch breaks at the home school
    • Year 11 and 12 student is timetabled to attend all their Aurora lessons; is able to attend all partner school lessons; and have the allocated recess and lunch breaks at the home school
  • ‘room’ each student in a suitable area of the school where they are able to connect to Aurora’s virtual learning environment on a department computer (connected to the network via an ethernet cable) and connect to the department’s wi-fi network on their Aurora-supplied personal device
  • ‘room’ science practical periods for each stage in a laboratory
  • complete each students’ integrated timetable showing clearly when each student is attending Aurora College lessons and lessons at their ‘home’ school.

Further information can be viewed by all community members on the Partner School Information page of our website.

What’s coming up this term?

  • Year 11 reports issued Friday 15 November 2019
  • Year 6-10 reports issued Friday 13 December 2019
  • Year 11 new student and parent ‘meet and greet’ to be held via livestream on Tuesday 19 November 2019 from 3- 4 pm.
  • New Year 7 Orientation Program Wednesday 27 November, 2-3 pm
  • New Year 8-11  Orientation Program Thursday 28 November, 2-3 pm
  • New Year 7 Orientation Program Friday 29 November, 2-3 pm

Save the date 2020

  • The residential next year will be held in Term 1 from Monday 2 March 2020 to Friday 6 March 2020. All Years 7 to 10 students must attend.

Kathy Klados | Deputy Principal

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Residential School Term 4

So concludes another fantastic Residential at Aurora College. Despite the smoke haze, we were blessed with fantastic weather which allowed our students to explore rock pools, go on coastal walks, explore historic Sydney sites and most importantly, spend time with their Aurora peers and teachers!

In keeping with the Shakespeare theme we were also fortunate to view performances from the Bell Shakespeare Theatre Company at the iconic Sydney Opera House, as well as a thought provoking performance by Zeal Theatre. On every occasion, the students conduct was to be commended. Everyone exhibited outstanding behaviour, upheld the values of Aurora College and were fantastic representatives of the school. I for one, look forward to the next residential and cannot wait to see you all there!

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Connor Boyko | Head Teacher, Teaching & Learning (Rel.)

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Opportunity Class Pilot

Our Stage 3 have been very busy with the start of the new Year 5 intake. These 48 students from 23 partner schools have begun their orientation program in new classes.

It has been a delight to visit a couple of schools this term, including Crescent Head Public School and Coopernook Public School. I’d like to thank you for your support and enthusiasm for the program and I look forward to meeting other new students before the end of term.

All Stage 3 students and partner schools were invited to attend our recent masterclass with Gerrard Southam from Animal Logic. It was a fantastic opportunity to be immersed in the world of Visual FX and hear about the animation and film industry. His experience with films such as the Hobbit, Lego Movie and Peter Rabbit 2 had us enthralled. Learning about the skills required for such a profession and the challenges faced was a chance for students to reflect on their future ambitions. Thank you to Gerrard for your time and your enthusiasm in sharing your knowledge.

Our next masterclass will be with NSW State Library. Stage 3 schools will be sent a flyer for registration in the coming weeks. This masterclass will focus on Indigenous people and identifying local tribes.

Year 6

Year 6 have been working on their Fantastic Beasts assignment. In conjunction with our masterclass with Taronga Zoo, students were challenged to design an ideal enclosure for a mythical creature, thinking carefully about the structural and behavioural adaptations which help it survive.

When designing and building the enclosure, students took into account the environmental needs of the creature, as well as needs of staff and visitors to the enclosure. Many students chose to create enclosures using the many features that Minecraft offers. Their detailed Minecraft worlds demonstrated exceptional creativity and attention to detail. Many enclosures also encompassed ancillary features such as cafes, playgrounds and toilets.

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This term, Year 6 have been participating in a Transition program with our High School teachers. They have had the opportunity to experience Maths, Science and English from a high school perspective. It has been a great opportunity for students to engage in some different and challenging content, as well as being rewarding for our high school teachers.

We are currently participating in a short course with Coder Academy where Year 6 students have been coding their Circuits Playgrounds using JavaScript. This 5 week course will encompass MakeCode and CodePen to assist with their coding.

Year 5

In this term’s orientation program for Year 5, students have had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with how to use Adobe Connect and OneNote in the Aurora classroom.

Our STEM challenge, Hold the Phone has allowed students to interact with the design thinking process; beginning by defining the problem and empathising with the needs of their audience when providing solutions. Students practised drawing on their laptops (a skill learnt through time and patience) to design their device holder. STEM Kits have been provided to each school with a range of materials that students are now using to build their prototypes. The results so far are amazing and we are impressed with the passion students have shown so far. We are very excited to keep on working with these superstars!

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Upcoming parent webinars for Year 5 include: Meet the Teacher Afternoon and Accessing the Sentral Parent Portal. Please find details for these sessions on the Aurora college website:

Serena McLean | Assistant Principal

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Opportunities to shine

The University of New South Wales has launched a Girls in Engineering Club in the last few months, and it is now open for signups. Aurora  students have been invited to join! It’s FREE and online, with optional monthly ‘hot topics’ and challenges. For example, the theme for November is Rural Solar Energy Systems. More information can be found in this fact sheet.

The Girls in Engineering Club is a fun, inspiring community for girls who study maths or science at high school, are interested in STEM, or who just want to explore what engineering is all about.

There is also a recording available from the panel session at the launch event, which features a number of inspiring female alumni from UNSW who are all different engineers talking about their career paths. You can view the session here.

Let me know if you sign up, I would be happy to support you in this.

Kate Thompson | Head Teacher Teacher & Learning

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HSC Study Days 2019

Professor Tim Bedding presenting a session on electromagnetics at the Physics HSC Study Day

HSC study days are an important part of students’ preparation for their HSC examinations. Unlike students in metropolitan areas and some larger regional centres, students in rural and remote communities have few choices available to them to revise with subject specialists, experienced teachers and HSC markers.

Following a successful trial in 2016, Aurora’s HSC Study Day Series has grown through the years to become an important event on school calendars across the state. The 2019 program was our biggest to date, with almost 11,000 students from 654 schools joining Aurora’s Year 12 students in the virtual learning environment for HSC examination advice and up to date information on course content.

View an infographic with all the facts and figures for the HSC Study Day Series 2019.

Maintaining Aurora’s commitment to share expertise and to facilitate opportunities that otherwise would not be possible for students and staff across the state, the HSC Study Day Series will be back again in 2020.

For details, visit .

Kate Thompson | Head Teacher, Teaching & Learning

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Faculty news – English, HSIE and Languages

Writer’s Prize

Stage 4

Winner – Coming For You by Danika Myers

It’s a horrible night. Rain and wind constantly lash and my loose clothing, trying to tear them away. Not that I mind. In fact I work best on these kinds of nights, when the misty rain can keep me hidden. I wait patiently, scoping out the area from the high perch of a city building window ledge. The sun has long since set, making the conditions even more ideal for my job. I pull the red scarf hanging loosely around my neck closer, blocking out a little more wind. I tap my fingers impatiently on the window next to me, waiting. I see the lights flicker on in the apartment below me and smile. Time to get going then. I uncurl from my crouching position and step off the side of the building. I feel my stomach drop as my scarf whips around my face. As I near the same level as the apartment, my hand lashes out, feeling the powerful steel line glide past my arm. The end darts through the buildings and latches onto the apartment wall, pulling me after it. I land on the side of the wall with nothing more than a soft thud, taking most of the landing in my legs. I hang from the side of the building for a moment, one hand on the wall to support myself, while the other does a quick inventory check. After confirming I have everything I need, I start creeping up the wall towards the window. As I inch closer, I hear a soft chuckle echo from the room. I peer through the window and see a large man sitting at a table. He has a thick cigarette hanging from his mouth, and mountains of money heaped on a table. He flicks through the stack of bills and laughs again, causing me to cringe. I study the room for a second longer, noting all the exits and possible weapons. I still my mind and inhale gently, readying my mind for the upcoming task. I pull myself a little further up the window, feeling everything around me. And then the glass explodes. I flick my wrist, sending two small chakrams whizzing towards the light sources. The room is plunged into darkness. I hear the man yelp in surprise and I  dash towards the sound, drawing the small spider dragger that had been hidden inside the pockets of my old jumper. My arm lashes forward, slicing the dagger through the darkness. I feel it slide easily through his skin, and hear him gurgle as he begins to choke on his own blood. I know the job is done. My target is now eliminated. I turn and sprint towards the window, reaching out with my arm and sending another steel line into the city, disappearing just as the rain does when it hits the ground.

Somewhere, lurking in the darkness, a killer is loose. And if you think you are safe, I’m coming for you. I’m one step closer.

Highly Commended – Leanne Adams

Come closer. I froze; the voice was back. Step towards the lockers. Whirling around, I stared at the hallway running past the lockers. I was alone. “Who’s there? Don’t hide from me!” I tried to yell but my voice caught against the fear in my throat. I knew it was futile, I had been through it before. The voice came and went as it wanted. Nothing I could think of would scare it off. Come on Maddie, just one small step. Quickly I turned and started walking away towards the oval. No way was I going to near that locker. The best thing would be to just ignore it, all bullies get bored eventually, don’t they? I tried to clear my head and continued walking, but the voice refused to be shaken. Come on, it’s only a few steps. Surely you can do that for me. I think I deserve it after what you did to me, don’t you? Once again, my feet faltered. “I don’t know you, go find someone who does,” I spoke with more confidence now. Seriously Maddie, you don’t even remember me? How could you forget you old FRIEND? This time I almost tripped in shock. Because suddenly I recognised that voice. Against my will my feet retraced my steps towards the lockers. It couldn’t be true, I had to see for myself. Reaching the lockers, I headed towards the one I knew would hold the answers, the one that had been abandoned since the start of the term. I dialled in the code, ignoring the voice. Yes, yes. Very good, now let me out. I want to be free. As the door creaked open, I peered in. Inside were some books, a drink bottle, and something else. A barely noticeable shimmer was in the air. Suddenly the shimmer moved closer, and something like ice-cold water fell down my back. Snakelike I recoiled, transfixed by shock. If this was real, and there was a ghost, then it only would have come back for one thing. Revenge. The world started spinning, I felt myself falling. Everything blacked out of existence except for a voice. I’ve come back for you.

Thoughts fell through my head like rain into a leaky roof. A betrayal, an argument, a plot for reprisal. The fire, the unplanned death, the absconding flee from the scene. The guilt of knowing the truth when no one else did. I know. I knew it was you that night. And now I’m having vengeance. Numbly I felt a hand on my shoulder, dragging me to who knows where. With an effort I opened my eyes. I was lying on what looked like a mound of sticks. Something dark and sticky had been poured over everything. My mouth turned dry as I realised what was happening. I tried struggling, but thick ropes prevented me from moving. Something bright streaked through the air, and then my world exploded.

Stage 5

Winner – Robbie Thomas

Is it worth it?

To get out of bed,

Follow a routine,

And do that every day.


To be stuck to a screen,

Being told what to think,

And told what to do.


Is it worth it?

To make that first step,

It doesn’t really seem like it,

But it’s what we must do.


Trekking up the mountain,

That we must endure,

Every single day.


Is it worth it?

Seeing the same old grey building,

The fences caging you in,

Being squashed into that cage.


To listen to them,

To learn what they teach,

To do what they say.


Is it worth it?

Test, exam, test, exam,

That number floating above your head,

Determining your worth.


Told to be creative while being restricted,

Told to escape the chains you’ve been bound by,

Told to escape by the ones who trapped you.


Is it worth it?

Twisting yourself and manipulating,

Pushing and shoving,

Just to fit in.


To destroy what you know,

To create a new life,

Just to be recognised.


Is it worth it?

When there is only one person to make it better,

Told that you need to find someone,

Doesn’t matter who it is.


All the fighting, the arguing,

The disagreement, the trauma,

The punishment you didn’t ask for.


Is it worth it?

To sacrifice yourself for someone else,

Putting yourself last and them first,

Destroying yourself to better them.


Is it worth it?

To follow society’s rules,

To be constricted while told to find freedom,

To have to carve a path but given no tools.


It isn’t worth it.

Follow your own rules.

Stuff their rules.

Your life is yours.


Highly Commended – Lilly Davies

Sliding on a worn pair of flats and my oxygen mask I stepped outside. The heat hit me immediately, like a wave awaiting my exit. Tugging at the sleeves of my bland grey shirt in discomfort I continued. Living in a large city, nothing is particularly far away- not physically, anyway. As an environmental scientist, I have become an expert in things that are far away. A fix for the pressing problem I have attempted to solve has been ‘far away’ for decades. Climate change has become a severe issue after the trading boom between China and multiple Asian countries (primarily Japan) in 2040. The boom in demand caused numerous new factories to be built, and to say the situation has escalated from the already dismal point it had been at for well over a century now would be the understatement of, well, literally the century. But we’ve been working towards a solution, and we believe we may be close.

I shuffled into the meeting and took a seat. A middle aged man sat at the head of the table and tapped a microphone, signalling his request for us to stop speaking. He removed his mask.

“I’m afraid to announce we have received some truly dreadful news”.

I sighed and leaned forward, arms crossed on the table in front of me, perhaps like a shield to protect myself from whatever news this man brought.

“The solar radiation management proposal has been rejected. Many disagreed with the stratospheric aerosol injection tactic.”

The room went silent for a moment before some sighed and others started to murmur to each other in a sombre fashion. Not a soul spoke to the group. All of us were so very tired. Every idea we brought forward was either flawed or shut down nearly instantaneously. Within a few years our planet would be uninhabitable. What did we have to lose?

“Dismissed”. The man at the head of the table whispered. Without a word I pushed out my chair, stood, and left.

I closed my front door hesitantly, removing my oxygen mask. Eyes almost closed I glided silently to my dining chair, yanked it out, and simply stared for a moment as I sat. In a split second my face transitioned from emotionless to anguished and enraged in the dead silence of the dim room. I screamed. Slamming a ceramic vase onto the tiles I continued until all that remained was the strangled sobbing sound it had morphed into.  Sitting on the ground with my knees up to my chin and my hands over my face I cried. Was this the end, then? Not quite ideal.

…But I refused to believe so.  Wiping my eyes and standing with a new triumphant fury I decided I wouldn’t stop. I wouldn’t stop even if the world did become the fiery wasteland reminiscent of hell it seemed quite possible it would.

“Nothing will come of nothing”, I whispered aloud.

We will just have to continue…One small step at a time.

Much Ado About Nothing – Sydney Opera House

At the recent Residential School, Aurora students had the opportunity to attend Bell Shakespeare’s production of Much Ado About Nothing. Enjoy the following reviews by two of our students.

Seeing Much Ado About Nothing at the Sydney Opera House was a fantastic experience. Sitting on the steps of the Opera House that i’ve seen in every Australia post card and every tourist’s T-shirt was really weird and surreal.The production itself was incredible. It was laced with subtle jokes and humour. They used the original Shakespeare script and kept the play authentic while being in a modern day setting. This tied in really well with our topic in English currently about adaptations and transformations.Actually, seeing the play is a very different experience than reading it and makes it so much easier to understand. This was a great and valuable experience, especially for people studying Shakespearean works.

– Madeline (Year 9)

The bumbling roar of the audience ceases as the lights dim and attention is drawn to the stage. As the actors wind their way across the dais, they weave a story that captures all those watching within it’s strands. Onlookers are enraptured by the beautifully flowing words that paint a vibrant and beautiful picture before their very eyes. Emotions pass from the actors’ mouths straight to the hearts of their audience, making them laugh, cringe and cry. The true essence of the theatre experience hasn’t changed since Shakespeare first wrote Much Ado About Nothing, and the students and teachers that attended the performance at the Sydney Opera House were lucky enough to have the chance to feel the very same things that the original viewers would have.

Much Ado About Nothing is an amazingly crafted, witty and beautiful story that resembled the better versions of a modern-day rom-com. The story was filled with twists, turns, witty banter and romantic speeches that kept the whole audience constantly on their toes. Beatrice and Benedick were the main comedic and you’re-made-for-each-other-just-admit-it duo, leading us down pathways of frustration, laughter and relief. Claudio and Hero, our love-at-first-sight couple, gave us that warm and fuzzy feeling, and the questionable law enforcement made us laugh until our stomachs ached. But most important was Don John, our villain, without whom the story would have wrapped up in about five minutes flat.

Bell Shakespeare was the company that brought the smiles to our faces on Wednesday morning, and they’re well-rehearsed at it, too, having been in the business since 1990. The company was started by John Bell, with the intention of carrying the magnificent works of Shakespeare into the modern day. Their mission is to share with people of all ages the wonders of one of history’s great writers and to help their audience to see themselves reflected in the characters and themes of the works of Shakespeare’s imagination.

Thank you, Bell Shakespeare, for giving history’s most famous playwright the means by which to reach through time and bring joy to our hearts.

– Jaslyn (Year 8)

Carolyn McMurtrie |Head Teacher English, HSIE and Languages

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Faculty news – Science

ICAS science competition

Congratulations to all the students who participated in the ICAS science competition!

The majority of the Aurora College students achieved results above the national average, which is a remarkable outcome. Special mention to Year 7 which had the highest achievement in the competition.

Certificates were handed out during the Term 4 Residential School. To see the breakdown of marks, you need to login to the site and follow the prompts at the back of your certificate.

A summary of our results in science are listed below.

Year level Aurora College average* Australia average* Distinctions^ Credit^ Merit^ Participation^
Year 7 31 28 3 7 6 3
Year 8 26 25 2 2 4 6
Year 9 23 22 2 1 2 6
Year 10 24 24 1 2 0 4

*out of total of 45 marks         ^number of students

We are looking forward to more students joining the competition next year.

Year 10 – The beginning of the Universe

Anita and Leah of Year 10 have provided a dreamtime work sample. Please take a look: Dreamtime.

Fiona Boneham | Head Teacher Science (Rel.)

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Library news

50 word short story competition 2019

I was pleased to present the 2019 winners with their vouchers for the pop-up book shop at Residential. Enjoy reading the winning entries in each category.

Year 7 – James Cooper: The ground was cracked and dry, the sun searing hot. A pure white abomination, scorching the land of all life. This went on for miles, stretching endlessly into the horizon. I squinted through the dust, searching the sky for the one thing that could bring life back. It never came.

Year 8 – Portia Martin: Row upon row, gravestones stood silently, soldiers long forgotten. Gunshots fired from every direction. Screams echoed across the fields where poppies swayed in the wind, red with blood. Nurses tending to the injured. Bombs that rattled the ground and the minds of their audience. Loved ones lost but not forgotten.

Year 9 – Toby and Will:

Smoke seeping into my lungs

At long last my time has come

Birds singing their dreadful songs

Nothing where it truly belongs

Whilst I’m dreadfully drowning

Only some people are frowning

My polar friends cannot compete

With the decaying ice sheet

People are abandoning me

If only everyone would see

Year 10 – Robbie Thomas: A screen, a weapon, a soldier. Working like a machine, hurting until the bell rings. Boots laced, helmets strapped, and weapons loaded, prepared to commit atrocities. Atrocities that save our population. Atrocities that benefit us. That’s the lie we feed ourselves until the day we don’t need to wake up.

Staff – Mr Newton: Clouds gather, dark with promise. The land yearns. Fingers of dust and smoke intertwine. Just another disappointment, leaving fires of hell to burn unabated? Or will the heavens finally open, releasing their blessings on a congregation of hopefuls? We wait. It’s purgatory here.

A sound.

Rhythm on the roof.



Australian Reading Hour 2019

Congratulations to Libby (Year 10) and Ms McDiarmid, our winners this year for the Australian Reading Hour selfie competition. I hope you both enjoyed spending your vouchers on new books at the pop-up bookshop!




Pop-up bookshop

The Children’s Bookshop was onsite to provide access to a wide range of titles for students and staff at our Collaroy Residential. Enjoy a selection of images from this very popular part of our residential program.

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Kaylene Taylor | Teacher Librarian

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Connect locally, learn globally

My name is Jackson and I live in Canowindra. Canowindra is a small town of about 2000 people. You may have heard of Canowindra because of the hot air balloon festival that is held here every year. Another reason you may have heard of Canowindra is for its wine growing. Wine and hot-air ballooning doesn’t really interest me or any of my friends, but there is plenty of other stuff for us to do. Motorbiking is a very popular pastime, with many kids (including me) owning a motorbike. Like seriously, if someone lives out of town or on the outskirts of town, they are pretty much guaranteed to have some sort of a motorbike.

I go to Canowindra High School which has about 250 students. My year group is the biggest with a bit under 60 kids. It’s a pretty small school but it’s great. PE is my favourite subject and I do extension PE and music for my electives. What I like most about our community is that you can walk down the main street on any day and be guaranteed to see someone you know. On the weekends, I play rugby for the Canowindra Pythons. We made the semi-finals this year, but were knocked out of the competition by Forbes :(. Next year is going to be the year when we take home the trophy!

A kind of random fact about where I live is that we have a ‘Big Peg’ in our paddock. You probably haven’t heard of this before, but basically my dad thought it’d be a great idea to make a statue and put it in our paddock. He came up with the idea of getting a giant peg cemented into our paddock. The rest of my family and I didn’t think dad was going to pull it off, but he did and I am very impressed. Because our paddock is next to a main road, many people see our paddock daily and see a massive peg sitting in the middle of nowhere.

I love to skate and when I leave school I want to become a professional skater, but if that doesn’t work out, I’ll become a physiotherapist and treat sports injuries. I reckon a physiotherapist would be a great job because you could become a physiotherapist for a NRL team. Imagine if I could end up treating injuries for the Roosters (which is the best team :). If I can’t do any of these careers, I love playing guitar so I could become a rockstar!

The best thing about Aurora is the friends you make and the amazing residentials. I would choose Aurora for the special opportunities it can give you and the friends you make.

Jackson (Year 9, Canowindra High School)

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Bright lights

Story shortlisted for ACYP Competition

Congratulations to Makalya  (Year 7, Young High School) on having her story shortlisted for The Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People Children’s Week Story Competition.

Makayla’s story is titled ‘The Custodian’ and tells the story of her returning to Country after living in Sydney. Read Makayla’s story here.



Publishing success for Tathra Public School

Last year, after the Tathra fires, students at our partner school, Tathra Public, published a book When the fire met the sea. Pictured right is our Year 6 student, Dom. He and our incoming Year 5 student, Cooper, were involved in the creation of this book.

Tathra Public School has just been presented with a NSW Resilience Award for the production of this book as a tool for students to heal after the fires. Well done Dom, Cooper and Tathra Public School!


Harry, Maria and their BIG ideas!

Congratulations to Harry (Year 10, Tumut High School) and Maria (Year 10, Leeton High School) on their acceptance into the Big Ideas Forum at ANSTO. They have been expanding their STEM horizons and future career aspirations. Maria was particularly excited to talk with a hydrogen fuel cell expert!




Future Bright Lights

If your child has a passion outside of our virtual classrooms, please feel free to email us a few words and an image. It is always lovely to celebrate what our students are up to in their local communities! Please email:, marked: attention The Auracle.

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Spotlight on…Gregor Newton

Where was your previous teaching appointment?

My permanent position is at Hillston Central School, a K-12 school in the northern Riverina. At the moment, I’m living in Sydney after some time working in schools overseas, but I’m looking forward to heading west again for 2020.

What is your local community like?

We’re a town of around 1000 people, about an hour north of Griffith. It’s flat, red dirt country, despite the name. Hillston is a great community where people really look out for one another, as in so many country towns. Like most of NSW, it’s pretty dry out there at the moment, but fortunately we have bore water in town, making the town itself a bit of a green oasis.

What’s your favourite subject to teach?

My passion is ancient history but I actually prefer to teach English. As a teacher, the junior history topics don’t generally change from year to year, so you end up teaching the same thing a lot of the time. But in English there’s always a new book, poem or topic to explore. It’s wonderful to have the flexibility to study so many different things.

What do you like about teaching at Aurora?

One of the challenges of rural life can be feeling that you’re isolated. Aurora brings students together from so many different places across the state, and it’s great to see the friendships you build. I also enjoy learning about your home towns, each with its own quirks and characteristics, just like each of you!

What are your other interests?

A few years ago, I started learning German and recently I spent nine months living there. I really enjoy learning a language and culture which is both so different and so similar to my own. Otherwise, I love getting outside and exploring where I live, whether it’s day trips, short hikes, or simply finding somewhere to sit and enjoy the sunshine.

Gregor Newton | English Teacher

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Study skills

The purpose of study skills is to help students maximise the learning process.

Tuckerman (2003) defines study skills as “the learning and motivation strategies that enable a student to be successful”. Study skills are used in a number of ways:

  • To process and organise new information
  • To help retain information
  • To see a connection between concepts
  • To use previously learned material in order to help learn new material.

Study is an individual thing – what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. The following tips are general and can be adapted to support all individuals:

  • Pick a place and time that suits you
    • Set up a space that is quiet, comfortable and distraction free (put your phone on silent or turn it off).
      • It should make you feel happy and inspired.
    • Find your best time. The time that you work best either in the morning or at night.
      • Plan to study then.
  • Study a little bit every day
    • This helps you to review and understand new concepts.
  • Plan your time
    • Some things that can support this are:
      • Setting alarms – to remind you about your study plans and to incorporate breaks (study in blocks of time e.g. 30 minutes then have a break for 10 minutes as a reward).
      • Use a wall, desk planner or calendar to mark important dates (exams, assignment due dates and homework and to block out your daily study times).
      • Make to-do lists
        • break assignments into manageable chunks then make a weekly list of things that have to be completed.
        • at the start of each study session make a to-do list so you know what you have to achieve by the end of the session.
      • Set time limits for each item on your to-do list.
  • Review and revise
    • At least once a week go back over the things you have studied in class.
    • Make up a quiz or get your parents to quiz you.
    • Create your own study materials (eg flash cards, mind maps, mnemonic strategies, storytelling (make up a story with the facts as part of the story), study tables).
  • Take breaks
    • Move away from your study space and do something you enjoy. This allows you time to rethink and refocus – this is especially important if you’re stuck on a particular question.
  • Ask for help
    • Talk to your teachers, parents and friends if you are stuck on something.
    • There are no STUPID questions when you are LEARNING something NEW!
  • Look after yourself
    • You’ll study better if you take care of yourself.
    • Make sure you eat well and get enough sleep and physical exercise
    • Limit sugary or fatty snacks
    • Drink lots of water

(Adapted from

Some more helpful websites:

 Cathy Groth | Wellbeing Coordinator

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Technology update

Absence Notifications

To make sure our absence notification system is working as intended, we would like to ask parents, students, and coordinators to complete the survey below. This will give us some ideas on how effective the system is, as well as give you the opportunity to pass on any feedback you might have.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss the system, please contact the school on 1300 287 629.

Ben Hillsley | Learning Technologies Support Officer

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From the engine room

We hope everyone enjoyed their time at camp.  It certainly was quiet in the school office, but we managed to catch up on lots of work!

Lost items from Term 4 Residential School

We have collected a number of items left at camp.  Please check the following list thoroughly and contact the school office on 1300 287 629 or if you believe any of the items belong to your child.

  • Blue bath towel
  • White face washer
  • Aurora shirt size 10
  • Grey shorts size L
  • Grey hoodie size M
  • Devil mask
  • Black skivvy long sleeve size S
  • White charger mobile phone
  • Pink sunglasses
  • Black cooler bag
  • 2 drink bottles
  • Navy/white cap
  • Black bag
  • 1 x phone charges
  • Quilt cover

Lost items from Term 1 Residential School

  • Wireless speaker
  • Torch
  • Watch
  • Power bank
  • USB

Student absences

If your child is absent from school, please contact both your home school and the Aurora College office on 1300 287 629 or

Server upgrade

Please be aware that due to server upgrades on Wednesday 27 November 2019, the Aurora College Administration Office will be closed from 1:30 pm until close of business 3:30 pm. The server upgrade will not impact on our classes.

Normal services will resume on Thursday 28 November 2019.  Office hours are from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm Monday to Friday.

Denise Deaves | School Administration Manager

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