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Learning from Home – 30 April 2020

I don’t know about you, but one of the things I’m missing most at the moment is the ability to discover new things. By this I don’t necessarily mean travelling, although I do miss being able to leave my local area, I mean experiencing things like art, music and theatre. Coming across an unexpected artwork in an alleyway, or hearing an amazingly good busker help us to experience the world, even a corner of it that we’re very familiar with, in new ways.

Today I’m going to share with you some ways that you can continue to discover new things about Australia. Think of this as an opportunity to visit places that you know and love, or that perhaps you’ve never had the opportunity to get to before. I’ve already shared some excellent ways you can continue to interact with some of our biggest art galleries, and I would encourage you to use those sites of you haven’t already. Please find more ideas below.

One of Australia’s most iconic buildings is the Sydney Opera House. Now this icon wants to make its way into your home, with a program of live and recorded events. These range from opera performances to pop concerts, from Mozart for children and tours of the Opera House, through to discussions with provocative writers and thinkers. And, at the moment at least, they all seem to be free! There is a weekly schedule of events on the Sydney Opera House’s digital season, so it would be a great idea to sign up to their newsletter so you don’t miss a thing.

The National Museum of Australia is a fascinating place which attempts to tell the story of Australia. No mean feat given that the story goes back more than 40, 000 years. They have also put together a digital program to access the museum from home which operates on a weekly schedule. At the time of writing, on the program there was access to an exhibition about the history of sport in Australia, some craft and research activities for children, as well as a live event planned to discuss the museum’s resident paddle steamer (yes, you read that right – a paddle steamer!).  You can also delve into the exhibits at the museum through the explore section of the site, where you might even find out about a significant object in Jackie French’s life, through their ‘My Life in an Object’ series.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is home to one of Indigenous Australia’s most significant places, Uluru. As well as Uluru, in the national park you can find ancient cave paintings, hear bird song and learn about the stories of the traditional owners of this place, the Anangu. At the best of times it is difficult to visit this part of Australia, and at the moment it is literally impossible. However, you can visit it virtually. This virtual tour takes you through some of the most interesting and significant parts of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, looking at the rock itself, cave paintings and waterholes. There is an audio component to the tour, which includes traditional stories and natural sounds, however I had some trouble in getting much of it to work. Nevertheless, the visual component is fascinating and further information about the sites and their significance to the Anangu can be found on the website.

I’ve always wanted to go to the Great Barrier Reef, but I’ve never had the chance. I’ve also been a huge fan of David Attenborough for longer than I care to admit. What if I told you that you could go on a virtual tour of the reef with Sir David Attenborough?! I know! I was ridiculously excited as well! This tour is absolutely amazing. Taking you to five different, significant places on the Great Barrier Reef, you will see the reef, hear the reef (who knew that it made sounds, let alone that they were important?) and learn about the reef. This site is beautifully put together, and I can imagine being lost in it for hours. If your children (or, let’s face it you – because there’s as much here for adults as there is for kids) love science, the natural world, or just want to ‘get away’ for a while, this is a wonderful way to spend some time exploring a breathtaking part of Australia.

Have a great weekend.

Regards,

Jemma

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