Christmas card brings joy to the Outback

Six-year-old William Burnheim is the winner of Education Minister Sarah Mitchell’s Christmas card competition.

06 December 2019
Kindergarten student William Burnheim with his winning artwork.
Image: Kindergarten student William Burnheim with his winning artwork.

Even the parched, burnt-off environment of outback NSW cannot dull the colourful Christmas dreams of Quambone Public Kindergarten student, William Burnheim.

His winning entry features a bright green tree with brilliant yellow, blue and red decorations covering gifts in front of a bright red background.

Quambone Public School Relieving Principal Paula Buttenshaw said William’s vivid rendition was very much the product of his imagination and in stark contrast to what he sees every day around the school and on his family property 30 kilometres away.

“It’s very dry, very beige, very dusty and not a lot of green,” Ms Buttenshaw said.

With the drought weighing heavily on the community, located around 600 kilometres west of Sydney, she said all her students’ Christmas wishes are for rain.

“One-hundred per cent,” Ms Buttenshaw said. “I think they would give up all their toys and Christmas gifts for rain, without a doubt.”

Minister Mitchell signing the Christmas card

William’s surprise win came as a thrill to him and the 12 other students at Quambone Public School and has given the community a boost.

Ms Buttenshaw said William was very excited to hear of his win when called by Ms Mitchell but she was not sure he appreciated the enormity of his win or just how widely his cards will be appreciated.

“As he is one of only two Kindergarten students here, I don’t think he fully comprehends how he was chosen from so many Kindergarten students who entered the Minister’s Christmas card competition,” Ms Buttenshaw said.

“His parents were over the moon. They’re a farming family so life is hard at the moment and they’ve been working very, very hard to feed and fence and things like that, so they were so excited and proud.”

As well as the honour of having his cards carry the Minister’s Christmas greetings, William wins some cards that he can share with family and friends and a pack of books which he will welcome as an avid reader.

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