These students have Colly spirit in the bag
The work of staff and students at Collarenebri Central School has helped save the community from rising floodwaters. Vivienne Jones reports.
10 November 2022
There is something special about a town that comes together during a crisis.
And for Collarenebri, on Gamilaroi country in the far north of the state, or Colly as the locals call it, the past three weeks have been all about coming together.
The rural town, on the Barwon River north of Walgett, has been cut off from supplies during this time, relying on air drops from emergency services.
Collarenebri Central School principal Michael Davison said despite the stressful few weeks, the school community had been supporting each other every way they could.
“Some students haven’t been able to attend school as they are cut off due to flood waters, and without internet, we have been communicating via phone,” he said.
“Last week we touched based with the SES to see if we could help at all and they said yes to help with sandbagging.”
Mr Davison said they put the idea to the students, who decided to volunteer their sport afternoon to help the SES.
“Our senior students all got out there and helped bag a lot of sand without emergency services,” he said.
“It was really great to see and there was a real sense of community spirit and achievement that they had helped their town during this time.”
Over a couple of days, the school community, including staff and students, helped bag around 17 tonnes of sand.
The primary students also penned letters of thanks to the emergency services.
“It was a massive effort, and some kids were there until almost dark and there before and after school the next day,” Mr Davison said.
“They learned a lot I think about community and how if everyone chips in we can achieve a lot.
“There was no complaining and they worked well together.
“If it wasn’t for our school effort I don’t think the majority of the town would have been kept safe.”
The town is still isolated, along with neighbouring Walgett and Lightning Ridge, with the public schools remaining open.
There were 45 meat packs dropped into Collarenebri last night by SES helicopter.
“There were great smells in the air last night of sausages on BBQs,” Mr Davison said.
“We are just not sure how long we are going to be cut off, so as a school we are just supporting everyone as best we can.
“My staff are doing a great job and the students are banding together which is always lovely to see.”