Barrenjoey Bushfire Benefit


Barrenjoey supports Fire-ravaged Mogo Public School

On Thursday 20th February, Barrenjoey High School came together to support Mogo Public School.  Local bands, The Rions and Marvell performed for over 200 students in the school hall.  The highlight of the evening was both bands performing Marvell’s hit, Come a Little Closer.  Jesse from Marvell said the band was thrilled to participate in the evening and have built a close bond with The Rions over the last year.  Noah Buckley from The Rions felt that the hall “went off!” for both bands.

Kalinda Hawson, P&C President said “for some of these kids it is their first rock concert.  Year 7s and Year 12s were all in the ‘mosh pit’ dancing together. So thrilling to see.”

The other thrill of the night was how many people donated their time so freely.  Seventeen teachers from Barrenjoey attended to help run the event, Barrenjoey parents were there too.  Duncan Ritchie donated all his lighting and sound equipment and time to ensure that the night looked and sounded incredible.  Both bands appeared without a fee.  Ronny Berg from Creek Street Photography came and shot the bands and students so we will have professional shots of the night.  The SRC students cooked the bbq and donated all their time and money from the sales for the evening.  Retro Birdie donated the profits from the sale of ice-creams. 

Mogo Public School students and staff were affected by the recent bushfires and Barrenjoey Principal, Ian Bowsher, contacted Mogo Principal, Lyndall Schuchmann, to offer financial support for the kids.

Mogo Public School is a 150 year old timber built school surrounded by old growth forest that the kids lovingly called the ‘enchanted forest’.  The school has 33 students from K-6 including 12 Aboriginal students, 3 classes, 4 teachers and two Admin / support staff. It is a very tight community.

When the fires came the fire trucks spent 3 hours continuously spraying water on the heritage timber buildings to save them which they managed to do. As Lyndall explained the ‘fire lick’ marks are all over the blistered paint – it came that close.

While the school buildings were saved the town and surrounding bush was destroyed. The school lost their heritage forest and all its gardens (it is simply a small cluster of buildings in a black landscape). The chicken coop and outdoor learning space which the kids loved were also obliterated.  Six of the school kids lost their homes and almost all other families homes were damaged in some way or another.

To help the students, the school has created a Breakfast Club for all, the students have lunch packs made for them and costs associated with fees, book packs, photographs and swimming carnival have all been waived. 

The Today show donated $60k to establish the gardens, and in an act of generosity and a lesson for its children the school community has decided to ‘give back’ by growing vegetables in the new gardens so they can give the produce to the Mogo Zoo which is also in ongoing need of support and care for its animals.

‘It was lovely having so many people come in and help and understand the philosophy of this garden, which is all about giving back, Ms Schuchmann said.

‘We feel so fortunate to have so many people that wanted to help us and we felt it was important that this garden is all about giving – giving edible plants for animals to Mogo Zoo, giving to the school canteen, and giving produce to the students and their families.’

As the Mogo kids lost their Christmas holidays Barrenjoey was asked to donate the funds raised on the night to give all the kids and staff a Big Day Out. We are aiming to pay for bus hire, food and a comedy show in Nowra. 

The P&C has raised $2700, however special thanks goes to a Newport resident who donated the final $300 to get us to $3,000.