This year the second interchange of visits between Monaro and Murwillumbah High Schools took place, and, like the first, was highly successful. Murwillumbah came to Cooma in May, and our party went there in August. Both schools owe a great deal to many people, to Mr. Laughlin and Mr. Goode, to Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Bradford, Mr. Hockey and Miss Thompson, and to many others in both towns and in Sydney.
The visit in May was enjoyed very much by all those concerned, though the Murwillumbah people were rather disappointed that no snow fell during their visit. We would like to express our thanks to the Snowy Mountains Authority who organized our tour of the regions, and to Mr. Litchfield of "Hazeldean", who gave our visitors a morning on his property.
The Monaro contingent left Cooma on a Tuesday afternoon, and after a night in Sydney assembled on the Wednesday morning for a day's activities which Mr. Seiffert had kindly organised for us. It was a beautiful day, ideal for the harbour trip which was thoroughly enjoyed by everybody. After lunch on board the ferry we were taken to Parliament House and saw Parliament in session during Question Time. This proved to he very interesting, especially as Mr. Seiffert asked Mr. Heffron a question about new buildings for Monaro High School and received a very encouraging reply. From Parliament we were driven to the University of Technology where we inspected the Physics Department.
We left Sydney by the second division of the Brisbane Express, the main problem of the first part of the journey being that of getting to sleep, as everyone talked and giggled till after midnight. However we all managed to have at least a few hours' sleep and next morning woke about six and settled down to endure the rest of the long trip. We were very interested to note the changing scenery, the main comment being, "Isn't everything green!"
Excitement mounted as we neared Murwillumbah and we were soon greeting our old friends, who took us home to our billets and it was not long before we were all asleep after the tiring trip.
After sport, official welcome and social on Friday we had the weekend free and the people who were looking after us took us on trips round the district, and many of us seized the opportunity for a swim. Monday saw the first official trip, and though it was raining we had a most enjoyable day at Springbrook, a beauty spot in the mountains, where we saw magnificent scenery and some beautiful waterfalls. Most of us rounded off the day with a trip to the pictures that evening.
Tuesday was spent in investigating the sugar industry. Mr. Lundberg showed us the cane growing on his property and we also saw canecutting, but unfortunately were not able to see the cane being "fired" as the ground was still wet from the rain of the day before. That night we saw a sugar mill in operation, and were very interested in all the processes which turned the cane into sugar.
Wednesday was the last full day, and was a very happy one. After a visit in the morning to a banana plantation, where we saw the bananas being cut and packed, we had lunch at Lismore, and after some sight-seeing, travelled to Byron Bay lighthouse. That night saw some of us packing and the others going to private parties.
We left Murwillumbah very reluctantly the next morning, with many promises to "write soon" and many arrangements being made for future meetings. The next excitement was to arrive home and spend the next few days telling our families of the marvellous time we had had.