Situational Writing in Goulburn


A beautiful sunny greeted Lauren and I for the first Situational Writing session on Saturday, December 10. Sadly, there were no students able to make this event, so we took the opportunity to walk the Art Trail and discuss potential future sites.

Situational Writing was conceived to address the need for authentic writing and networking between staff and students studying Extension English in both Preliminary and HSC years. At this stage, Crookwell, Mulwaree and Moss Vale High Schools have agreed to trial this program and will investigate week day afternoons for meeting in term 1, 2017. This will mean some synchronising of timetables, and I hold out hope for a lottery-like win where each school has a ‘free’ after lunch space to travel to Goulburn and write with students.

We began our walk at the Goulburn Civic Centre which is home to the Regional Art Gallery and library. The exterior features a number of artworks including The Shearing Shed by Sebastian Meijbaum on the south-east wall.

The Shearing Shed by Sebastian Meijbaum

We headed in the direction of the Information Centre, where a number of sculptures honour musicians who are inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the annual Australian Blues Music Festival held in February each year.
Blue Notes, 2004Blue Notes, 2004, Kirstie and Dale Chalker

Nearby, the railway station disappointingly no longer holds Platform Project Photographs, although the Railway Cafe is an absolute delight. This establishment is run by Angels for the Forgotten Inc, an independent charitable organisation supporting the most vulnerable individuals and families within the Goulburn community. On the verandah is the Angels Footpath Library

Angels Footpath Library

and I chose a copy of Anita Shrieve’s Resistance to read over the holiday break. Obviously, I will contribute to this initiative on my next visit. We enjoyed our coffee and plate of mini cupcakes before being invited outside to be interviewed for the local radio – it was the second anniversary of Angels in Goulburn – and Lauren had already purchased a spelling game at the trash & treasure markets.

our unexpected moment of fameWe were also delighted to learn that there are  spaces to hire (for a modest fee) at the cafe and will investigate the possibility of holding future Situational Writing sessions here.

Two artworks by Will Coles

memories, Will Coles, 2009 burden, Will Coles, 2009

stand outside the Railway Station and resonate strongly with ideas of journey and discovery, making these effective writing stimulus for Stage 6 students, as well as teachers.

Another opportunity for writing stimulus could be found on the ‘Self-guided Walking Tour of Miles Franklin’s Goulburn’: brochure available from the visitor Information Centre. Although Franklin lived with her family at a property at Thornford, some 20 kms outside the township, it was during her formative writing years from age 9 in 1889 until 1902. It seems her experience of the drought of the 1890s in the Goulburn districts was the catalyst for writing My Brilliant Career (published in 1901) at age 18.

The waking tour features many sites mentioned in the book, including relevant quotes, and highlights others that would have been familiar to her on her trips into town.

*featured image: Growth (detail), Street Art Mural Project – Jason wing and Goulburn Youth, 2015, cnr Russell Lane and Auburn Street.

*smaller photos taken by Lauren

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