Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 16th

Our first stop of the day was to CSIRO: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. It started out primarily as an agriculture research organization in Melbourne and has expanded its focuses tremendously for the past 87 years. At CSIRO they research anything from land, plants, crops, health, medical practices, climate, medicine, mining, energy conservation, sharks, and much more. They also work with NASA regarding space research. Their budget is provided 60% funded from the federal government and 40% by partnerships. CSIRO is known for inventions including but not limited to WiFi, polymer plastic bank notes, fabric softener, and aerosol fly spray. They have also published many successful books. A few of their workers gave us a chat about their background, a tour of the very interactive museum, and a video on climate. They were also kind enough to let us have a hands on visit with their native stick insects and native freshwater turtles. We had a very interactive visit and learning experience at this center.

The next stop on our tour of Canberra was the national Parliament House.  While here, we learned more about the history of Australia, as well as their politics and government.  As we learned, the Australian government is organized as a combination of the US and British systems.  They have two houses, one is the Senate, the other is the House of Representatives. These two houses are very similar to our's as the Senate is comprised of a fixed number of representatives from each state and the House of Representatives is allotted by population.  There are two "Heads of State," one being elected by the people (Prime Minister)and the other chosen by the Queen of England (Governor General.) The Governor General has veto power and is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces.  The Prime Minister is the political and international leader chosen by the people.
Crest on the parliament house

 The Parliament House itself was only finished within the last fifty years.  The original  building was only meant to be temporary, but still stands today. As you can see in the picture, the building is much different architecturally than the US Capital. We learned many things about the Capital of Australia in our tour of the capital.

For our lunch we stopped at a little cafe near Young, Australia before we arrived at Willayoung Orchard, our third visit. Andrew Ricketts, talked to us about his operation, how he started out as a small fruit tree business and transitioned into a orchard. They produce many different kinds of cherries, figs, table grapes, plums, yellow and white nectarines, apricots, yellow and white peaches. The operation consisted of about 20 acres, while maintaining over 5,500 trees.

Matt, Amy and Sara
Andrew Ricketts @ Willayoung Orchard

Sara and Jackson listen to Andrew
Our last stop for the day was our farm stays. We got divided up between five families, each getting our very own Australian experience. Whether that was having a bonfire in a padlock, enjoying the company of Australia neighbors and family while stuffing our faces with delicious 'barbie' food, from cheeses & crackers, cheese & breed, fresh fruit, veggies, barbied mushrooms, lamb chops, grass fed burgers, sausage, bananas & carmel, Carmel brownies, and roasted marshmallows ( 3 groups experienced this). Or enjoying a delicious lamb cooked meal inside with the host family (2 groups).
Bonfire at farm stay

Grilling at the bonfire during the farm stay

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