The birthday week was doubly exciting for students and staff at the Ludwig-Leichhardt-Grundschule ('junior school') in Tauche: apart from the great man's Bicentenary, the school itself celebrated its 30th anniversary on Friday 25 October!

The junior school is one of three Leichhard-named schools in the region; the other schools are the Oberschule ('middle school') in Goyatz - which hosted the Conference; read more here - and the Gymnasium ('high school') in Cottbus; read about their new student exchange MoU here.

Australia's Ambassador to Germany, Peter Tesch, and a small party called in to the school on 22 October and were received by the Principal, Ms Simone Rose, and Mr Gerd Mai, head of the school board and mayor of the municipality of  Tauche. Following morning tea, the visitors were given a guided tour of the school's facilities, classrooms and grounds. Ms Rose led the tour, ably assisted by a core team of students who practised their excellent English skills by introducing each venue and its activities to the group.

IMG 4724 22.10a Tauche LLGS exterior 290W  IMG 4714 22.10a Tauche LLGS coin-presentation 290W
Above: exterior of the multi-storey main block of the school; every wall inside, in the classrooms and common areas, was covered in bright student project posters! (Foto: MT) Above: Ambassador Peter Tesch (L) presents Principal Simone Rose with one of the Perth Mint's silver Leichhardt coins as mayor Gerd Mai looks on. (Foto: MT)

The normal school day was otherwise in progress around the visitors, as the group was shown the library, story-telling/reading room, computer facilities, music room and much more. Walls everywhere - including halls and stairways - were covered with colourful student project posters on a mind-boggingly diverse range of subjects.

Throughout the school, the musical soundscape of Australia was ever-present: in the main hall, under the watchful eye of their time-keeping, choreographing teacher, a group was practising movements for its Leichhardt performance for the coming double-birthday festivities.

In another large space, amidst tables laid out and covered in painting and craft works in progress, a group of students demonstrated their astonishingly competent skills with didgeridoos larger than themselves! (Where do they get the lung capacity in such young frames? They really were very good indeed!)

IMG 4721 22.10a Tauche LLGS didgeridoos 590W

Above: the expressions on the faces perhaps best illustrate the fine calibre of the students' playing;
it's unfortunate we are unable to bring you an audio file of their performance!  (Foto: MT)

Formalities concluded with the presentation of a framed map of Leichhardt's great 1844-45 expedition, a gift from Senator Sue Boyce. As the group made its farewells, a final decoration caught the eye - a magnificent Leichhardt quilt, around 2m tall, hanging on the entrance hall wall, featuring a special 'square' focusing on the Leichhardt Trail around Taroom! (Click on either of the quilt images below to see a larger picture.)

IMG 4722 22.10a Tauche LLGS reading-room 290W IMG 4711 22.10a Tauche LLGS SueBoyce-map 290W 
Above: a visit to the story-telling / reading room produced some interesting questions for the
Ambassador from the pupils ... as only very
curious and lively kids can! (Foto: MT)
 Above: key points on Senator Boyce's map are pointed out by the Ambassador to Ms Rose and a rapt group of pupils in the school's well-resourced 'Leichhardt Room'. (Foto: MT)
IMG 4707 22.10a Tauche LLGS quilt thumb 290W IMG 4716 22.10a Tauche LLGS quilt-closeup thumb 290W
Above: overview of the magnificent Leichhardt quilt hanging in the entrance hall. (Foto: MT) Above: close-up of the Taroom Leichhardt Trail  'square' on the right side of the quilt (Foto: MT)

Thanks to Ms Rose, Herr Mai and all the Grundschule pupils and staff for a wonderful, eye-opening visit during a very special week!

You can find out a little more about Tauche by clicking on the municipality's website (in German) here and read a full report on the week's festivities on the Märkische Oderzeitung website here ~ or download a PDF of the report here (both in German).

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