New Ironbark tradition seen as badge of honour

This week’s blog has been kindly supplied by Head of Junior High, Mrs Patricia Aishford.

The Ironbark program has a rich history beginning with a pilot program in 1974 and formally commencing in 1976. During the early years Year 10 students attended Ironbark for ten weeks with opportunities to experience agriculture,outdoor adventure, community living and environmental education. 

Whilst the duration of the program may have reduced to five weeks, it continues to be amongst the leading outdoor education experiences in Australia. As a College we can be justifiably proud of providing this opportunity for our students. To date, close to 10,000 young people have successfully completed the Ironbark program. 

The new Ironbark badge will be presented every term to Year 9 students who have completed the outdoor program. It is an ever-present, tangible reminder of the journey undertaken throughout their five-week Ironbark experience. The badge is a symbol of personal growth, character development and life-long friendships developed while at Ironbark.

A reminder of the strength found to face fears and challenges.

A reminder of the ability to live without technology for five weeks and stillsurvive. 

The badge also serves as a reminder not to waste time fearing the unknown – as many do prior to Ironbark – instead, grasp all opportunities with a positive attitude.

“Remember you are part of something bigger than yourself. You are part of the 10,000 who have Ironbark forever in their memories and etched in their hearts.”

Ironbark wouldn’t be the success it is without the amazing staff involved. Here at Indooroopilly Mrs Tetley-Jones, College Counsellors and the Form Class teachers, help prepare Year 9s for the journey ahead. 

The staff at Ironbark, who we often refer to as the ‘Rock Stars at Ironbark’, are ably lead by Mr Matthew Sullivan the Director of Ironbark, St Peters Outdoor Education Centre, since 2007.

Matt is passionate about helping students develop socially, emotionally and spiritually and says that, while the activities on offer at Ironbark haven’t changed, he has worked to broaden the pastoral care program. He credits continuity of staff for bringing stability to the program and creating better outcomes for students.