Croppa Creek Public students take the "Archibull" by the horns in competition

Photo courtesy of Croppa Creek Public School.
Photo courtesy of Croppa Creek Public School.

Croppa Creek Public School has welcomed a new recruit that is better known as “Wooly Bully.” It might seem a strange name for a person, but for a blank, life-sized fibreglass cow it’s fitting.

“The name refers to a song that was a one-hit wonder during the 60s,” principal Michael Sky said.

The school has reined in the artificial cow as it gets underway to take part in the Archbibull Prize. The innovative and hands-on program allows urban and rural schools to research an agricultural industry and express their findings through artwork.

For the school at Croppa Creek, their chosen field of research is wool.

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“It has two purposes: children get to share some of their knowledge with other schools and a wider audience, and they also look at another aspect of farming that gives them a broader sense of agriculture other than what they live with or what their parents do,” Mr Sky said.

It is the first time the school has entered the competition after a suggestion from a parent.

“Students are aware and excited about the machines that work on the farms. Though, the technology can prevent an in-depth understanding of all aspects of farming. Most of my boys want to be involved in farming in some way, so this will let them look at it properly,” Mr Sky said.

Croppa Creek Public School will work in partnership with Bullarah, Bellata and Pallamallawa public schools to tackle the mammoth project.

“Each school has a different area to research about wool. Our school is focusing on bio-security, while another school is focussing on communities,” Mr Sky said.

The students will share their research with one another and regularly update a blog.

“We couldn’t have done this project on our own. I have six students in years four to six, and that’s not enough students for a project of this scale,” Mr Sky said.

Young Farming Champion and University of New England student Emma Turner will make an appearance at the school in early July and draw on her experience in wool farming for a class talk.

Come September, students from all over Australia will present their designed fibreglass cow that envisions their months of research. Come prize or no prize, Mr Sky said there was plenty more to gain than first place. 

“It’s part of raising awareness in students about the range of career possibilities that are out there for them.”